Sustainable surgical glove plant opens in Malaysia

Monday, 05 September, 2022

Sustainable surgical glove plant opens in Malaysia

Mölnlycke, a Swedish medical device company, has invested $50 million in a plant that will sustainably produce surgical gloves in Kulim, Malaysia.

The plant will rely on Veolia Water Technologies for wastewater treatment and ENGIE for the provision of energy. The aim is to manufacture the gloves in an environmentally friendly way through the use of energy- and water-efficient processes.

Zlatko Rihter, CEO of Mölnlycke, said: “The new plant is a key part of our future plans for sustainable growth within the surgical gloves business. It will enable us to expand production to meet projected demand. But the best part is that we will achieve this in a less resource-intensive way, while creating a state-of-the-art working environment for our colleagues in Malaysia.”

Currently Mölnlycke has four plants that operate entirely using renewable energy, with another three potentially making the swap in the future. The company is working to fully rely on renewable energy in the future as it works towards reducing its operational carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2030.

It also plans to produce zero waste by 2050, utilising a circular economy for waste reduction, and recycling and reusing process water on-site or via third parties.

Katriina Öberg, EVP Gloves, Mölnlycke, said: “The surgical gloves manufacturing process is resource-intensive. By partnering with experts in the fields of energy management and water management, we are ensuring we act to realise our ambition to become a global leader in sustainable health care.

“I am very pleased with the partnerships with ENGIE and Veolia — they are important in bringing ‘WeCare’, Mölnlycke’s sustainability transformation agenda for the Gloves business area, to life.”

ENGIE will support the glove production through providing a long-term power-purchase agreement over 15 years.

Thomas Baudlot, ENGIE’s CEO of Energy Solutions APAC and Country Head for Southeast Asia, said: “ENGIE is proud to be the chosen long-term sustainability partner to Mölnlycke in accelerating their low-carbon journey in Malaysia.

“This will be an important milestone for our partnership, helping the Kulim plant use as little energy as possible. More broadly, the project exemplifies how industry players can reap economic benefits by accelerating their energy transition with low-carbon solutions.”

Veolia will be providing its wastewater treatment services to enable water recovery and reuse, while minimising discharge quantity in the manufacturing process. It will also be delivering digital monitoring services and a chemical conditioning program.

Olivier Estienne, Country Director, Malaysia for Veolia Water Technologies, said: “Veolia is firmly committed to championing ecological transformation. We are excited to partner with companies like Mölnlycke, who seek to establish sustainable practices and integrate a green mindset into their business. Our team is proud to be part of Mölnlycke's expansion plans in Malaysia and we look forward to more avenues to support their endeavour for greater sustainability and improved performance.”

The site will begin production in September and reach full capacity, employing 800 people and producing 400 million gloves a year, by 2026.

Image credit: Penn

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