Celebrating its 45th anniversary in Puerto Rico this year, Medtronic is the largest life sciences company on the island with four manufacturing locations in Juncos, Villalba, Ponce and Humacao, as well as commercial operations. Its manufacturing footprint covers 900,000 sq. feet and employs more than 5,000 employees in total, making it the second-largest employer in Puerto Rico.
The facilities manufacture a wide range of products spanning the group’s four business units, generating around 18 percent of global revenues. And the group continues growing its presence. In October, it announced a USD 50 million investment to boost productivity and the manufacturing capacity at its Juncos and Villalba facilities where it develops technology to treat chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The funding will add new machinery and generate between 500 and 600 jobs on the island.
We saw that the efforts at the time [of Hurricane Maria] made a positive impact on the company as a whole
But Medtronic is not just a manufacturing behemoth. The company has come to be known as one of the most progressive companies on the island practicing exemplary corporate social responsibility. For instance, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Medtronic provided free meals to all its employees and paid their wages even while production was offline. The company also brought in more than one million bottles of water, as well as thousands of boxes of food. And it provided 40,000 gallons of free gasoline, on-site laundromats and day care for employees, along with a variety of other services such as banking and help with FEMA applications.
As Felix Negrón, vice president of Puerto Rico operations, explains, the company “made sure that all of our employees had everything they needed, even if it took two or three more weeks to recover.” Going above and beyond to support its employees has paid off. “We saw that the efforts at the time made a positive impact on the company as a whole. We produce surveys each year that measure the engagement of our employees and the levels before and after Maria are significantly different. Two years after the hurricane, we have maintained high levels of engagement from our employees.”
On the energy front, Medtronic has also made significant investments in environmentally sustainable electricity production. In 2017, the company unveiled a 17-acre area comprising 18,000 photovoltaic cells at its plant in Juncos. Covering approximately 40 percent annual electricity consumption, the system dramatically lowers the plant’s carbon footprint with 5.16M tons of CO2 reduction per year. More recently, Medtronic partnered with the local government for a project in renewable energy, including solar and hydroelectric power generation, at its Villalba facility. The electricity generated will not only power its operations but also the local community.
“We recognize the critical interdependence between human health and the environment and our inherent responsibility for the welfare of our employees. Our well-being ultimately depends on the health and resources of the planet. That is why we continually strive to reduce our environmental impact,” said Negrón.