Protecting the environment a long-time motivator for senior manager
Julie Aspin, senior sustainability manager based in the UK, shares insights from her career
Q: Tell us about your current role at Baxter.
Julie: I collaborate with colleagues across functions and geographies to ensure we drive action that aligns with customer’s sustainability needs – delivering our life-saving solutions while tackling the climate crisis and conserving natural resources. I’ve been with Baxter for 19 years and am currently focused on sustainability work in the UK and Ireland, as well as in our Medication Delivery and Pharmaceuticals business across Western Europe. I’m also involved in developing a comprehensive regional strategy for Baxter’s sustainability efforts.
Q: 19 years with Baxter is impressive! What’s made you stay?
Julie: The corporate responsibility agenda has grown in importance and expanded in scope over the last few years, which has kept life interesting! In these 19 years, I’ve also had three children. Two of my children were born prematurely, and my son’s first meal was a bag of Baxter total parenteral nutrition. We witnessed first-hand the impact Baxter’s products can have on a family, and that creates unparalleled motivation and a real connection to the value our products bring.
Q: Tell us about what interests you in the sustainability field.
Julie: My first job was with the UK’s Environment Agency. I'd get sent out to pollution incidents. I remember once standing at the bank of a beautiful chalk river that had been impacted, and seeing a factory off in the distance. I thought to myself ‘I don’t want to be here clearing up the mess – I want to be over there stopping it from happening in the first place.’ From then on, everything I’ve pursued in my career has been about proactively protecting the environment.
Q: Tell us about how your sustainability work at Baxter has evolved over the years.
Julie: Just as the public increasingly accepts the impact each of our lives has on the environment, sustainability is naturally being more integrated within roles and functions. What used to perhaps feel like an “add-on” to someone’s job is now genuinely valued and prioritised. This is inspiring and enables us to create real change as a company.
Q: What excites you about the work Baxter is doing?
Julie: We’re serious about sustainable product and service innovation to drive transformational change in healthcare. For example, implementing options for more sustainable anesthesia and new ways to treat patients at home instead of in the hospital – which not only helps reduce the carbon footprint associated with keeping someone in hospital, but is also better for a patient’s quality of life.
Additionally, in the UK and Ireland, we started an employee-driven group called “Carbon Zero Heroes.” It’s exciting to see employees willingly volunteer to better understand the issues and take an active role in helping us create change! This goes beyond making small changes, and really aims to get to the heart of empowering our people to turn our sustainability performance into tangible business value.
Q: What kinds of steps do you take personally to help preserve the environment?
Julie: As a mum, helping my children become aware of their own impact on the planet is vital. My whole family thinks carefully about the choices we make. When traveling, how do we get there and what impact will we have on our destination? As agriculture has big climate change impacts, my family eats vegetarian every other day, which halves our carbon footprint associated with our diet. We also try to avoid mindless purchases… really thinking about whether you need something before buying it. We’ve only got one planet and we cannot afford to waste resources.
Interested in learning more? Read Baxter’s latest Corporate Responsibility Report here: Corporate Responsibility Report | Baxter (www.baxterhealthcare.ie).