Sustainability report


Edwards Lifesciences conducts business with care and respect for our environment. The Environment section of our 2017 Sustainability Report covers all our business operations and contains our management approach and annual performance for the following material topics:

  • Energy & emissions
  • Waste
  • Water
  • Environmental compliance

In 2017, we created a governance map to illustrate the accountability structure for managing Environmental Health and Safety, including Energy and Emissions, Waste, Water and Environmental Compliance.


Governance map

Health & Safety
Ethics &
and Corruption
& Bribery
Product Safety
& Quality
Edwards takes pride in our strong management practices that mitigate risk, ensure accountability and enhance performance on our material topics. Our governance maps illustrate Edwards’ internal responsibility structures for managing a selection of our material topics. These maps underscore our commitment to transparency and our Aspiration of Excelling as a Trusted Partner and Global Leader Through the Quality of Our Work.
Please click on any of the five categories to review our governance structures and practices.
Health & Safety
How does Edwards decide its strategy?
  • Members of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and Corporate EHS team (CEHS team) collaborate to develop Edwards’ EHS strategy which is subject to approval by the CFO and CEO.

    The Senior Director of EHS and Sustainability, a member of the CEHS team, re-evaluates the strategy annually and produces an annual EHS report. This report is shared with the business unit leaders and the CFO who provides critical updates to the CEO. Our CEO shares updates on EHS performance with the Board of Directors annually and as needed if issues arise.

    Every five years, the Vice President, Corporate Services and Members of the CEHS team create new EHS strategies that are based on benchmarking, industry standards and leading sustainability frameworks. Edwards aligns our EHS strategy and disclosures to the Global Reporting Initiative, Dow Jones Sustainability Index survey, Carbon Disclosure Project (Climate), and the Task Force for Climate-Related Disclosures.
How does Edwards execute its strategy?
  • Regional Strategies
    The Corporate EHS function develops EHS policies and procedures appropriate for Edwards’ global operations. These include global policies on EHS risk management, reducing accidents and preventing pollution. The Senior Director of EHS and Sustainability, a member of the Corporate EHS team, then develops plant strategies based on EHS performance, reviewed by the CFO and CEO. Each Operating Unit EHS function develops additional tailored policies and procedures appropriate to its activities and local regulations, needs and cultural attributes.

    Executive Leadership and representatives from the CEHS team approve plant-level requirements. The Facility EHS teams and the plant managers are responsible for ensuring that the EHS policy is followed at each facility.

    Removing Conflicts of Interest
    The Corporate and Operating Unit EHS programs are governed as separate entities to ensure objectivity during internal audits. Each team reports audit results, injuries and environmental findings to its respective management teams.

    Corporate EHS:
    • Focuses on compliance, risks and opportunities, EHS due diligence, pollution prevention and reduction of injuries for both manufacturing and nonmanufacturing entities
    • Reports to the Corporate Vice President of Finance, The Vice President of Corporate Services, the CFO and the CEO
    • Monitors and reports EHS performance, including compliance, reduction of injuries and pollution prevention, on an ongoing basis to site and corporate management teams of each Operating Unit

    Operating Unit EHS:
    • Facilitates and assesses EHS performance, including EHS headcount, EHS employee development, ongoing expenses and projects aimed at reducing injuries and preventing pollution
    • Report to the Business Unit Leaders through the supply chain management leadership, Corporate VP, Global Supply Chain
    • Individual Operating Units deploy and monitor the EHS Management System, including manufacturing sites and regional offices, who are directly accountable to their corresponding Business Units or corporate divisions

    Performance Incentives
    Our CEO is evaluated annually for his role in achieving our strategic long-term Aspirations; EHS is as an integral part of Edwards’ Aspiration to excel as a Trusted Partner with our stakeholders and community. The Senior Director of EHS/Sustainability and the VP of Corporate Services’ bonuses are based upon policy execution. Edwards includes EHS criteria in performance reviews for relevant employees and incentivizes performance using recognition, rewards and compensation.
How does Edwards engage and communicate?
  • Feedback Mechanisms
    Through our “Ask Mike” Channel, the Corporate Services team receives employee and vendor EHS feedback and questions for our CEO. CEHS team leadership and Corporate Services draft answers to these inquiries that the CEO reviews before publishing all questions and answers on Edwards’ internal website.

    Any employee may report a grievance related to EHS practices anonymously through Edwards’ Speak-Up program and Integrity Hotline. All grievances made through the Global Integrity Program are reported through Edwards’ Chief Responsibility Officer (CRO). External persons may submit EHS-related concerns through Edwards’ Global Integrity Program <link>. If Edwards receives feedback, the CRO reviews it and directs it to CEHS leadership who investigate, document findings, and return it to the CRO who then determines whether further action is needed.

    Communication Practices
    Edwards uses several methods to engage and communicate EHS information and progress with stakeholders: public reporting, our “Ask Mike” channel, grievance mechanisms and employee training.

    Edwards communicates its EHS progress via our annual Sustainability Report and supplemental EHS report. Additionally, our Environmental, Health & Safety policy and performance commitments are included in Edwards’ Titanium Book of Global Business Practice Standards.

    Please see our EHS report for details on our EHS-specific employee training. Every plant conducts employee and contractor orientation that contains EHS information and safety training for their position.
Ethics &
and Corruption
& Bribery
How does Edwards decide its strategy?
  • Setting Our Strategy
    Our CEO and Chief Responsibility Officer (CRO) collaborate to set Edwards’ Ethics & Compliance and Corruption & Bribery strategy; as our leader, the CEO sets the tone while the CRO drives the strategy. They both oversee fostering a strong ethical culture and advancing a best-in-class compliance program. The Board of Directors approves and oversees the program.

    Our CRO oversees our Global and Regional Ethics and Compliance Teams, is a member of our Senior Leadership Team and has primary responsibility for Ethics & Compliance and Corruption & Bribery. Our CRO reports to the CEO and the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors.

    Our cross-functional compliance committees discuss, review and approve all regional and global policies and procedures: The Regional Compliance Committees (RCC) include regional senior leaders and are chaired by a regional compliance officer while our Corporate Compliance Committee (CCC), chaired by the CRO, is comprised of executive team members, including business unit leads and functional heads. The Global Ethics and Compliance team proposes corporate compliance goals which are discussed with and approved by the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). Progress to goals are discussed by the CRO with the ELT and Audit Committee of the Board, and by regional compliance officers (RCOs), who support the compliance committees and ethics teams, with the RCCs.

    Performance and Monitoring
    Our Global Business Practice Standards, known as the “Titanium Book,” are publicly available on our website. Any changes to the Titanium Book must be approved by the CCC, ELT and the Board. The CRO and the Ethics and Compliance Teams perform bi-annual compliance risk assessments which drive future strategies.

    To continually improve our Ethics & Compliance and anti-Corruption & Bribery program, the CRO and regional compliance officers work closely with global and regional medical device industry associations and legal consultants to stay abreast of, engage with and incorporate any new developments such as industry codes of conduct, working guidelines or best practices. The Ethics and Compliance Teams monitor publicly available information about the Ethics & Compliance and anti-Corruption & Bribery performance of our peers and the CRO reports to the CCC, ELT and the Audit Committee of the Board.

    Our Ethics and Compliance Teams measure our performance through many channels. One channel is the assessment of Edwards’ culture through our compliance survey which measures trust, fear of retaliation and willingness to speak up. Our Ethics and Compliance Teams communicate with regional and corporate leadership and the CRO if any issues surface.
How does Edwards execute its strategy?
  • Implementing Our Strategy
    Our Chief Responsibility Officer (CRO) oversees daily implementation and reports monthly to our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and quarterly to the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors. Our Corporate Compliance Committee provides support and guidance to the CRO. The Committee meets quarterly to discuss progress. In addition, our regional compliance officers chair RCCs that oversee compliance at a local level.

    The Ethics and Compliance Teams monitor compliance policies and procedures and drive changes through system upgrades, training and education.

    We require all employees and distributors to receive training on and certify their commitment to the Titanium Book, while the Audit Committee of our Board members receive education on the Book and our policies. Please see the Management Approach section of Ethics & Compliance and Corruption & Bribery for more detail.

    Strategic Incentives
    Our CEO and CRO share a specific performance management objective (PMO) to “foster a strong ethical culture and advance a best-in-class compliance program”; this directly impacts their bonus compensation.

    Edwards’ Aspirations include “Excelling as a Trusted Partner and Global Leader Through the Quality of Our Work”. Edwards expects all employees to practice our core competencies and this is codified as a criterion in our performance reviews. Our Ethics and Compliance Teams work with Human Resources to establish integrity-related performance criteria. Any violations or misconduct are communicated to both the offending employee and their manager for review and may be considered during the employees’ performance evaluation.

    The Ethics and Compliance Teams provide awards to employees for courageous ethical behavior, as well as for speaking up about improvement opportunities. Employees receive Heart Awards, recognition and financial compensation for promoting ethics and compliance and preventing corruption and bribery.
How does Edwards engage and communicate with our stakeholders?
  • Communicating Our Progress
    We communicate progress to all our stakeholders in our annual sustainability report.

    The Regional Ethics and Compliance Teams educate our employees through in-person training, online training on our learning management system, compliance newsletters, email communications, meetings and calls.

    Incorporating Feedback
    In conjunction with Titanium Book certification, we survey professional employees annually on topics such as fear of retaliation and whether they have reported misconduct. In addition, the Ethics and Compliance Teams gather internal feedback through our Integrity Helpline, investigations, monitoring findings and bi-annual risk assessments, and the RCC and general employee communications.

    The Ethics and Compliance Teams conduct a direct, personal follow up with all deviant survey responses and periodically follows up with all misconduct reporters until investigations conclude. They provide global and regional risk assessment results to the RCC and CCC and collaborate to develop risk-mediating action.

    To track program effectiveness, the Ethics and Compliance Teams, in collaboration with ELT, develop metrics and compliance goals each year. Regional compliance officers gather data to measure these metrics and goals and send it to the Global Ethics and Compliance Team who aggregate and share findings with the RCCs and other leadership teams. The CRO also presents findings to the CCC, ELT and Audit Committee of the Board.
Product Safety
& Quality
How does Edwards decide its strategy?
  • Setting Strategy
    With guidance from the Board of Directors, the CEO and the Corporate Vice President of Quality (CVP of Quality) set Edwards’ Product Quality and Safety strategy, policies and targets. The CVP of Quality is responsible for evaluating company performance and aligning our strategy to relevant product safety regulations. Our CVP of Quality assesses product quality and safety data through a company-wide dashboard and provides quarterly updates to the Board of Directors and executive leadership.

    The Vice Presidents of Quality for the Business Units and Regions (VPs of Quality) and VP of Quality Strategy and Execution who report directly to the CVP of Quality, support the strategy development process. The quality team develops a centralized corporate quality strategy that focuses on quality control measures and global regulatory compliance. The VPs of Quality in the business units are responsible for product-level specifications to ensure compliance with applicable regulations.

    Regulatory Compliance
    As a medical technology company, Edwards must comply with strict regulations regarding the design, development, manufacturing and distribution of our products and services. We must comply with regulations set by regulatory bodies all around the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Competent Authorities in the European Union, and various international organizations.
How does Edwards execute its strategy?
  • Strategy Execution
    Our Corporate VP of Quality (CVP) is responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of our Quality System.

    The CVP conducts quarterly reviews with the CEO, the Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors to inform them of significant quality issues. The reviews address opportunities to improve Edwards’ Quality System, policy and objectives. These ongoing assessment activities empower Edwards’ Vice Presidents of Quality, Business Units and Regions to implement changes and mandate corrective action. The Edwards Management Representatives, who report to the VPs of Quality for the Business Units and Regions, help communicate and disseminate the strategy to employees throughout the company.

    Performance Incentives
    Our Corporate Vice President of Quality, our Vice President of Quality Strategy and Execution, and other Vice Presidents of Quality collaborate to establish a performance dashboard comprised of 6-7 specific components. All Quality and Global Supply Chain personnel are evaluated based on the dashboard’s performance and achievement of the dashboard goals. All employees who report to the Vice Presidents of Quality are responsible for and evaluated by 6-7 specific criteria aligned to the dashboard.

    Corrective Action Process
    If a product fails to meet safety or regulatory requirements, a cross-functional team performs an in-depth assessment to determine whether a Field Corrective Action is needed. In the case of a product issue, the Field Corrective Action Team will reclaim the distributed product or contact the affected customer. This team includes the Corporate VP of Quality, Regulatory and Clinical; Vice President of Product Safety (a former cardiothoracic surgeon); head of Quality Compliance; and the Quality Management Representative of the relevant business unit.
How does Edwards engage and communicate?
  • Employee Product Quality and Safety Training
    Edwards requires every employee, regardless of department, to complete detailed quality training programs during our onboarding process. Beyond the fundamentals, training content and employee performance expectations are specifically defined for each role. Edwards also requires employees to undergo mandatory training on or to review pertinent procedural updates.

    Feedback Mechanisms
    The Product Quality Teams, collaborates with our Research & Development departments and manufacturing team to monitor post-market product performance and manage a feedback loop to continually make product improvements. Additionally, physicians provide feedback on how we can develop our products to best meet their needs.

    Communication Methods
    Edwards communicates our progress and engages our stakeholders through our sustainability report and our website. Additionally, we report to all major regulatory bodies around the world, including the National Competent Authorities. Complete information on recalls is available through the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) publicly available database for medical device recalls.
How does the Edwards Foundation decide its strategy?
  • Strategy Setting
    The Edwards Lifesciences Foundation is structurally independent from Edwards Lifesciences’ business and plays a key role in Edwards Lifesciences’ philanthropic giving strategy. The strategic importance of giving back to the community through the Foundation’s work is set by the Foundation’s Chairman of the Board and Edwards’ CEO, Mike Mussallem.

    The Foundation’s Board of Directors sets the philanthropic strategy. The Board includes eight senior leaders at Edwards:
    • CEO
    • Corporate vice president of Public Affairs
    • CFO
    • Chief Scientific Officer
    • Corporate Vice President of Quality, Regulatory
    • Clinical Corporate Vice President of Human Resources
    • Corporate Vice President of Critical Care
    • Vice President and Association General Counsel

    The Foundation Board reviews the strategic plan annually to ensure that our philanthropic contributions leverage maximum global impact. The Executive Director of ELF develops the Foundation’s strategy with the Global Corporate Giving Team with counsel and ultimate approval from the Foundation Board. The Foundation’s Officers and members of the Administrative Steering Committee (ASC), comprised of 20 Edwards employees from around the world, also help set the philanthropy strategy.

    The Board also annually evaluates the Foundation’s cash grant giving goals and the impact of cash grants for the Foundation’s signature philanthropic initiative, Every Heartbeat Matters (EHM). EHM comprises ~70% of the Foundation’s annual cash grant budget. Every Q1, the Foundation Executive Director and the Global Corporate Giving team evaluate the prior year, gathering feedback from the Foundation Board of Directors, all ASC members, and non-profit partners and make necessary changes to the applications and grant cycle process to improve operations for the following year.

    To solicit feedback, evaluate our EHM performance and ensure we are on target to achieve our goals, the Executive Director of the Foundation and the Global Corporate Giving team receives robust impact reporting from our partner non-profit organizations at the end of every year. The Global Corporate Giving team also conducts rigorous reviews, analysis and audits of at least 10% of our EHM partners’ impact on an annual basis.

    Our Foundation work aligns with UN SDG number 3 and number 10.
How does the Edwards Foundation execute its strategy?
  • The Executive Director of the Foundation is responsible for the implementation of the philanthropic strategy. The Executive Director oversees both the Global Corporate Giving team, who is accountable for target achievement, and the Administrative Steering Committee, who help to execute the philanthropic strategy by partnering with and supporting charitable organizations across the world.

    The Administrative Steering Committee and the Strengthen Our Community Committees, comprised of employees from different team and regions across the globe, works with the Global Corporate Giving team to encourage employees to engage with our global non-profit partners. All employees are responsible for maintaining our culture of volunteerism and giving. With support and leadership from Strengthen Our Communities committees, and the Global Corporate Giving team, employees volunteer with community organizations, donate dollars or skills to a charity and encourage organizations to apply to the annual grant cycle of the ELF.

    At select annual regional employee events, the Chairman, Foundation Executive Director and the Global Corporate Giving team recognize outstanding Edwards employee volunteers. They are granted a ‘gift for giving’ — donating $1000 to the charity of their choice.
How does the Edwards Foundation engage and communicate?
  • Communication Practices
    Transparency is key to our Foundation — we disclose extensive philanthropy data on our website. The Foundation communicates our progress through our annual sustainability reports as well as our philanthropy reports. Both are posted on our website and placed in lobbies and gathering locations throughout Edwards’ buildings. We also provide the reports to each Foundation partner and new Edwards U.S. employees during orientation. All new employee orientations include information on the Foundation, the Strengthen Our Community volunteer programs and how to get involved.

    The Global Corporate Giving team, the Administrative Steering Committee and the Board of Directors of the Foundation communicate Edwards’ philanthropic strategy and commitment through regular All Employee Meetings, external conferences and community events, and at annual recognition events for the Foundation’s non-profit partners.

    Additionally, the Chairman of the Board presents Foundation information during the business’ annual shareholder meeting. The Global Corporate Giving team also discusses our philanthropic strategy with interested stakeholders at the annual shareholder meeting.

    Feedback and Engagement Mechanisms
    The Global Corporate Giving team uses internal communication platforms, social media platforms and external-facing public websites to both gather feedback from the public and employees and share information with the community. The Global Corporate Giving team responds to all email, phone or online inquiries received by the Edward Lifesciences Foundation. The Executive Director and Global Corporate Giving team share compiled feedback and other material information with the Board during quarterly meetings.

    The Global Corporate Giving team supports the Foundation Officers in conducting collaborative summits that convene our non-profit partners of the Every Heartbeat Matters initiative, with the goal of furthering philanthropic impact by providing platforms for networking and encouraging collaborative programming. The Global Corporate Giving team also participates in industry surveys to share data and help our peers conduct benchmarking.
Corporate Governance
How does Edwards decide its strategy?
  • Strategy Setting
    Our Audit and Compensation and Governance Committees, and the Board of Directors as a whole, are responsible for developing Edwards’ corporate governance strategy.

    Our Corporate Secretary stewards our corporate governance efforts and represents the Board of Directors during engagement calls with stockholders. A representative from the Board of Directors, the Presiding Director, sometimes participates in calls with the shareholders and closely collaborates with the Corporate Secretary in advance of and during the calls. Stockholder feedback informs corporate governance evaluation. The Board of Directors reviews the stockholder feedback reports and incorporates feedback into their considerations when reviewing governance strategy.

    On a quarterly basis, the Corporate Secretary reviews current best practices, analyzes the impacts of governance changes on our business and advises the Board of Directors on considerations relating to governance questions, challenges or feedback.
How does Edwards execute its strategy?
  • The Compensation and Governance Committee and the Audit Committee are the two committees of Edwards’ Board of Directors. Their charters can be found on our website. They oversee execution of our corporate governance and sustainability strategy throughout the year.

    The office of the Corporate Secretary, Investor Relations, the office of the Chief Responsibility Officer, the Corporate Vice President and General Counsel collaborate to execute Edwards’ corporate governance strategy.

    Performance Incentives
    Edwards evaluates corporate governance personnel using compensation mechanisms such as awarding long-term incentives. To evaluate our Board of Directors, our Compensation Committee submits recommendations to our CEO who evaluates individuals based on their performance management objectives. Additionally, we view our stock performance as a way in which our strategy is being evaluated by shareholders.

    Our Board and ELT are incentivized to promote best corporate governance practices through performance management objectives which influence compensation. Additionally, our Board conducts self- and peer-evaluations annually that are prepared for and tailored to each Board member by the General Counsel.
How does Edwards engage and communicate?
  • Communication Practices
    Edwards communicates Corporate Governance efforts through the Annual Proxy Statement and other securities filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Additionally, the Sustainability Council publicly communicates Corporate Governance initiatives through the Sustainability Report.

    Edwards educates employees on corporate governance information through the Titanium book.

    Stakeholder Engagement
    The Board is presented with the status of stakeholder engagement and feedback received during the engagement in the quarter during which the feedback was obtained. Shareholder outreach on corporate governance, executive compensation and sustainability occurs at least twice a year. The Board reviews feedback, evaluates best responses, discusses reasonable approaches, and responds appropriately on behalf of the company. The 2018 Proxy Statement details how the Board has responded to stockholder feedback over the year and has changed our governance profile.

    Stakeholders can communicate governance concerns by contacting investor relations or the office of the Corporate Secretary and raising concerns during one of the semi-annual outreach campaigns. Our CEO, our CFO and VP, Investor Relations, members of our Executive Leadership Team, reach out to shareholders quarterly in addition to regular institutional stakeholder engagements. Our Investor Relations team and Corporate Secretary collaborate when feedback is received. During some of the engagement sessions, our Presiding Director participates after receiving training.