Chapter 26 Purchasing and marketing of social and environmental sustainability in high-tech medical equipment
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As the functional capabilities of high-tech medical products converge, supplying organizations seek new opportunities to differentiate their offerings. Embracing product sustainability-related differentiators provides such an opportunity. Our study examines the challenge for organizations to understand how customers perceive environmental and social dimensions of sustainability. To achieve this, the study explores and defines these two dimensions based on, first, a review of extent literature and, second, focus group research within a leading supplier of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning equipment. The study takes place in the Netherlands in seven different types of hospitals and one private imaging center. Five social aspects, together covering eleven indicators, are identified. These are tested via 22 customer perception interviews with key decision making stakeholders (within the hospitals or imaging center) involved in purchasing of MRI scanning equipment. Respondents find environmental and social sustainability dimensions personally relevant, but professionally secondary to cost, performance, and ability to use MRI scanning equipment within organizations' physical infrastructure. Finally, incorporating a product's environmental and social credentials within marketing of MRI scanning equipment enhances the perception of the product offering in decision making stakeholders' minds and provide differentiation.

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