Mankind is facing major global challenges such as climate change, growing resource scarcity, an aging society, and barriers to health – particularly in low- and middle-income countries. To overcome these issues, not only policy makers and civil society but also the private sector must join forces to find solutions.
Looking, listening and doing things better
We are aware that our business operations impact our environment and the people around us, which is why we have made responsible conduct a pillar of our corporate culture. This approach is the cornerstone of our success. Through our innovative and top-quality high-tech products for the healthcare, life science and performance materials sectors, we seek to help resolve global challenges.
Our Group strategy is targeted to business success. However, we likewise value the interests of our employees, customers and shareholders, as well as those of the community. Our Group strategy underpins our corporate responsibility (CR) strategy. All our CR activities fall under the heading of “responsible governance”, which for us most importantly means looking, listening and doing things better.
We take responsibility for our products, the environment, and the people around us – especially for our employees and the communities in which we operate. Through our products, we seek to meet customers’ current and future needs. In doing so, safety and ethics matter just as much to us as business success. In our production activities, we seek to impact the environment as little as possible, which requires safe manufacturing techniques, high environmental standards and strict quality management. Furthermore, we strengthen our company by recruiting, developing and motivating talented employees. We strive to set an example for ethical conduct and make an active contribution to the communities in which we live.
We aim to quickly identify new global trends and challenges, allowing us to minimize risk while also leveraging the business opportunities that arise. In our CR efforts, we concentrate our strengths on those areas where we can make the biggest difference, which is why we pursue three strategic spheres of activity: health, environment, and culture & education.
An estimated 400 million people have no access to adequate, affordable health care. Through our Group-wide Access to Health strategy, we seek to eliminate access barriers in low- and middle-income countries in an effort to provide underserved populations and communities in these countries with better, sustainable access to high-quality health solutions. Developments such as rising life expectancy and declining birth rates are also reflected in our health solutions, such as our cancer research, for instance, or our fertility treatments. You can find more information under Access to Health.
Many of our innovative chemical and life science products help mitigate our impact on the environment. We strive to continuously enhance the sustainability footprint of our products while also helping our customers achieve their own sustainability goals.
As the market and technology leader in the global liquid crystals industry, we are driving the creation of state-of-the-art, energy-efficient displays. Furthermore, we are developing materials for energy-saving lighting and photovoltaics, one of the ways we're tackling the issue of climate change and energy scarcity. You can find more information under Sustainable product design.
Culture & education
Culture inspires people and opens their minds to new possibilities, which is why we promote cultural initiatives worldwide and support education projects. After all, education is key to making culture accessible. Culture nurtures characteristics that are essential to our business activities as a high-tech company, such as creativity, enthusiasm for new discoveries, and the courage to transcend boundaries. You can find more information on our cultural activities under Community.
Taking on responsibility worldwide
Our corporate responsibility activities align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here, we focus particularly on the SDGs that apply most closely to our business ethos. You can find more information on our SDGs under Sustainable Development Goals.
Minimizing the adverse effects of our operations
We work to mitigate the ethical, financial and legal risks of our business activities, thereby ensuring our social license to operate. We adhere to legal, ethical, social, and ecological standards and have put extensive structures and systems in place to shore up this approach. Our environmental management activities aim to minimize environmental impacts at our production sites.
Corporate responsibility entwined with governance
Our CR strategy is approved by our Executive Board, which also makes decisions regarding our CR goals and reporting. Our Group-wide CR Committee oversees the implementation of our CR strategy. This council consists of representatives from our business sectors as well as from relevant Group functions such as EQ, HR, Compliance, and Procurement. Since June 2016, Public Affairs and Corporate Responsibility has been reporting to Belén Garijo, Executive Board member, CEO Healthcare and chairperson of the CR Committee.
Our CR Committee reviews our CR strategy to ensure that it covers the issues relevant to our company. In doing so, we draw on input from our stakeholders as well as the results of our materiality analysis. This committee also defines measures to put our CR strategy into practice. The success of these measures is regularly reviewed, and the committee also ensures that the initiatives of our business sectors, Group functions and subsidiaries align with our Group-wide CR strategy. The measures adopted by the CR Committee are implemented by our line managers as well as by interdisciplinary project teams.
The CR Committee meets three times per year. In 2015 and 2016, its meetings primarily focused on access to health, human rights, environmental and social standards along the supply chain, and animal welfare.