CSR and Sustainability in the News

A roundup of developments in corporate social responsibility and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations
May 02, 2012
By PharmTech Editors

Bristol-Myers Squibb has been ranked number one on Corporate Responsibility magazine’s 2012 list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens, a benchmark for socially responsible investors and other stakeholders. Bristol-Myers Squibb has ranked among the top 10 companies each of the last four years and previously secured the number one ranking in 2009. The 100 Best Corporate Citizens list ranks companies in the Russell 1000 using more than 350 data points in seven categories: environment, climate change, human rights, philanthropy, employee relations, finance, and governance.

Eli Lilly has been named to the 2012 Diversity Inc. Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. Lilly ranked 29th, an increase from its 2011 rating of 39. The list is an assessment of diversity management globally. To make the list, participating companies must have more than 1000 employees and demonstrate strength in key diversity areas: CEO commitment, human capital, corporate and organizational communications, and supplier diversity and show year-to-year progress in diversity initiatives. A total of 587 companies participated in the evaluation

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) reports that its rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, will be introduced into a newly started national vaccination program in Ghana. This follows the finalization of an agreement that confirmed acceptance of the offer made by GSK to the GAVI Alliance in June 2011 to supply up to 132 million doses of Rotarix at a reduced price over five years. GSK will begin supplying the vaccine through UNICEF to countries in Africa. GSK has been a long-standing partner with the GAVI Alliance and continues to supply more than 70% of its total vaccine volumes to the least developed countries. Vaccination against rotavirus has so far been successfully introduced in five GAVI-eligible countries: Nicaragua, Honduras, Bolivia, Guyana, and Sudan. By securing a guaranteed supply of low-priced, high-quality vaccines, GSK’s commitment to supply up to 132 million doses of Rotarix will enable GAVI to expand rotavirus vaccination further with the aim to cover over 40 countries by 2015.

GSK and the University of Nottingham have formalized a collaboration to establish a new laboratory to accommodate the Center of Excellence for sustainable chemistry and to construct a carbon-neutral sustainable chemistry laboratory. This agreement represents progress on GSK’s green-chemistry commitment first announced in 2010. The GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry will be based on the University’s Jubilee Campus, and its construction is being supported by a £12 million ($19 million) grant from GSK. The laboratory will be a Center of Excellence for sustainable chemistry and will focus on research that is of particular relevance to the pharmaceutical industry and which complements established expertise at the University of Nottingham. It will also deliver advanced undergraduate teaching and outreach to the wider scientific community. The center will serve as a global hub to catalyze new collaborations with other institutions and industry partners and will bring together UK academics, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, and GSK chemists for developing expertise in sustainable-chemical synthesis. The laboratory itself will be built from natural materials, and the energy required to run the laboratory will be met by renewable sources such as solar power and sustainable biofuel. Excess energy created by the building will provide enough carbon credits over 25 years to pay back the carbon used in its construction, according to GSK

Merck & Co. has launched Plan It Forward, a campaign to enable young adult women to map out their future plans and to provide some resources to help them get started. The campaign, debuting today on HerCampus.com, also encourages young adult women to consider how an unplanned pregnancy could impact her path and how family planning fits into her roadmap.

Merck & Co. has also been named as a leader in the Maplecroft Climate Innovation Index (CII), which identifies global companies that demonstrate superior management, mitigation, and adaptation in climate innovation. Merck ranked 45th out of the top 100 global companies (and 17th among the top 100 US companies), out of a more than 300 companies that were reviewed. Merck placed third out of the 10 pharmaceutical companies that made the global ranking. The CII is based on public disclosures and direct engagement with companies. Maplecroft rated each company against more than 100 criteria, including technological innovation and new working practices to combat climate-change impacts, management of climate-related issues, adaption to physical climate-related risks, such as flooding or more extreme weather events throughout the supply chain, and the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions.

Novartis reported that more than 25,000 employees across 54 countries are engaging in volunteer activities to benefit people in their local communities. The company reported the participation in line with its annual Community Partnership Day (CPD). Participation in the 2012 CPD activities increased 25% increase over the previous year, with more than 25,000 Novartis associates worldwide supporting a wide range of charitable causes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a new global strategy aimed at reducing measles deaths and congenital rubella syndrome to zero. The announcement comes with the publication of new data that showed efforts to reduce measles deaths have resulted in a 74% reduction in global measles mortality, from an estimated 535,300 deaths in 2000 to 139,300 in 2010, largely due to increase immunization through vaccines. Since 2001, the Measles Initiative has supported developing countries to vaccinate over one billion children against measles. Now, in keeping with the new Global Measles and Rubella Strategic Plan to control and eventually eliminate measles and rubella, the initiative is called the Measles & Rubella Initiative. The new strategic plan presents a five-pronged strategy to cut global measles deaths by at least 95% by 2015 compared with 2000 levels and to achieve measles and rubella elimination in at least five WHO regions by 2020. The strategies include high vaccination coverage monitoring spread of disease using laboratory-backed surveillance, outbreak preparedness and response and measles case management, communication and community engagement, and R&D. Under the new strategy, 62 countries currently not using rubella vaccine are encouraged to use their measles vaccination delivery system to introduce rubella vaccine into their national immunization schedule. The newly renamed Measles & Rubella Initiative has support from GAVI and is welcoming new partners, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the International Pediatric Association, Lions Clubs International and the Sabin Vaccine Institute.