Pharma Leads in Sustainability

A new report places pharmaceutical and healthcare companies ahead in corporate and social governance.
Jul 01, 2011


Angie Drakulich
Sustainability is about more than going green. When it comes to business strategy, it also includes social and corporate governance, according to a definition from consulting firm Brandlogic and investment analytics firm CRD Analytics. The companies recently released a survey about the real and perceived sustainability efforts of the top 100 companies around the world. The goal of the Sustainability Leadership Report: Measuring Perception vs. Reality is for industry to use the identified gaps between real and perceived sustainability efforts to improve corporate performance.

The good news is that the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry, one of nine sectors included in the survey, is leading the way in corporate sustainability. Other sectors included consumer, energy, financials, industrials and transportation, information technology, materials and mining, and telecommunications and Internet. The study authors used data from survey participants to establish a sustainability IQ matrix which groups companies into one of four areas: laggards (low perception, low reality), promoters (high perception, low reality), challengers (low perception, high reality), and leaders (high perception, high reality). Groups are based on real and perceived scores, both of which incorporate key performance indicators such as the company's environmental emissions, social diversity, and corporate vision.

Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novo Nordisk, and Pfizer all ranked in the "leader" category. Roche fell into the "challenger" category; BASF fell into the "promoter" category; and no one from pharma ended up in the "laggard" field.

The industry's activities in environmental, social, and corporate governance come as no surprise. The most nascent goal of the drug-manufacturing world is to improve health, and ultimately, to improve lives. More and more, industry is realizing that social, environmental, and governance sustainability initiatives—and not just its products—can help it achieve this goal.

Angie Drakulich is the senior managing editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.