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A roundup of developments on corporate social responsibility from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations.
Abbott (Abbott Park, IL) was named one of the top three 2010 Best in Class companies in its industry sector by Storebrand Investments, a socially responsible investment firm. The company’s status in based on an evaluation of the financial, environmental, and social performance of 15 companies in the pharmaceutical industry.
Albemarle (Baton Rouge, LA), a fine-chemicals company, is partnering with students at Louisiana State University (LSU) to sponsor a project for a biodiesel truck run on waste vegetable oil by LSU mechanical and biological engineering students.
Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA) awarded 34 science teachers in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico the Amgen Award For Science Teaching Excellence, which recognizes teachers in grades K–12. A list of recipients may be found here.
In other news, the Amgen Foundation provided a grant to KaBOOM, a national nonprofit organization that builds playgrounds for children. The grant will enable seven playgrounds to be built in the US and Puerto Rico by volunteers from KaBOOM and Amgen.
AstraZeneca (London) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), a not-for-profit public–private partnership, announced a collaborative agreement designed to identify candidate drugs for the treatment of malaria. The agreement will initially allow MMV access to AstraZeneca’s extensive compound library with the goal of identifying compounds with the potential to treat malaria, including drug-resistant strains of the disease.
Baxter International (Deerfield, IL) released its 2009 Sustainability Report. Highlights from the report include: a 9% decrease in water usage; the launch of a Global Supplier Sustainability Program; a green-building design for its European headquarters in Zurich; and a 5% decrease of net greenhouse-gas emissions.
BD (Franklin Lakes, NJ) released its 2009 Sustainability Report. Among the highlights in 2009 was the creation of a new Office of Global Sustainability to focus on improving the company’s environmental performance.
Catalent Pharma Solutions (Somerset, NJ) has joined the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), an initiative of The Ethisphere Institute that promotes ethical business practices. BELA seeks to establish a benchmark framework for ethical behavior in the corporate world by focusing on four core values: legal compliance, transparency, conflict identification, and accountability.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, London) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), a government agency responsible for promoting economic growth and development, jointly awarded funding for eight research projects in Singapore aimed at growing local capabilities and talent in green and sustainable manufacturing. The first round of projects will receive approximately $3.5 million in funding under the $24-milion GSK-Singapore Partnership for Green & Sustainable Manufacturing. The partnership will be funded by a GSK-EDB $35-million joint fund to increase Singapore’s capabilities in sustainable and green manufacturing.
In other news, GSK announced on July 1 that it is creating a new operating unit dedicated to least-developed countries (LCDs). As defined by the United Nations, there are currently 49 LDCs, of which 33 are in Africa. GSK formed a new Developing Countries and Market Access operating unit to integrate GSK’s pharmaceutical business in LDCs into one group. The new group will also include the market access function that supports programs and polices for the wider Emerging Markets and Asia Pacific region.
Janssen, part of Johnson & Johnson (J&J, New Brunswick, NJ), is installing a new solar panel array at it facilities in Titusville, New Jersey. The solar installation is expected to be the largest of its kind in New Jersey to date and the largest at any J&J facility. Once completed later this year, the solar panels will provide about 70% of the site’s annual electricity needs. In addition to the Titusville site, J&J has solar power systems planned or completed at 20 sites, which together represent installed capacity of about 13 megawatts.
Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ) plans to initiate a Phase II investigational proof-of-concept clinical study to evaluate its oral antifungal agent posaconazole for treating chronic Chagas disease, a World Health Organization-recognized neglected disease that afflicts eight million people in Latin America. Currently, only two drugs are approved for treatment: benzidazole and nifurtimox.
In other news, Merck announced that it will award 37 scholarships and fellowships to 37 African American students in the biological and chemical sciences through a partnership with The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative. The initiative, which was formed through a 10-year $20 million grant in 1995, is supported by the Merck Institute for Science Education and Merck Research Laboratories. The grant was renewed in 2006 to provide more than $13 million in additional funding through 2010.
Employees of Roche (Basel, Switzerland) participated in a sponsored walk in support of the International Day of the African Child on June 16, 2010. Approximately 15,000 employees at 103 sites participated. The event raises money for vulnerable children in Africa. Proceeds of the walk goes to the European Coalition of Positive People to support day care centers in Malawi that look after 3000 children who have been orphaned by AIDS and to support education and schools in Malawi through a partnership with UNICEF.
Signatories to the United Nations Global Compact, a corporate-social-responsibility (CSR) initiative facilitated by the UN, held its tenth annual Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York City in June. Approximately 8200 entities (individuals, corporations, governments, and nongovernmental organizations, including more than 6000 businesses) in 135 countries are signatories to the UN Global Compact. At the summit, the UN Global Compact adopted the New York Declaration of Business, which cites 10 key principles covering human rights, labor, environment, and anticorruption principles that benefit business and society. The summit also presented the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership, which is based on the “protect, respect, remedy” framework developed by UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Business and Human Rights John Ruggie. The declaration also calls for businesses to contribute more substantially to peace and development, especially in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. Business leaders also called on governments to build enabling environments for entrepreneurship, maintain an open trading system, set clear and effective regulations, including in socially critical areas such as climate change, and to join the private sector in providing tangible support for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, a set of poverty-alleviation goals.
Participants in the UN Global Compact launched the UN Global Compact Management Model, which is designed to help UN Global Compact signatories advance sustainability in their operations and strategies. The model was developed with the management-consulting firm Deloitte.
Participants in The UN Global Compact also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), another CSR initiative, for an alliance under which GRI will integrate the UN Global Compact's 10 principles in GRI’s next iteration of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, a framework for an organization’s annual sustainability reporting. In turn, participants in the UN Global Compact will adopt the GRI guidelines as the recommended reporting framework for companies to communicate progress in their sustainability efforts.
Participants in the UN Global Compact, UNICEF, and the humanitarian organization Save the Children also asked organizations to develop principles, known as the Children’s Principles for Business, to be incorporated into companies’ CSR activities. The consultation for the principles began on June 25, 2010 and it is hoped that they will be issued in 2011.