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A roundup of developments in corporate social responsibility and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations.
The Amgen Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA), and Ashoka's Changemakers, a community of action of social entrepreneurs announced three winners for the Patients, Choices, Empowerment competition. Each winner received a $10,000-cash prize and was selected by the public for their innovative solutions to empower and elevate patients' voices to improve health outcomes. Out of 10 finalists, the entries receiving the most votes in the Changemakers.com competition were: CureTogether— Crowdsourced Patient Experience, which uses quanitative data to help patients make more informed choices about their healthcare; Educating Tuberculosis Patients for Excellent Results, a program to remove the stigma around tuberculosis and to encourage support and treatment; and SMS Now! A Life Depends on It, a program that uses the mobile technology and the Internet to connect volunteer blood donors with patients.
In other news, Teach For America and the Amgen Foundation renewed their partnership to advance math and science education in America's underserved public schools. Under the partnership, the Amgen Foundation pledged $1.8 million to increase the number of math and science graduates who join Teach For America's teaching corps by 2013. This new grant brings the total support from the Amgen Foundation to more than $7 million since 2004. The Amgen Foundation is Teach For America's Founding National Math and Science Partner. Each year, the Amgen Foundation supports 100 new Amgen Fellows, selected from the top incoming Teach For America corps members with undergraduate degrees in math or science. These fellows each receive a $1000-signing bonus and are eligible for additional financial support for classroom resources or professional development.
The humanitarian agency AmeriCares and Baxter International (Deerfield, IL) reported on Dec. 15, 2010, that they have teamed to deliver additional intravenous (IV) solutions to Haiti as part of the ongoing effort to stem the cholera outbreak. Baxter has donated IV solutions, including lactated ringers and dextrose, and sets used to administer the solutions to help meet the hydration needs of people affected by waterborne bacteria. Baxter's previous philanthropic giving in response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti included grants from Baxter and The Baxter International Foundation to support immediate, acute-care, and longer-term needs of the region with a focus on health-related efforts, as well as shipments of more than 330,000 units of IV solutions, antibiotics, and other drugs through AmeriCares and Direct Relief International.
In other news, Baxter International’s Science@Work education program recently hosted interactive science workshops by Baxter scientists to help Chicago-area high school students experience the science behind healthcare careers. Baxter's Science@Work program is a multiyear partnership launched in 2008 with the Chicago Public Schools to support teacher training and student development in healthcare and biotechnology. The day featured interactive laboratory demonstrations and exercises to help students understand the varying factors considered when engineering a medical device.
Baxter also reported that it ranked first in the healthcare category in Newsweek’s second annual Green Rankings and fifteenth in the overall list. The rankings assess a company's environmental footprint, policies, and strategies to manage that footprint and reputation among environmental experts. The quality of each company's environmental reporting, policies, programs, and initiatives are measured, including 700 metrics, such as emission of key greenhouse gases, water use, and solid-waste disposal.
Baxter also led the healthcare products subsector of the Maplecroft Climate Innovation Indexes (CII), created in collaboration with Bloomberg, for performance in climate-related innovation and carbon management in the US. Baxter ranked twenty-first among the Maplecroft CII Leaders, composed of the 100 top performers in the total benchmark of 339 companies that engage in public climate-related programs. Also, two Baxter facilities in the United Kingdom achieved certification for improving carbon efficiency. Baxter's Thetford and Liverpool manufacturing facilities earned the "Carbon Trust Standard" from the Carbon Trust, an independent company that works with businesses to cut carbon emissions.
Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS, Princeton, NJ) and the Alvin Ailey American DanceTheater launched the 2011 Reyataz “Fight HIV Your Way” contest; Reyataz (atazanavir sulfate) is BMS’s drug to treat HIV/AIDS. The contest aims to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among the general public and inspire people affected by the disease. Now in its third year, the 2011 Reyataz “Fight HIV Your Way” will accept entries through February 28, 2011 by individuals touched by HIV and AIDS, who are asked to share their stories as a photo and essay through www.fightHIVyourway.com or to mail in their entries. BMS will announce ten first-place winners in July 2011. These winning entries will be the inspiration for a new dance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the work will have its world premiere during Ailey’s New York City Center season in December 2011 and be performed across the country as part of a 2012 national tour.
Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ), the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), and NYU Langone Medical Center are evaluating an approach that targets a novel part of a major surface protein on the malaria parasite. The circumsporozoite protein (CSP) has been recognized as a potential target in the development of vaccines focused on the earlier stages of malaria infection. The researchers are focusing on a new approach that targets a region of CSP important to a critical function of the protein. By blocking this function, it is hoped that invasion of the parasite into the liver, an essential step in causing malaria disease, can be prevented. The researchers hope that they can improve the way sub-unit vaccines are designed by strategically targeting this critical protein function. Although this vaccine approach is being tested primarily for use in children younger than one year of age, it could be used to help prevent disease in all populations vulnerable to Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly species of the parasite, and could potentially be adapted to prevent P. vivax as well, according to Merck. Approximately 40% of the world’s population lives at risk of contracting malaria caused by P. vivax and/or P. falciparum.
Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) held a symposium of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development in early December to discuss the current state, progress, and road ahead in achieving the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of antipoverty and development objectives. The symposium continues the dialogue started at the Millennium Summit in New York in September 2010, where the UN reviewed progress and looked ahead to the five years remaining for realizing the MDGs. The aim of the Novartis Foundation symposium was to come up with specific proposals in support of achieving these goals.
Novo Nordisk (Bagsvaerd, Denmark) organized and sponsored the MENA [Middle East and Northern Africa] Diabetes Leadership Forum, which was held Dec. 12 and 13 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Twenty-two countries from MENA and five international organizations agreed on the "Dubai Declaration on Diabetes and Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases in the Middle East and Northern Africa Region." It is estimated that 26.6 million people in MENA countries are afflicted with diabetes, and that number is expected to double to 517 million people by 2030. The Dubai Declaration is focused on three key issues:
The forum was supported by the Dubai Health Authority, the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi, the World Health Organization, the International Diabetes Federation, the Emirates Diabetes Society, the Gulf Group for the Study of Diabetes, the MENA Health Policy Forum, the Steno Diabetes Center, the Joslin Diabetes Center, the Imperial College London, and the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences.
In other news, Novo Nordisk also voiced its support for the Draft Guiding Principles presented by Professor John Ruggie, Special Representative to the UN Secretary General. The Ruggie's Guiding Principles elaborate and clarify for companies, states, and other stakeholders how they can put into practice their respective roles in the UN Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework, a framework for human rights that outlines the role of states to protect human rights, the responsibility of business to respect these rights, and the obligation for both to ensure appropriate mechanisms for remedy in cases of infringement. As a founding member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, Novo Nordisk has played an role in consultations leading up to the draft and will provide comments during the open hearing period. Feedback on the Draft Guiding Principles remains open until Jan. 31, 2011.
Pfizer (New York) reported on Dec. 12, 2010, that Prevenar 13 (pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugate vaccine [13-valent, adsorbed]) was introduced into the first childhood-immunization program for pneumococcal disease in the developing world under the auspices of the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) when Nicaragua launched its program in December 2010. The AMC is a program that involves private–public partnerships to help make newer vaccines available on a sustainable, affordable, and accelerated basis to the least developed countries. In March 2010, Pfizer entered into a 10-year agreement to provide Prevenar 13 to infants and young children in the world's poorest countries under the terms of the AMC for pneumococcal disease.
Procter & Gamble (P&G, Cincinnati, OH) reports that its Auburn, Maine, site became the first P&G manufacturing plant in North America to achieve zero waste to landfill. The feminine-care facility worked with employees and suppliers to implement a process that uses 100% of its waste. A majority, more than 60%, is recycled or reused, while the remainder is converted to energy. Auburn is the ninth P&G global manufacturing plant to achieve zero waste to landfill. P&Go has a goal to achieve less than 0.5% disposed manufacturing waste by 2020.
The World Environment Center (WEC), a global nonprofit, nonadvocacy organization dedicated to advancing environmentally sustainable business strategies and solutions, announced the election of new officers and a new member to its board of directors and approved an updated strategic plan. Jeff Seabright, vice-president for environment and water resources at The Coca-Cola Company (Atlanta), was elected WEC's new chairman of the board, succeeding Wayne S. Balta, vice-president of corporate environmental affairs and product safety at IBM. Other officer appointments included Peter Schnurrenberger, head of group safety, health and environmental protection at F. Hoffmann-La Roche (Basel) as vice-chair; Mary K. Armstrong, corporate vice-president of environment, health and safety at The Boeing Company (Seattle) as vice-chair; and Paul Hagen, principal at Beveridge & Diamond as secretary-treasurer of the board. All officer appointments are one-year terms.
The WEC board also approved an updated strategic plan that will expand the organization's core focus areas to include business solutions to climate adaptation; the integration of biodiversity protection into business strategy and operations; water conservation and efficiency and how business initiatives can be leveraged to assist communities in obtaining potable water supplies; and enhancing the importance of social responsibility issues in business value creation. These focus areas will complement WEC's active programs in green supply-chain management, learning and competency development, and the promotion of business excellence, according to WEC.