1.2 Stakeholder dialogue

Our ambition is to be a trusted and preferred biopharmaceutical leader in a world of fast-changing health and medicine practices.

A significant part of building trust is being transparent – being open and clearly disclosing what UCB does, how UCB works, where UCB is successful, and where challenges to UCB and the industry are present. This applies across all aspects of our global business. UCB has attempted to provide disclosure while referring to the Global Reporting Initiative Standards. In addition, the five CSR areas detailed in the 2017 Belgian legislation (environmental; social and employee; human rights; anti-corruption and bribery; and diversity and inclusion) are also disclosed in this 2018 Integrated Annual Report.

If you can accept the help from your partner, parents, children, friends, and doctors, you will grow with the tasks you have to solve.

Esther, living with Crohn’s disease

1.2.1 Stakeholder engagement and materiality

At UCB, we believe the company will be successful in the long-term by creating value for both our shareholders and for society as a whole. The voice of the stakeholders is essential in this journey and their recommendations to focus on important material aspects have been embedded in the corporate vision. The question "how will this create value for persons living with severe chronic diseases?" remains UCB’s guiding holistic principle to determine what will be the impact of the company’s decisions for patients, our business, UCB’s people, our environment and our society. The Sustainable Development Goal #3 Good Health and Well-Being aligns with UCB’s mission, which is to strive for a better health and future for persons living with severe chronic diseases through leading innovation in medicine.

UCB maintains an open dialogue with stakeholders at global, regional and country levels and engages stakeholders without restrictions to discuss those Material Aspects. Every three years, UCB conducts an assessment of materiality aspects – current and potential. In 2018, UCB invited over 350 external and 700 internal stakeholders1 to evaluate 30 material economic, social and environmental aspects selected by UCB and determine their respective relevance. Stakeholders could also describe additional material aspects, deemed important to them, without boundaries.

The response rate to the online survey was 23%. External and internal stakeholders considered the following nine material aspects as very relevant:

1 The internal stakeholders were identified in all UCB operations world-wide. The external stakeholders consisted of different representatives of the society as detailed in the infographic.

2 For UCB, Access to Health and Medicine covers the pipeline of innovative new compounds as well as access to quality healthcare for underprivileged persons living with severe chronic in selected countries. Together with partners, initiatives are taken to improve the limited or lack of health care capacity, diagnosis, treatment, poverty, disease education, community awareness and stigma impact negatively people's health and future.

Whereas the stakeholders did not identify the environment as very relevant, UCB decided to have the environment as a Material Topic, provided UCB’s commitment to reduce the company’s environmental footprint and meet the ambitious climate targets. Also, UCB elected to report on selected Material Aspects not considered very relevant to stakeholder and deemed important to UCB.

Based on the feedback of the stakeholders and on UCB’s decision on the environment, the company confirms these five Material Topics:

1.2.2 Corporate Societal Responsibility Board

The Corporate Societal Responsibility (CSR) Board oversees the activities of the CSR department in the different access to health and medicine initiatives in Asia and Africa as well as the review of the Materiality Topics and the identification of the relevant Material Aspects. The CSR Board guides and monitors UCB’s social and environmental responsibilities, actions and impact.

In 2018, the CSR Board composition was reviewed and three Executive Committee (Emmanuel Caeymaex, Jean-Luc Fleurial, Charl van Zyl) members and two external persons now bring additional internal and external expertise to decisions that may impact society and environment.

1.2.3 Relations with public authorities

Although UCB is not reporting significant issues or formal policy positions in 2018, UCB is actively connected with public policy makers, regulators and other stakeholders. The countries in which UCB does business have laws and regulations regarding corporations’ involvement in the political process. Some of these laws set strict limits on contributions by corporations to political parties and candidates, whereas some laws prohibit them altogether.

UCB made no significant political contributions in any of the countries in which it operates. Nevertheless, UCB Inc., our U.S. affiliate, made corporate contributions to state political candidates in the U.S. in amounts limited by law and in accordance with applicable reporting and disclosure requirements. UCB Inc. has a Federal Political Action Committee that made contributions to federal and state political candidates in the U.S. also in amounts limited by law and in accordance with applicable reporting and disclosure requirements. No complaints on data privacy or breach thereof were received.

In Belgium, the Pharmaceutical Sector Observatory was launched to analyze, evaluate and formulate recommendations on the competitive position of the Belgian pharmaceutical sector. UCB is represented by its Head of Public Affairs.

In 2018, UCB was not involved in any action regarding laws and regulations relative to anti-competitive behavior, anti-trust or monopoly.

1.2.4 Relations with industry associations

UCB is a member of several global and local trade associations:

UCB is also a member of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA, U.S.) Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO, U.S.), R&D-based Pharmaceutical Association Committee (RDPAC, China) as well as member of various country’s chambers of commerce, associations and initiatives for sustainable development.

UCB is an active member of the EFPIA working group focused on the implementation of the Falsified Medicine Directive (FMD) designed to protect patients by minimizing the chances of counterfeit medicines entering into the established medicines supply chain and a core contributor of the EFPIA working group on the implementation of the European Medical Device Regulation.

Being a Belgian company, UCB is on the board of several Belgian trade associations and organizations, such as:

Considering the strategic importance, various taskforces, projects and committees dealing with current sector issues, e.g., Health Safety and Environment, Intellectual Property, Public Policy, Global Health and Compliance, among others, have been formed that include UCB people. As an example, Jean-Christophe Tellier, CEO, is Vice President of the Board of EFPIA, Treasurer, and Chair of the Innovation EFPIA Board Sponsored Committees. He is also Chair of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Governing Board, a public-private partnership between EFPIA and the European Union, represented by the European Commission. He is also a member of the IFPMA CEO Steering Committee, as well as a member of the Board of PhRMA, Washington (U.S.), and the Walloon Excellence in Life Sciences and Biotechnology (WELBIO), Wavre (Belgium) to address solutions in the area of innovation, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. More information can be found here.

UCB is also part of the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), and EFPIA Security Forum, which collaborate with other stakeholders, to allow for benchmarking, jointly identify and discuss solutions, and ensure product integrity and transparency across the supply chain.

UCB is also one of 19 member companies of TransCelerate Biopharma Inc. TransCelerate Biopharma Inc. is a not for profit organization with a mission to collaborate across the biopharmaceutical research and development community to identify, prioritize, design and facilitate the implementation of solutions to drive efficient, effective and high-quality delivery of new medicines. Through TransCelerate Biopharma Inc., UCB and the other member companies collaborate  with patient engagement organizations, health authorities, investigator sites, research community and other industry groups and initiatives globally.

UCB is also a member of Patient Focused Medicines Development (PFMD), an initiative which gathers patient organizations, pharma companies and other healthcare stakeholders. PFMD’s goal is to improve global health by co-designing, with patients, the future of healthcare for patients. Its mission is to bring together initiatives and best practices that integrate the voice of the patient throughout the lifecycle of medicines development, thereby speeding up the creation and implementation of an effective, globally standardized framework as well as the necessary tools and support to allow the adoption of the framework by various stakeholders.

UCB is a member of the Access Accelerated initiative “a global partnership working towards the UN SDG target to reduce premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 2030”, which is managed out of the IFPMA offices.

No funding beyond the routine annual memberships is provided, with the exception of the Access Accelerate initiative for which we make a separate financial contribution over and above our annual IFPMA membership dues.