2.1 Our approach to risk management

According to the 2018 World Economic Forum Global Risks report1, we are in a transformational period for our world. While there are encouraging signs that the worst financial crisis since World War II might be behind us, we are seeing an acceleration of social interconnectedness and technological advancement that pushes global capabilities and adaptability to a new limit.

Within enterprise risk management at UCB, we maintain our commitment to our vision and our patient value strategy, and seek to find new ways to manage and leverage our increasingly volatile, complex and ambiguous environment.

My first meeting with ‘Mr. Parkinson’ was 13 November 1987 at 8:37 am. I was literally removing my wristwatch to shower when my new life began. After a physical examination, the diagnosis was obvious: I had Parkinson’s disease. I was oddly relieved. I knew that Mr. Parkinson and I could be friends.

Christer, living with Parkinson’s disease

2.1.1 Strengthening our connection to strategy and expanding our risk lens:

Building on the solid foundation of UCB’s risk framework and governance platform, risk management has seen exciting opportunities to increase our impact in 2018. Enterprise Risk Management has been formally positioned into the Corporate Strategy and Development group, optimizing the opportunities to contribute to the success of UCB’s business objectives and longer-term strategy.

With this integration, UCB can enhance the interfaces between strategy, enterprise risk management and objective setting for a more agile and value-adding approach, as well as heighten our understanding of uncertainty both from our internal context and emerging risks arising from the external environment.

2.1.2 Continuing our commitment to robust risk management

Process and framework

Utilizing the key representatives from all compliance, operational and strategic business areas, risks are identified and assessed from within each business area and its leadership team. In addition, a “top-down/outside-in” assessment is conducted to complete a holistic risk profile.

Top risks are connected to the strategic priorities to appreciate impact. An understanding of both, how the risk is trending and how well UCB is prepared to respond, is communicated to and discussed with both, our Executive Committee and our Board of Directors. As the risks we face are evolving, our approach to management of these risks is also dynamic, allowing for new or changed risks to be assessed and communicated at any time of the year.

In the specific context of environmental and social risks, the evaluation of the risks which might impact UCB’s business is anchored in our Enterprise Risk Management model. UCB applies the precautionary approach in innovation and development of new products as a tool for social and environmental risk management, and considers the benefits and potential health and environmental risks of innovation and new technologies in a scientific and transparent manner. 

Governance and oversight

UCB continues to demonstrate its commitment to managing uncertainty by creating accountability at the top and driving action by the business. Every top risk is owned by a member of the Executive Committee. That member is accountable for understanding the nature of the risk and enable our response to it.

1 The Global Risks Report 2018, 13th edition, World Economic Forum (2018)