Skip to website navigation Skip to article navigation Skip to content

A page refresh occures when a subject is selected.

Skip article navigation.

2. Risk management

2.4 Environmental and social risks

2.4 Environmental and social risks

Environmental, social and governance risks are managed alongside strategic and company risks in our Enterprise Risk Management process and governance, as described above. These risks are therefore identified and managed according to the policies and procedures of the respective business area and escalated according to the corporate risk management process. Environment, social and governance risks are not identified among the company top risks above, if they did not reach the threshold defined for the top risk. In that case, the risks are managed at the level of the business area and team.

In 2019, UCB identified priority areas and foundational topics for our sustainability approach. Our risks and mitigation strategies related to Scientific Innovation and Access to medicines are outlined above. In addition to these risks, an overview of social, environmental and governance risks is given below:



Social Risks and Processes

In a highly specialized, industry with a competitive talent market, the main social and employee risk is attracting and retaining key leadership profiles. This includes the risk of not being able to provide adequate compliance training to employees, being unable to provide a healthy and safe environment (particularly in the context of COVID-19) where employee wellbeing is inadequately supported or promoted, or where workplace dangers are not managed or sufficiently outlined. These risks could result in a loss of collective capability, impacting operational efficiency and strategy implementation, leading to sub-optimal results and/or safety incidents or sub-optimal health of employees, both physical and mental

The Talent department manages the Workforce Engagement policy and the policy is continuously improved by different processes, including: 

  • Robust annual human resources processes to optimize
    talent development opportunities including employee
    development discussions with adequate and continuous
    employee learning opportunities; continuous employee
    performance reviews, including an articulation of expected values and behaviors,

  • Regular review of the total reward offering to ensure
    balanced, competitive remuneration to drive outcomes
    aligned with the company strategy and to ensure the
    employee and their family are adequately covered during
    key life events,

  • Periodic employee engagement surveys that enable UCB
    and its leadership to respond to employee feedback on
    their employment experience,

  • Working practices in line with data privacy requirements

  • UCB has also rolled out various health, wellbeing and
    safety policies as per our sustainability commitment, including the launch of a new health, safety and wellbeing index as well as remote and flexible work policies.

The outcomes of the social and employee policies include:
• Reduction and mitigation of social and employee risks,
• Workforce that operates in line with defined company values, leading to a healthy company culture where employees can thrive and perform to their best ability,
• Increased employee engagement, leading to greater discretionary efforts and sustainable deployment,
• Continuous development and retention of UCB talent leading to greater organizational capabilities, accelerated innovation and competitive advantage and excellence,
• Increased understanding of the business, compliance and transparency environment, leading to increased ethical and compliant behavior and practices,
• Safe and healthy employees that can function in a positive working environment and
• Focus on delivering UCB’s Patient Value Strategy, with the assurance that they, and their family, are appropriately covered in case of sickness, disability, death and retirement.



Environmental Risks and Processes

UCB has identified certain risks related to the nature of our manufacturing, supply and business operations. Apart from the risk to locally cause soil or water pollution which might result from its industrial activities, UCB recognized that climate change, and more specifically the related current and future regulatory requirements and the accelerating transition to a low carbon economy might globally adversely impact UCB’s compliance status and value chain, if not addressed firmly.

UCB has defined a robust environmental ambition and
developed a strategy and policy to minimize our environmental footprint and impact, on the short as well as on
the long term. UCB’s response to the environmental risks
identified include:

  • Setting ambitious and absolute targets for reducing our local and global environmental impact by 2030.

  • Assessment of environmental impact asset-by-asset, so we can fully understand and address how each asset contributes to our environmental footprint and how we can take steps to reduce this impact accordingly.

  • Dedicate 80% of our efforts to reduce our GHG emissions and 20% to GHG compensation programs for any emissions we cannot reduce in the short-term.

  • Partnership with suppliers and contract manufacturing organizations so that our partners also define ambitious climate targets.

  • Prioritization of renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass for the electricity needed to run our sites and facilities.

  • Regular review of processes for locating opportunities for improved performance in energy saving, water conservation and recovery of waste.

The outcomes of the environmental policies include:
• Framing and integrating environmental decision making criteria into company decision bodies and governance.
• Internal awareness campaigns about energy consumption and carbon emissions.
• Strong position to continue reducing GHG emissions for operations we control directly and to achieve our ambition of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.
• Assessed suppliers on their sustainability performance and engagement with suppliers on CO2 reduction ambitions.
• Recurrent energy savings at our sites and increased percentage of electricity sourced from renewable sources.
• Progressive switch from our fossil gas supply to biogas.
• Decreased water withdrawal, even though our research and development pipeline include several antibodies which involve water-intensive production processes.
• Recovery of waste as a fuel to generate energy and recovery and regeneration of solvents.



Anti-Bribery & Corruption

In line with our sustainability approach, UCB is committed to conducting business in accordance with the highest ethical standards and all forms of bribery and corruption are prohibited. This includes offering, promising, authorizing or providing anything of value (directly or indirectly) to any customer, business partner, vendor or other third party in order to induce or reward the improper performance of an activity connected with our business. This includes interactions with government officials or individuals in the private sector.

Bribery and extortion is illegal everywhere, and UCB and its colleagues will not engage in it. That includes the receipt of bribes that would or might cause a UCB colleague to violate his or her duty of loyalty to UCB.
All UCB colleagues must comply with all applicable antibribery laws worldwide. Violations of these laws can result not only in the loss of business but also may lead to severe criminal and civil penalties for UCB and the individuals involved.

Outcomes of the bribery and corruption policies and the ongoing monitoring and investigations conducted by the Ethics and Compliance department have identified limited cases of issues and these have been corrected with the necessary associated disciplinary actions. No systemic or widespread issues have been identified.



Human Rights

UCB is committed to conducting business in accordance with the highest ethical standards and respecting human rights in all that we do. UCB respects the human rights of workers and ensures that employees are treated with dignity and respect.

UCB and its colleagues are required to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights and act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others, as expressed by the International Bill of Human Rights and the principles set out in the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. UCB expects the same behavior from consultants and others acting on behalf of UCB. Respecting Human Rights is the responsibility of everyone.

UCB colleagues should notify their manager or report via Hotline/Helpline or the UCB Integrity Line™ of any adverse impacts involving the company, colleagues or contractors No systemic or widespread issues have been identified.