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How we work

Sustainability is our business approach

Sustainability is our business approach

We are guided by the firm conviction that we can deepen our impact by addressing challenges at the intersection of our Patient Value Strategy and wider societal interests. In 2019, sustainability was defined as a strategic imperative for UCB. We completed an extensive materiality assessment to identify how best to maximize our societal contributions, while ensuring we continue to successfully develop our business. You can learn more about the methodology and process applied to this assessment in the 2019 Integrated Annual Report .

In line with the findings from this exercise, we leverage our expertise to integrate sustainability into our business approach and improve societal health, with a focus on four priority areas:

  • Scientific innovation

  • Access to medicines

  • Employees’ health, safety and wellbeing

  • The health of the planet

We also build on two foundational topics:

  • Embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion across our business.

  • Adhering to the ethical principles of transparency, respect, and integrity.

Scientific innovation

We design, develop and deliver differentiated solutions that help specific patients achieve their life goals and contribute to addressing societal health challenges.

Access to medicines

In the countries where we operate, we are focused on ensuring that all patients who need our medicines have access to them in a way which is viable for patients, society and UCB.

In Low- and Medium-Income countries, we develop a social business approach to provide access to quality care and medicines for people with epilepsy.

Employee health, safety and wellbeing

We aim to foster a working environment and climate where people are happy, healthy, safe and able to thrive. We do this by creating the right conditions for colleagues to benefit from cutting-edge, impactful programs. We also aim to pay particular attention to colleagues affected by severe diseases, whether as patients or as caregivers.

Health of the planet

We contribute to the transition towards a low carbon and green economy to protect the planet.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We aim to inspire a culture of inclusion by providing equitable opportunities to all employees, embracing diverse talents and leveraging diversity of thought and experience.

Ethical business practices

We create an environment that drives ethical behavior, thereby protecting the company’s reputation and ensuring sustained business performance.

In 2020, we made progress on our journey to drive societal impact

We developed new extra-financial key performance indicators (KPIs) and started reporting on our performance in relation to access to medicines and employee health, safety and wellbeing while continuing to report progress on our health of the planet targets. We will continue to refine our approach to performance measurement in order to maximize our positive contributions to society alongside our business success. You can learn more about our reporting standards and adherence to the Global Reporting Index (GRI) here .

UCB works with the Science Based Targets initiative to ensure that we meet our climate change goals of rendering our operations carbon-neutral by 2030. You can read more about these efforts in the Caring for the Planet chapter of this report. This project is a joint initiative by the United Nations, the Carbon Disclosure Project, the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature. It supports organizations with setting climate targets in line with the COP21 climate summit in Paris.

2020 also saw us establish a sustainability governance framework comprised of two bodies. The Sustainability Governance Committee is an internal initiative to monitor progress on our journey, while the External Sustainability Advisory Board gathers six external experts to provide an outside perspective on our approach. You can learn more in the Governance chapter of this report.

Our commitment to driving business, social and environmental impact spans our entire company and is interwoven into our day-to-day business activities. With this in mind, we are engaging colleagues at every level in dialogue and discussions about how to ensure that our business imperatives and societal priorities converge.

We are deeply committed to playing our part in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in collaboration with all relevant partners. The 17 SDGs are core to achieving a sustainable future for all, as set out in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We believe we can have the most impact by focusing on two of the SDGs:

SDG#3 Good Health and Wellbeing, which is about ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all.

SDG#17 Partnerships for the Goals, which encourages all stakeholders to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

We also impact other SDGs through our business and activities. To better understand our overall contribution to the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development, see our GRI tables mapped against the SDGs.

As of 2020, UCB is also a participant in the United Nations (UN) Global Compact , a voluntary initiative of over 12 400 companies whose CEOs have committed to implementing universal sustainability principles and to take steps to meet the SDGs. The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact cover human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. UCB has committed[1] to making the UN Global Compact and its principles part of the strategy, culture and day-to-day operations of our company, and to engaging in collaborative projects which advance the UN’s broader development goals of the United Nations, particularly the SDGs.

  • 1 UCB Letter of Commitment to Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact onhuman rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, dated December 18, 2020: https://ungc-production.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/commitment_letters/142894/original/Guterres_Antonio_-_United_Nations_-_December_18_2020.pdf?1609837715