At AbbVie, we are focused on delivering life changing solutions for some of the toughest health challenges. But our commitment to health does not stop there. Beyond treating diseases, we continuously strive to have a positive impact on society and the environment, as well as invest in strong corporate governance to enhance long-term shareholder value. Our 2022 ESG Action Report underlines our dedication to creating a sustainable impact on patients, communities, and AbbVie employees all over the world. This overview covers some key highlights.
How we focus our ESG efforts
AbbVie’s ESG framework is shaped by regular dialogue with our stakeholders - including patients, patient organizations, employees, investors, regulators and government, payers and providers, suppliers and community partners.
We also adhere to a set of ESG pillars which are aimed at discovering and delivering innovative medicines that solve serious health issues, unlocking the full potential of diverse and talented teams, and innovating with integrity to advance long-term patient health and safeguard business resiliency.
In addition, by performing a periodic materiality assessment, we are able to identify and map ESG-oriented material drivers and other critical factors in terms of impact to AbbVie and importance to our partners. This ensures that our ESG efforts align with evolving needs, interests, and expectations.
The results of our latest materiality assessment, conducted in 2020, are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. AbbVie’s 2020 materiality assessment identified six ESG-oriented material drivers – Product Innovation, Product Quality & Safety, Human Capital Management, Patient Health & Engagement, Patient Access & Affordability, and Business Ethics. These were mapped with other critical factors based on impact to AbbVie and importance to stakeholders.
Our planet’s changing climate looks set to impact businesses worldwide, not least due to supply chain disruption. For this reason, we believe that implementing more sustainable ways of working is vital to maintain a resilient, lasting company. To this end, we have developed a comprehensive strategy aimed at reducing our environmental footprint and growing our business sustainably through innovation. This includes a set of ambitious, long-term environmental targets, as shown in Figure 2, against which our board of directors and our Public Policy & Sustainability Committee can monitor AbbVie’s progress.
Figure 2. AbbVie’s environmental targets and 2022 achievements.
Already, we have delivered on our commitment to reduce hazardous and non-hazardous waste ahead of our 2025 target. We are also making significant inroads into several other key performance indicators, with notable achievements in 2022 including:
- A 15.6% decrease in Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions compared to 2021
- A 9.6% decrease in energy consumption compared to 2021
- A 17% reduction in absolute water withdrawal compared to 2015
Additionally, we have embraced green chemistry, a concept which emphasizes the safe use of environmentally friendly substances, the implementation of design processes that maximize the utility of all materials, and the importance of minimizing waste production. To ensure we continue to hit our targets in this area, we use our green chemistry metrics tool for performance monitoring.
The main functionalities of the green chemistry metrics tools are shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3. The main functionalities of AbbVie’s green chemistry metrics tool
As a global healthcare company, we recognize the responsibility that we have in serving our stakeholders. These include not only patients, who we support through research, engagement, and the provision of broader access to our medicines and therapies, but also AbbVie employees, who benefit from an inclusive workplace that values employee well-being and prioritizes health and safety.
Our main focus areas include product innovation through investments in key areas and technologies such as precision medicine, data convergence, and patient-focused drug development; innovating for patients through adjusted research & development spend; and a commitment to tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
We also uphold the highest quality standards, as exemplified by our participation in regular inspections and audits, as well as take a holistic approach to human capital management. The latter is centered on professional and leadership development, employee well-being, and equity, equality, diversity and inclusion (EEDI). Notably, our EEDI strategy (shown in Figure 4) features specific priority areas to ensure we foster an inclusive community that works for our people, patients, and business.
Figure 4. AbbVie’s equity, equality, diversity and inclusion (EEDI) strategy.
Our 2022 social highlights include the following:
- Over 198,000 U.S. patients received medicine at no cost through our patient assistance programs
- $7.1B adjusted research & development investment
- $21.7M raised for 12,600 charities through AbbVie’s Employee Giving Campaign
- More than 13,000 employees participated during AbbVie’s global week of volunteering
- $1M donated to the International Medical Corps and Project Hope for medical care and supplies for Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees
- 52% of management positions held by women
- Investment in four early stage companies through MBC BioLabs to support promising new therapies
AbbVie’s success is grounded in strong governance practices. In addition to abiding by applicable laws, regulations, and normative guidance, we have a comprehensive corporate governance framework in place, which includes internal controls and robust systems for risk management.
We have also embedded human rights and ethical conduct considerations, as well as supply chain and stakeholder engagement, into our decision-making across all levels of the organization. To provide an example of how such core activities are effectively structured, the four central components of our supplier management program are shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5. The four central components of AbbVie’s supplier management program.
Our governance strategy can be divided into multiple, equally weighted elements, which include the following:
- Corporate governance – encompassing board diversity, the selection of independent directors, and outreach to shareholders
- Business ethics – our comprehensive Global Compliance Program includes training based on function, location and job responsibilities, as well as covers human rights, public policy, and the ethical treatment of animals
- Risk management – by applying an enterprise-wide approach to risk management, we are better able to prepare for crisis events such as natural disasters, environmental incidents, and product issues
- Data privacy – our global privacy program covers strategy and governance principles, privacy by design, and data lifecycle management, in addition to data subject rights, data breach notification, and training and awareness; business-aligned cybersecurity is also included
- Supply chain sustainability – assurance of supply comes from rigorous supplier risk management, implementation of a robust supplier sustainability program, and supporting supplier diversity
- Transparency, accountability, and reporting – we have adopted processes to help maintain the data integrity of our ESG disclosures, as well as partnered with a third-party, cloud-based ESG reporting software provider to enhance our ESG data collection and governance
In combination, these attributes of our governance strategy have contributed to the following 2022 achievements:
- More than $897M spent working with approximately 2,425 small and diverse businesses in the U.S. and Puerto Rico
- 99% of assigned employees certified to the AbbVie Code of Business Conduct
- AbbVie is recognized as a first-tier company, providing the highest level of political transparency and accountability, in the CPA-Zicklin Index for 2022
AbbVie’s ESG strategy remains central to our growth and development as we continue to advance groundbreaking science to address medical challenges. By building on our current achievements, we aim to be the industry leader in designing inclusive clinical research programs and be recognized as unparalleled in our capacity for attracting and developing diverse talent as a source of innovation. With our ESG efforts having already secured our place on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indices, and our S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment ranking AbbVie in the top 1% of businesses worldwide, it might be tempting to think that we have already reached the pinnacle of ESG success. But by working collaboratively to realize further accomplishments, these accolades are simply the stepping-stones to deliver even better solutions to patients.