CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR) has to be more than a policy. To be effective, it must be at the centre of the operations of a business and its work with all stakeholders – from patients and competitors through to suppliers, communities and the government. Global Policy: Living the Mission Abbott’s approach to ‘citizenship’ entails work to embrace diversity, improve access to medicines and encourage innovation through science. The term ‘citizenship’ as opposed to ‘corporate responsibility’ was chosen because Abbott believes that it best reflects how the company operates worldwide. Citizenship implies both rights and responsibilities, and that all organisations (not only companies) have obligations to make a meaningful contribution to society as citizens. A key component of Abbott’s definition of ‘citizenship’ is how it uses its knowledge, leadership, products and financial resources to address needs around the world. In 2004, the total investment – in cash and products – of Abbott and the Abbott Fund (its philanthropic organisation) towards patient assistance programmes, humanitarian relief, community programmes and AIDS-related philanthropy was more than $300 million. Culture Abbott’s business is focused on improving and adding value to patients’ lives. For Abbott, this culture of Corporate and Social Responsibility has been part of its fabric since the company’s foundation and one that is taken seriously, both globally and in the UK operations. The key to the success of Abbott’s Global Citizenship programme is that the initiatives themselves are placed right at the core of the company’s operations. In addition, all Abbott employees are encouraged to play a role in developing and promoting the policy. Abbott’s vision – to be the world’s leading healthcare company, the best employer, healthcare supplier, business partner and neighbour – can only be achieved through such a strategy. Global Initiatives: Citizenship in Action Access to affordable medicines is a key global concern, and effective solutions require the commitment and collaboration of industry, government, patients and healthcare professionals. Abbott supports a variety of programmes in this regard, including projects that provide the company’s HIV drugs to 69 developing countries, including all of Africa at a financial loss to the company. Abbott also donates its rapid HIV test to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in these countries. Abbott also supports the Step Forward programme, which provides care and support for orphans and vulnerable children. In 2004 alone, Step Forward helped more than 130,000 children and families in Tanzania, Burkina Faso, India and Romania. In addition, Abbott’s innovation-through-science policy leads the company’s drive to improve health. The Abbott Fund focuses on programmes to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds to experience learning environments. It also supports organisations that advance medical science.
Diversity and Human Development
|Abbott is investing $100 million over five years in its AIDS-related humanitarian programmes that address critical areas of need in the developing world. For example, by the end of 2004, the Abbott Access Programme had shipped its 25thmillion rapid HIV test to Africa and other developing countries, and the Determine HIV Test Donation Programme had provided nearly two million free rapid HIV tests to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Abbott believes that its diverse workforce spurs creativity and helps the company to understand the different cultures in which it works. The company employs several initiatives to encourage the development of its diverse workforce. UK Citizenship Programme in Practice
Employees in the UK are actively encouraged to help improve the social fabric of their local community, underscoring the company’s commitment to the regions in which it operates. For example, Abbott has been working with stakeholders in HIV/AIDS to establish the British HIV Association’s UK scholarship programme. In partnership with the St Stephen’s AIDS Trust, Abbott helps practising clinicians from resource-poor countries by giving them access to up-to-date treatment and research. Six doctors attended the 2004 programme from Vietnam, Botswana and Russia. On returning to their native countries, they were equipped to disseminate the latest knowledge on HIV/AIDS into their medical communities. In 2005, participants in this programme include doctors from Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Abbott also provides ongoing support to those of its own employees who are engaged in welfare work. For example, Anne Smith, a medical representative from Abbott, was recently sponsored by the company to support the charity work of EYESEE. A qualified nurse, Anne helped a team of doctors to screen 400 underprivileged patients and assisted them in performing 150 operations in a two-week visit to Myanmar (formerly Burma).
“I’m delighted to have had this opportunity to come and learn from colleagues in the UK who are at the cutting edge of HIV treatment. The training and education that I have gained in the last three weeks has been invaluable. I’ll be taking this learning back to Botswana to help improve the care of our HIV patients” Dr Masunge, a BHIVA 2004 scholar from Botswana.
Local Charitable Initiatives in the UK Abbott’s production line quality programmes are also linked into the UK’s citizenship initiatives. At Abbott’s Queenborough manufacturing plant, for every quarter in which a zero Lost Time Accident score is achieved among its workforce, money is donated to a local charity nominated by employees, such as the Kent Air Ambulance. In addition, charity events organised by employees also provide a source of funds to UK organisations. Benefits Abbott’s citizenship initiatives are successful because they actively involve all of the business’s key stakeholders. Abbott’s heritage recognises the importance of playing an influential role as a corporate citizen, and the company has a genuine desire to make a contribution to society at every level. The company’s citizenship initiatives generate respect from partners, customers and employees alike, ensuring that CSR will remain a pillar of Abbott’s business strategy. Its work in this regard goes a long way towards realising the company’s ambition of being recognised as the world’s best healthcare company for its products, and as a global citizen.
“We realise that we cannot solve all of our world’s problems. For some stakeholders, what we do will never suffice; and for others, it will be too much. We strive to balance multiple interests and obligations, and to be open to opportunities where our products, expertise and influence can help solve social problems and improve people’s lives.” Miles D. White, Chairman and CEO, Abbott.
Now you know a little more about Abbott, and if you’re interested in a career with the company, please call HR on 01628 773355 01628 773355 .