Abbott - Global Citizenship
SummaryIn an increasingly complex world, with significant changes taking place on a social, commercial and economic basis almost weekly, corporate social responsibility is a priority for Abbott as it engages its stakeholders, advances its core objectives and exercises its influence – making productive contribution to the societies and communities it operates in.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In an increasingly complex world, with significant changes taking place on a social,
commercial and economic basis almost weekly, corporate social responsibility is a
priority for Abbott as it engages its stakeholders, advances its core objectives and
exercises its influence – making productive contribution to the societies and communities it operates in.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has to be more thana 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.
“I’m delighted to have had this opportunity to come andlearn from colleagues in the UK who are at the cuttingedge 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.
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
mission of turning science into caring can only be
achieved through such a strategy – can only be
achieved through such a strategy.
Global Initiatives: Citizenship in Action
Access to affordable medicines is a key global concern, andeffective 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
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 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.
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
25th million 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.
“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.
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’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.
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.
This feature has previously been posted in the Pharmaceutical Field Magazine
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