External benchmarking

External benchmarking is another important means of evaluating our performance and understanding better the demands of sustainable development. We continue to use the insights we gain from external surveys to develop our approach in line with best practice on a global basis. Our responsible business council has prioritised participation in two external indices.

Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes

The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) is considered the leading independent analysis of the sustainability performance of the world’s 2,500 largest companies, and is increasingly used in decision-making by investors and analysts worldwide.

A member of DJSI since 2001, we were once again listed in the 2013 World Index (the top 10% of the largest 2,500 companies). We also retained our listing in the DJSI European index (the top 20% of the 600 largest European companies) for the sixth year running. We achieved a total score of 85% (2012: 83%) compared with a sector best score of 86% (2012: 87%).

We increased our score in both the economic (+2 % points) and social (+4 % points) but lost ground in the environmental dimension.

We increased individual scores for 8 out of 22 criteria for 2013 (compared to 9 out of 22 criteria in 2012) - Customer Relationship Management, Innovation Management, Labour Practice Indicators & Human Rights, Social Reporting, Occupational Health & Safety, Strategy to Improve Access to Drugs or Products, Health outcomes contribution and Addressing Cost Burden. Supply Chain Management and Human Capital Development attained sector best scores, and Bioethics (policy) once again achieved 100%. We saw a reduction in scores in Environmental Reporting, Environmental Policy / Management System, Operational eco-efficiency, Climate strategy, Corporate Governance, Talent attraction & retention, and Stakeholder engagement.

The detailed scores from the Index help us to understand what we are doing well and where we need to improve. Each year, we commission a benchmarking report to understand better our low-score areas and these insights are used to inform our responsible business planning.

The Access to Medicine Index

The Access to Medicines Index rates biopharmaceutical industry activity in developing countries across a range of activities including patient access programmes, R&D investment in diseases prevalent in developing countries, intellectual property, pricing, compliance and clinical trial transparency. The latest Index was published in November 2012 and AstraZeneca was ranked 16 out of 20 companies assessed (7 out of 20 in the last Index in 2010). We believe that this disappointing ranking was in part due to the AtMI’s continued focus on disease areas that are traditionally associated with developing countries, particularly infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. These are areas that AstraZeneca has not typically invested in. Our core therapeutic focus is in chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, which are responsible for an increasingly larger share of the disease burden in developing countries but which are only partially considered by the Index. Nevertheless, we take our overall drop in performance seriously and are reviewing a number of areas highlighted by the Index.

Read more about what we are doing to help meet the chronic disease challenge in developing countries

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Compliance & auditing

Ensuring and auditing compliance with our policies and standards is a critical part of good corporate governance and risk management.

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We were once again listed in the 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability World and European Indexes