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
A member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) since 2001, we were once again listed in the 2012 World Index (the top 10% of the largest 2,500 companies). We also retained our listing on the DJSI STOXX – European index (the top 20% of the 600 largest European companies) for the fifth year running (one of only four pharmaceutical companies to do so out of 14 assessed). We achieved a total score of 83% (2011: 85%) compared with a sector best score of 87% (2011: 87%). We increased individual scores for 9 out of 22 criteria for 2012 (compared to 14 out of 23 criteria in 2011) including supply chain management, bioethics and human capital development. While these scores are encouraging, we lost ground in some areas including access to medicines strategy, innovation management and health outcomes contribution. To better understand these lower scores, we commissioned an in-depth external benchmark survey and the analysis will be used to inform our improvement planning.
DJSI defines corporate sustainability as a business approach to create long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments. The selection of companies for the indexes is based on a best in class approach and the aim of the assessment is to identify the best companies in each industry in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria (a total of 25 criteria). The index family covers a set of global benchmarks comprising the world's leading companies (the DJSI World index) as well as a set of European (the DJSI STOXX / European index) and North American benchmarks
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.
What's next in this section
Compliance & auditing
Ensuring and auditing compliance with our policies and standards is a critical part of good corporate governance and risk management.Read more