Stakeholder engagement is critical to staying in touch with the demands of sustainable development and to building the good relationships we need for long-term business success. We continue to use feedback from our various stakeholder dialogues to make sure that appropriate considerations are being included in our strategy development and risk management planning.
We held a number of responsible business focused stakeholder events in 2012, including face to face meetings with socially responsible investors (SRIs) in the UK and Sweden where discussions centred on specific areas of SRI interest. Common themes across these interactions included access to healthcare, research ethics, sales and marketing practice, and the alignment of our responsible business objectives with AstraZeneca’s business strategy.
Such activities are in addition to our regular engagement with our stakeholders as part of everyday business. Whilst these dialogues are principally business driven, they provide the opportunity for responsible business issues or concerns to be raised and discussed.
We encourage feedback from shareholders both at face-to-face meetings and through formal assessments provided by surveys such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, which reflect areas of shareholder interest.
We also hold events specifically for Socially Responsible Investors, where the agenda reflects areas of interest expressed by the SRI community (see above).
As well as line manager briefings and team meetings, we use a wide range of electronic and printed media to communicate regularly with our employees around the world. Feedback opportunities are integrated into our internal communication programmes and, in addition, our Code of Conduct outlines the procedures for employees to raise integrity concerns, including a confidential telephone helpline and an externally accessible, externally hosted website.
We also use a global employee survey (FOCUS) to track employee opinion across a range of key topic areas. The surveys are conducted anonymously and with the help of an external specialist agency who also analyse the results, which we then communicate to all our employees. The surveys provide valuable insights for business leaders and managers about what we are doing well and where improvements need to be made, and these insights are used to inform strategic planning.
Our day-to-day business activities include regular contact in our local markets with physicians and other healthcare professionals, and those who pay for healthcare. Our communications focus on providing information about our medicines, the diseases they treat and the benefits and risks associated with their use. As buyers of healthcare, national governments are often also our customers as well as being our regulators and access to medicines that offer therapeutic and economic benefits is an important part of our dialogues with these groups.
Governments and Non Governmental Organisations
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most highly regulated of all industries. Almost every aspect of our business is subject to regulation or ethical overview. It is therefore essential that we participate in public policy dialogue with governments and other public bodies to exchange views on issues that impact our business. Our exchanges with governments are aimed at creating a constructive framework for the development and implementation of policies and regulations that affect our industry in a way that delivers good regulation and sound operational practices. We also work with, and through, national and international trade associations to promote industry best practice and engage with key government and international agency stakeholders.
Staying in touch with changing needs is vital to our aim of making the most meaningful difference we can to patient health. We continuously talk to patient groups and organisations and physicians to understand what they need and want. This includes working with, and supporting, patient groups who represent the particular demands of specific health issues, as well as discussing with healthcare professionals the broader range of disease challenges they and their patients face.
Our ongoing aim is to ensure that all of our relationships with patient groups and other healthcare organisations continue to be based on transparency, trust and a shared objective to improve the lives of patients.
Our site-based community liaison teams aim to ensure that we maintain open dialogue with our local communities, keeping them informed of our business activities and plans, and giving the opportunity to raise any concerns.
What's next in this section
We continue to use the insights we gain to develop our approach in line with best practice on a global basis.Read more
Compliance & auditing
Ensuring and auditing compliance with our policies and standards is a critical part of good corporate governance and risk management.Read more