Ethical business culture

What is Ethical business culture at AstraZeneca?

Company Values and norms, practices, standards and principles that guide the actions and behaviour of employees, including the Code of Ethics, and acting in an ethical manner that goes beyond compliance with policies and regulation. This applies across our company’s operations and our entire value chain. This issue includes bioethics (including animal welfare), anti-bribery and anticorruption, data transparency, ethical investing, intellectual property, responsible lobbying, responsible sales and marketing and responsible use of technology.

Our approach

We strive to model an ethical business culture by going above and beyond legal requirements. This means fostering an environment where our employees can speak up if they have questions or encounter wrongdoing. We ask our leaders to demonstrate desired behaviours, and we provide employees with the tools and training to act ethically. To reinforce ethical behaviours and encourage all employees to embrace our ethical culture, we provide awards and publicly recognise employees who inspire us.

Our Code of Ethics serves as the basis for guiding our ethical culture. It was relaunched in 2017 to strengthen employee understanding and adherence by outlining our commitments in simple terms and focusing on why these commitments matter. The updated Code comprises our Company Values, expected behaviours and Global Policies. Additional requirements at the global, local and business-unit level complement our Code, providing clear guidance for employees in carrying out their daily work.

Recognising that our workforce is composed of individuals empowered to make their own decisions, we know that setting rules is not enough – which is why we emphasise a culture based on our Values, key commitments and principles. We foster this culture by encouraging all employees to adopt a sustainability mindset that embraces our core values including: ‘doing the right thing’ for all our partners and 'putting patients first.'

Our key targets and progress

See the Sustainability Data Summary for all metrics and methodology

Our stories

Living out our Value of “Putting patients first”

We held our first Patient Week this year. Through this global enterprise-wide approach, we engaged and reflected on how we can achieve our vision of delivering the healthcare experiences and outcomes that people care about most so they can enjoy fulfilling lives.

Patient Week provided employees and teams across the company with the experience to walk in patients’ and caregivers’ shoes, listen to their experiences and act on their insights to activate patient-centric solutions and deliver meaningful advances along the entire patient experience. In support of our patient-centric business models, we launched a new Global Standard on Patient Interactions. Training on this new Standard has been assigned to all employees. We also deployed materials through a new online resource hub, including a toolkit guide.

Speak Up campaign

Speak Up is about fostering a culture where all employees feel empowered to raise ideas and respectfully challenge behaviours not aligned with our Values. It means employees must feel safe and feel that their voices are heard. It requires managers to promote diversity of thought and to handle challenges with respect.

In 2019, we emphasised the value of speaking up through a week-long Speak Up campaign. It gave employees a platform to share their thoughts and stories around Speak Up. It also featured a series of demonstration scenarios tackling situations from everyday to tough. The campaign brought attention to refreshed guidance resources including materials for managers to use with their teams and our channels to raise concerns.

Click on the video to see an example of how we engaged.

Read more about Ethical Business Culture in our Sustainability Report.