To realise our vision - pioneering trusted medical solutions to improve the lives we touch - and generate value we must build trust and develop positive stakeholder relationships. We endeavour to do this by running our business in a responsible way. In particular we engage with our stakeholders and focus on issues that are important to them and relate to our value creation process.
Our entire business is oriented to delivering products and services to help people manage challenging chronic conditions. We play an important role in helping them enjoy their lives, rather than being ruled by those conditions. At a broader level, particularly where our products are primarily used in a healthcare setting, their innovative design can enable healing outcomes and a reduction in healthcare associated infections, the most frequent adverse event in healthcare worldwide. Our customers, the people who use our products and services, and the healthcare professionals who care for them, rely on us and if we do not deliver for them we have no business.
For more detail on our approach to corporate responsibility, our performance in 2019, and illustrative case studies, please see our 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report.
Our overall approach to CR is aimed at supporting the fulfilment of our vision (incorporating our purpose) and can be summarised as:
In this way, we intend to become a more sustainable business and to contribute to the global sustainability agenda, in particular through the support this approach brings to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”).
Please download our 2019 CR Report
Materiality is the key principle that determines which issues are sufficiently important that it is essential to address them, and to report on our performance in respect of those issues. The process to assess the materiality of issues is therefore critical to developing an effective CR strategy and achieving a high degree of transparency in communicating to stakeholders. Our approach to determining materiality has involved three steps.
We developed a ‘universe’ of potential issues by reviewing a number of external resources, including international reporting guidance organisations such as the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”), the legal and regulatory reporting requirements for UK-listed companies (covering issues such as gender diversity and greenhouse gas emissions), lists of issues used by rating organisations, issue-specific programmes such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (“CDP”), international initiatives such as the United Nations (“UN”) Global Compact, and the reports of other businesses in our sector.
Further detail is provided in our 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report
In 2017, we commissioned research with over 40 external stakeholders. In 2019, we repeated the process, consulting via an online survey with nearly 70 individual external stakeholders and employees across UK, USA, Spain, Germany, Canada, and Hong Kong. Our external sample (41) comprised groups which are particularly invested in our business.
The relevant issues form a list of 27 topics. We cover the higher materiality issues (and others) in the 2019 CR Report [LINK] and focus particularly on the issues relating directly to the people who use our products.
The issues are grouped under our six element CR framework (illustrated below), through which we structure the management of our CR agenda and this forms the basis of the structure of the 2019 CR Report.
Whilst all of the issues listed are considered material, the chart indicates those ranked more highly in bold, and those which were also identified as growing significantly in importance in the next five years, in blue.
Context for our strategy
Our CR strategy acknowledges the key elements of the sustainable development agenda and has been developed to recognise how these factors interact with our business. Fundamentally, our strategy flows directly from our vision and values.
Whilst our core business is aimed squarely at delivering our vision, we must also ensure that we minimise the negative impact on the environment and on other, non-patient, communities. In relation to the environment, our focus is on reducing the impacts of our products and our operations. As the majority of our products cannot be recycled after use, we must try to ensure that the materials and energy consumed in their life cycle are as little as possible. Equally, whilst we support employment in our supply chain through our business relationships, we must ensure that these workers are kept safe and not exploited.
Our CR framework and objectives
Using our six element CR Framework we identify policies, programmes and projects that create value for our various stakeholders whilst balancing their sometimes competing requirements. Through this approach we aim to earn stakeholder trust and respect, and so contribute to the success of our business.
Overlaying this framework are four broad objectives:
We have set a series of performance targets under the six headings of our CR Framework and report our progress against these in our CR Reports. Our targets are summarised below.