Chiesi Accelerates Path Toward Full Sustainability Despite Covid-19 Pandemic
Chiesi, the international research-focused pharmaceutical and healthcare Group (Chiesi Group), further accelerated its path toward becoming a fully sustainable company, despite an extremely challenging 2020, which was overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the thread running through Chiesi’s Annual & Sustainability Report 2020.
The Group in 2020 turned in a robust financial performance, with revenues amounting to €2,229 million, up by 11.8% compared to 2019. It provides Chiesi with impetus to continue its transformational journey to become the world’s first fully sustainable pharmaceutical company, in which value generation for the planet and for society enables the creation of innovation, progress and prosperity.
Transparent impact measurement methodology that integrates ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) topics and impact frameworks
As in previous years, Chiesi is reporting how it operates in accordance with a comprehensive combination of multiple tools and frameworks. This includes the methodology pioneered by renowned economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Development, which assesses Chiesi’s business impact through an analysis of products, processes, global value chain and corporate citizenship, in full alignment with the United Nations 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Chiesi’s Annual & Sustainability Report further meets the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative, a non-profit organisation set up to support companies when reporting on sustainable performance, the B Impact Assessment™ created by B Lab, the non-profit organisation behind the B Corp certification, and the SDG Action Manager from UN Global Compact and B Lab.
Patients’ medical treatment top priority during pandemic
In a year unlike any other in the Group’s history, Chiesi worked relentlessly to protect patients and ensure their unhindered access to life-saving medical treatments despite the disruptions to supplies and public healthcare services caused by the pandemic. The company established a dedicated team to coordinate the collection and deployment of financial and in-kind donations to support communities during the Covid-19 emergency. In addition, Chiesi maintained the production of medical products, especially those which were essential or needed to treat rare diseases. Overall, the company directly donated or raised more than €10.6 million, of which over €3.5 million contributed to charitable projects in the Parma area and Italy nationwide.
“The pandemic has changed the world with full force in what were already transformative times. Within this context of adversity and the need to manage the unknown, I am grateful for the organisation that we have demonstrated to be. The mobilisation of Chiesi’s people has gone beyond the scope of our business and attested the values we share together. Our shared value approach, as a certified B Corp and a Benefit Corporation, demonstrates that the values we stand for represent the solid foundation our company needs for the challenges of our time,” said Ugo Di Francesco, CEO of Chiesi Group.
From product focus to full patient-centricity
In 2020 Chiesi dedicated more than 20% of its revenues to R&D, which placed Chiesi as the top Italian pharmaceutical company for number of patents filed. A commitment was also put in place to accelerate the transformation of its business and corporate culture towards adopting a holistic and patient-centric perspective at every stage of the product development cycle. The streamlining of the Group’s brand architecture – with the three areas Air, Rare and Care inspired by the non-medical language patients use, and the re-launch of the Chiesi visual identity in early 2021 are direct outcomes of the Group’s ongoing evolution of embedding empathy with the patient experience into all business processes.
Several new strategic collaborations with external partners that Chiesi entered into in 2020 will help to further bolster this patient-oriented approach. This includes the partnerships with Moderna, a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics, to develop new therapies against pulmonary arterial hypertension. Another example of the Chiesi patient-centric innovation approach is its investment in Cyclica. The Canadian neo biotech company is working on decentralising the discovery of drugs through an innovative supervised learning AI technology for predicting molecular properties in the R&D phase to reduce attrition rates and the time from bench to patient.
Continued focus on Diversity & Equality in the workplace
Despite the challenges for workplace organisation as a result of the pandemic, Chiesi further increased the number of employees to 6,389 in 2020, a growth of around 9% on the previous year. Around 53% of the Group’s workforce, and more than a quarter of executives and senior managers, are women. The ratio of female employees is even higher in the Research & Development area (64%).
Chiesi’s leadership in diversity and equality in the workplace was once again demonstrated by the Financial Times’s annual Diversity Leaders ranking, in which the company was ranked 10th worldwide. The ranking assesses 850 European employers on the diversity of gender, age, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation in their workforces. Chiesi is one of only two Italian companies in the top 10 and ranked 1st within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.
Chiesi remains committed to enhancing diversity and equality in the workplace. Following the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2019, the company established a Gender Equality Committee in 2020. In 2021, Chiesi is developing and implementing an action plan for improved female talent development practices to close the gender gap.
Chiesi raises the level of ambition towards carbon neutrality
Following the first announcement in 2019, in May 2021, Chiesi unveiled its plan to become carbon neutral by 2030 with regard to direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and indirect GHG emissions from purchased electricity and heat (scopes 1 and 2) and by 2035 on all the other indirect GHG emissions (scope 3) on www.actionoverwords.org. This will include a 90% reduction of emissions from Chiesi’s inhaler devices compared to 2019, thanks to the planned introduction of an innovative low global warming potential propellant.
Chiesi’s green energy transition on a global scale
In 2020, all of Chiesi’s Italian sites, representing around 80% of its total energy consumption, were powered by 100% renewable energy. The Group signed a new contract for its 2021 and 2022 energy supply from the wind farm MELFI II, a new wind farm located in a high wind area in Puglia region (Italy). 100% of the electricity used at the Parma sites comes from high-quality renewable sources; 2.6% is generated from Chiesi’s own plants (self-production) with a total capacity of 780 kW (+670 kW compared to the previous year). In 2021, Chiesi intends to complete the transition to 100% renewable electricity at all manufacturing sites.
Total energy consumption in 2020 decreased by 15% compared to 2019. This was mainly driven by a reduction in energy use from the car fleet due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Group’s new Headquarters in Parma (Italy), inaugurated in 2020, is also a totally green building and is LEED Platinum certified, the highest level of the international building sustainability rating system promoted by the Green Building Council.
About Chiesi Group
Based in Parma, Italy, Chiesi is an international research-focused pharmaceuticals and healthcare group with over 85 years’ experience, operating in 30 countries with more than 6,000 employees (Chiesi Group). To achieve its mission of improving people’s quality of life by acting responsibly towards society and the environment, the Group research, develops and markets innovative drugs in its three therapeutic areas: AIR (products and services that promote respiration, from new-born to adult populations), RARE (treatment for patients with rare and ultra-rare diseases) and CARE (products and services that support special care and consumer-facing self-care). The Group’s Research and Development centre is based in Parma and works alongside 6 other important research and development centres in France, the U.S., Canada, China, the UK, and Sweden to promote its pre-clinical, clinical, and regulatory programmes. Chiesi, since 2019, is the world’s largest B Corp certified pharmaceutical group. Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. has changed in 2018 its legal status to a Benefit Corporation, by incorporating a double purpose for the creation of shared value, and to generate value for its business, for society and the environment. The global B Corp movement promotes business as a force for good. Moreover, as a Benefit Corporation, Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. is required by law to include objectives of common benefit in its bylaws and to report annually in a transparent way. The Group is committed to becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2035.
For further information: www.chiesi.com
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