Transparency: Developing our approach to CSR
Towards a systematic approach
Crucell is a dynamic and creative organization that encourages employees at all levels of the company to show initiative and take responsibility. We see that many innovations relating to corporate social responsibility (CSR), among other fields, happen because of the passion, inspiration and insights of individuals closest to a work process. During 2009 there were many examples of that Crucell spirit in action.
We recognize that Crucell can contribute even more to society by formulating shared CSR goals and addressing these in a structured way. In 2008, Crucell took the first steps towards a more comprehensive and transparent approach to CSR.
In 2009, significant advances have been achieved where we made the transition from a working ambition to make Crucell’s CSR more prominent in the organization and more transparent for the outside world, to a strategy for how to do this. We also started building the glide path from where we are, to where we want to be. We have moved forward, step by step, using an approach that fits our corporate culture and our stage of development.
Building the system
Initially, current practices relating to CSR were surveyed by interviewing a large number of employees from a broad cross-section of functions and sites. This survey revealed a strong interest in CSR and a wide range of initiatives making a tangible contribution to the development of CSR awareness and good practices. Examples are described later in this chapter. The survey also highlighted the need for a more systematic and consistent approach to CSR, guided by a global policy and clear targets, and supported by appropriate tools for measuring and reporting CSR performance against these targets.
Armed with this information, Crucell created the framework necessary for embedding a mature CSR program in the organization. This framework includes the outlines of a global CSR policy, key performance indicators, construction of a centralized system for managing information relevant to CSR (see footnote), a working group and meeting structure, and a system of governance. Overall ownership of CSR has been taken on by Chief Executive Officer Ronald Brus, ensuring top-level support for its ongoing development. Chief Operating Officer Cees de Jong is responsible for operational aspects. Crucell’s CSR program and progress will be discussed at Management Board meetings and in formal meetings of the CSR working group at least two times a year.
Concrete CSR ambitions and targets for the coming years were defined by Crucell’s Management Board after reviewing the outcomes of the interviews with employees throughout the organization. This approach is consistent with Crucell’s culture, which values open dialogue in the process of decision making. It also establishes a springboard for the rapid implementation of CSR policy and adherence to the targets set.
Details of Crucell’s CSR system, including responsibilities, key performance indicators and targets are given in the final section of this CSR chapter.
Crucell’s baseline performance on external benchmarks of CSR reporting is good.
Crucell was listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) on September 3, 2009, in recognition of the significant steps the company has taken to define and develop its commitment to sustainability issues. We are very proud of this achievement. The DJSI was introduced in 1999 to indicate international corporations that have made sustainability an integral part of their business strategy. Companies are included on the basis of best-in-class performance.
Another objective measure of Crucell’s progress in CSR development is Crucell’s participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in 2009. This project is a worldwide, investor-driven initiative encouraging multinational corporations to report on their environmental impact, specifically in relation to carbon emissions and climate change.
In the Netherlands, where Crucell has its global headquarters, the Company’s performance in CSR reporting showed good progress in 2009 compared to the previous year. Crucell’s overall score rose 17 points on the 100-point ‘Transparency Benchmark’, an index published by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. This placed Crucell in the top three companies showing fastest progress.
Crucell’s next challenge regarding CSR reporting will be to meet the comprehensive criteria established by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This international standard of CSR transparency demands much more data, and more performance measures, than we had access to in 2009. The systematic approach introduced in 2009 lays the foundation for achieving our ambition to continuously improve our level of GRI compliance and reach A level in 2015. Details of our current GRI compliance (self-declared C level) can be found on our website: www.crucell.com/commitment_to_csr.
“Taking the next leap forward in CSR is an important focus for us.”
Recording, measuring and reporting on our CSR performance in a verifiable and comprehensive way demands considerable ongoing investment of time, effort and money. Crucell’s Management Board considers this a priority for several reasons. First, we see transparent communication about CSR to be a social responsibility in itself. Second, we believe that by achieving greater insight into our impact on society, we will be best able to weigh up the multiple considerations that shape our strategic decision making. We want a CSR system that will enhance the virtuous cycle of innovation that links business profit with health and its associated socioeconomic benefits.
A supportive environment for CSR
The growing maturity of Crucell’s approach to CSR has to be seen in the context of Crucell’s overall organizational development.
In 2009, Crucell implemented a wide range of programs designed to facilitate the integration of the Company’s historically separate components, streamline processes and capture synergies, improve data management and promote cost-efficiency. Many of these initiatives emerged from the operational excellence program launched at the start of 2008. All are directed towards a single strategic goal: creating a sustainable business model that lives up to Crucell’s ambitious promise to bring innovation to global health.
“Global branding fits our ambition to increase transparency and visibility.”
The launch of the global Crucell brand on November 16, 2009, expresses the new maturity of our organization and our growing impact on world health. Crucell embarked on an ambitious mission in 2006 by acquiring Swiss vaccine maker Berna Biotech, SBL Vaccines of Sweden, and Berna Products Corporation. With these acquisitions, Crucell became the largest independent vaccine company in the world. Three years later, global branding is a logical and necessary step to display the innovative power of today’s Crucell—an integrated, global organization. Even more importantly, it will help to strengthen our business and the contribution we can make.
Global branding fits Crucell’s ambition to increase transparency and visibility. It supports a more harmonized way of working within the company and towards external stakeholders.
Crucell’s transition towards a more centralized, systematic and transparent approach to CSR is supported by this evolution. Indeed, without the global policies and practices established in 2009, taking this next leap forward in CSR would not have been possible.
A global CSR policy
Crucell’s global CSR policy is founded on a four-part framework, corresponding to the four main ways in which we want to make a positive contribution to society. This organizational principle is to some extent artificial. In practice, there is considerable overlap among the four categories, pointing to the interdependence of CSR activities. Crucell’s policy provides the overarching vision needed to coordinate these efforts.
A '4P Framework' as a foundation for a CSR Policy
This framework system (Reporting Manual), now under construction, includes definitions of performance indicators, instructions for CSR reporting (how, what and who) and an information management tool. The Reporting Manual is being custom-built to fit Crucell’s organization and CSR policy. Roll-out of the Reporting Manual company-wide in 2010 is one of the quantitative targets set by Crucell’s Management Board.