Giving Structure to a Long-Term CSR Strategy

Since its founding, Servier has adopted a patient-centric focus and has been committed to producing high-quality drugs while simultaneously providing a positive work environment for its employees. Four years ago, the company decided — in light of new challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry — that its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts would benefit from
more structure. The new CSR strategy is already benefiting Servier’s many stakeholders.

History of Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR at Servier is a question of conviction, rooted in our culture. Since its creation, the Servier Group has embraced social and environmental responsibility and the importance of pursuing a sustainable economic model. While not previously formalized, CSR is embedded in Servier’s culture, and we practice this responsibility in our relationships with our stakeholders.

Our four main company values are Caring, Growing by Sharing, Committing to Success and Daring to Innovate. These values align directly with major components of effective CSR initiatives, which address the concerns of people inside and outside the company and the surrounding ecosystem and require commitment and innovation to be successful.

Establishing a CSR Structure

Approximately four years ago, management at Servier determined that the company would greatly benefit if a clear CSR structure and strategy were developed that provide visibility to the value of the many CSR initiatives taking place across the global organization.

A new CSR department was established in 2016 with a mission to propose a strategy and an organization. Today, the department includes a team of seven full-time SMEs. It monitors the progress of action plans, the achievement of goals and predefined extra-financial indicators and contributes to the rollout of our CSR strategy at all of our sites, in all departments and to all employees.

The CSR department works with several bodies, including the Executive Committee, which validates the CSR strategy; the Group CSR Committee, which participates in defining CSR guidance; and the CSR Operations Committee, which proposes CSR actions based on feedback and competitive intelligence and participates in the implementation of the CSR action plan. The CSR network comprises representatives at each site who contribute to local deployment by including the CSR strategy in site activities and are responsible for extra-financial reporting and communication regarding CSR activities.

Defining a CSR Strategy

In 2016, the newly created CSR department conducted a key stakes assessment (a materiality analysis) following ISO 26000 guidelines and using an inclusive and participatory approach. Through more than 50 interviews with internal and external stakeholders who were asked to describe their expectations for social, environmental and economic activities at Servier, four main CSR commitments and 17 priority stakes were identified to address primary goals.

This work is the basis of our CSR roadmap, which is continuously enriched through constant improvement by capitalizing on existing best practices and action plans devised jointly with each department involved in new projects.

Each of the four main CSR commitments is focused on one stakeholder group:

  • Servier is a company committed to healthcare (patients);
  • Servier cares about people (employees);
  • Servier is focused on our business practices (business partners); and
  • Servier aims for a positive footprint (community and environment).

Many of the 17 stakes we identified have been important to the company since its founding. Others are related to new challenges facing Servier and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, such as climate change.

Taking a CSR Inventory

Once our CSR strategy was developed, we implemented a step-by-step rollout across the company and communicated our intentions to all of our stakeholders. This information is being used by each department to determine what steps need to be taken to integrate the CSR strategy into their overall business strategies and plans at all levels.

At the same time, Servier began taking an inventory of CSR initiatives, programs and activities underway within each division and at each site within the Group. Many achievements are realized each year at all Servier sites. It is important to inventory these different approaches and identify best practices that can be shared across the entire Group.

Since its creation, the Servier Group has embraced social and environmental responsibility and the importance of pursuing a sustainable economic model.

Imparting Visibility and Value

In August 2019, we published our first Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Because of its legal structure, Servier has no legal obligation to communicate the progress we have achieved along our CSR journey. However, we believe strongly that a commitment to publish an annual report helps to hold the company accountable. In addition, the annual CSR Report provides a mechanism for communicating our CSR successes.

Contributing to Performance

Our CSR policy helps consolidate links with our stakeholders, gives value to the impact of our activities and heightens our value. We see CSR as essential to our company’s performance, based on three dimensions: therapeutic, through innovation for the patient; social, through our attention to employees, to society and through ethics; and economic, owing to our governance and to efficient management of the company. These three dimensions guarantee our sustainability and our independence.

Five Key CSR Projects

To better communicate our CSR efforts, Servier selected five CSR key projects we consider to be important on a global basis and that demonstrate the value created by our CSR efforts.

With our Ecodesign by Servier project, our ambition is to include the principles of ecodesign in the development of future drugs, throughout the value chain from R&D to disposal, notably via the choice of raw materials, manufacturing processes and packaging. This global initiative was launched in 2019 by a multidisciplinary project team that is defining the methodology via a pilot project and a Group Ecodesign reference system. During the second phase, the methodology could be progressively applied to all new drugs in development. Benefits are anticipated for patients and in terms of industrial, logistic and environmental performance.

The #ServierDiversity project is an ambitious policy designed to create an even more inclusive work environment that already exists at the company, as well as to promote diversity and equal opportunity and to fight against discrimination throughout career paths. This project comprises inclusion of diversity principles in our corporate Code of Conduct (in line with our Ethical Charter), training on non-discrimination and follow-up indicators. This policy is in line with our value “Care” and will benefit everyone, collectively and individually, through its impact on employee engagement and performance, corporate attractiveness and talent retention.

The Servier 1st Class Partner project involves formalization and implementation of partnership policies that support our partnership model based on mutual respect of economic, ethical and responsible engagement combined with open and transparent communications. CSR criteria are also being gradually incorporated into our purchasing process. Each department is sharing best practices to define common processes for all groups and partnerships.

The Servier Local Shared Value project involves evaluation of our socioeconomic impact in the principal countries in which we operate to measure the contribution of our activities on employment and wealth generation and the extent to which we have achieved local integration. The impacts of projects supported by the Mécénat Servier Charity Fund are also being analyzed. This overall assessment will then enable us to identify the levers for action required to enhance our value creation.

The Servier Climate Commitment project involves the development of a low-carbon strategy in line with the Paris COP 21 agreement (<2 °C by 2030), with a focus on reducing our direct and indirect impact in terms of greenhouse gases, the supply of carbon-free energy and carbon offsets. We use the internationally recognized SBTi (Science Based Targets initiative) methodology. Our precise objectives and timetable are currently being defined, but numerous actions are already underway, such as regeneration of solvents, flow chemistry or catalysis at our chemical sites, transition from air travel to shipping for our logistic flows and reduction of energy consumption at our industrial sites and at the head office. Overall, the Group is aiming for carbon neutrality.

Servier is constructing the new Servier Paris-Saclay Research Institute to house Servier’s research activities located in France by 2022. The nearly $330 million investment underscores Servier’s ongoing commitment to the discovery of innovative therapeutic solutions for patients.

New Research Institute Highlights Many Aspects of CSR Strategy

Servier is constructing the new Servier Paris-Saclay Research Institute to house Servier’s research activities located in France by 2022. The nearly $330 million investment underscores Servier’s ongoing commitment to the discovery of innovative therapeutic solutions for patients. By combining the research activities of our four French sites into a single state-of-the-art center, Servier is continuing to support France while attracting researchers from around the world.

Because Paris-Saclay is one of the world’s top eight innovation clusters and is home to 40% of all industrial R&D in the Paris region, the location will enable Servier and its partners to work alongside other scientific organizations, thus providing a natural opportunity for collaboration and potential innovation. The Institute will also include a one-of-a-kind incubator that will be home to innovative start-ups developing their projects independently, but also sharing their expertise with Servier teams.

The Research Institute is being built to the highest standards to promote the health and well-being of its occupants and to protect biodiversity. It aims to achieve both HQE (High Environmental Quality) and WELL certification, as well as the BiodiverCity® label.

Building on a Foundational Approach

As a private company managed by a foundation, Servier is not beholden to stockholders. As such, we have the freedom and independence to make decisions focused on the long-term vision and commitments we desire.

CSR cannot be achieved with short-term solutions. It is a continuous, step-by-step improvement process that must be driven by a long-term vision and willingness to commit. The conditions under which Servier operates enable us to place an emphasis on CSR, and all of us are dedicated to being successful at this endeavor.

Vincent Minvielle

Vincent Minvielle holds a MSc degree in human resources and management from the SKREMA school in Nice – Sophia Antipolis (France). After two years in Japan and a first experience in LVMH, he joined the Servier Group in 1996. He started as Deputy and then HR Director for the research centers in France. From 2007, he was successively appointed HR Director of Servier in Vietnam (5 years), in Brazil (4 years) and in China (2 years). In October 18, he was appointed Group CSR Director at French headquarters.