Message from the Chairman
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused millions of deaths worldwide, highlighted the need for rapid and concerted global action to overcome an unprecedented crisis, and served as a litmus test for the ability of the international community to tackle emerging crises.
Novartis took fast and coordinated action in response to the pandemic. We quickly took steps to protect the safety and well-being of associates. We committed to donating up to USD 40 million to support communities around the world impacted by the pandemic. We also introduced a portfolio of 15 generic and over-the-counter medicines to treat patients in low-income and lowermiddle-income countries suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. And we collaborated with academic researchers and industry peers in the effort to find effective treatments for COVID-19.
In parallel, we continued to advance our environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda. In September, we issued a bond linked to targets for global health and access to medicine, including a target to increase access to our strategic innovative therapies by 200% in low- and middle-income countries by 2025. Furthermore, we strengthened our environmental ambitions with a new target to be carbon neutral across our entire value chain by 2030.
Novartis will remain a committed partner to support private and public ventures designed to help patients, protect the environment, promote business integrity, and support international efforts to address future challenges
These measures demonstrate the growing importance of ESG for the Novartis Board of Directors and senior management. Ambitious targets are necessary to reduce pollution and support healthcare equity on an international scale. The measures are also designed to help the international community strengthen crisis preparedness and support the United Nations in its efforts to meet its Sustainable Development Goals, which we strongly endorse.
Increasing safety and sustainability also drove the transformation of our Third-Party Risk Management program, under which we are introducing stricter control of our supplier network to help protect the interests of patients, stakeholders and shareholders. We also launched our Code of Ethics in 2020 to strengthen integrity in decision-making and help Novartis achieve its ambition to be among the most trusted partners in healthcare.
We are proud that our ESG efforts are recognized by leading nongovernmental organizations and sustainability rating agencies, such as the Access to Medicine Foundation and Sustainalytics, and we are committed to making further progress. We will also continue our efforts to support nonprofit research, for example with the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland, and the recently founded Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt everyday lives, jeopardizing businesses and putting healthcare systems under increased stress. Novartis will remain a committed partner to support private and public ventures designed to help patients, protect the environment, promote business integrity, and support international efforts to address future challenges.
Chairman of the Board of Directors