Measuring our impact
Our business positively impacts society in various ways. By delivering high-value medicines, for example, we improve and extend people’s lives. At the same time, our activities may have negative effects, which is why we strive to reduce our environmental footprint, uphold safety standards and protect human rights in our value chain.
Novartis supports the development of emerging methodologies and standards to measure the impact of companies on society and the environment. We focus on two areas: impact valuation and assessing our contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2022, we took part in a pilot project with the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) to assess our activities against social and environmental impact areas.
The analysis is based on our industry sector as well as information about our main countries by sales, production and supplier spend. It uses country-level proxy data to identify potential positive and negative impact areas that connect to the SDGs. We publish the results for information purposes only.
The results show a significant positive association with “health and sanitation” – which connects to SDG 3 – through the impact of our medicines on human health. UNEP FI defines a significant impact area as one where there is a strong correlation with a company’s business, its sector and the countries in which it operates. Please see "Deliver high-value medicines" for further information about our contribution to SDG3. The analysis also showed a moderate positive impact on employment and the economy due to wages, benefits and employee development.
As a company with a global manufacturing network and supply chain, we have a potential moderate negative impact on natural resources including climate, air and water. We also have a potential moderate negative impact on employment due to risks associated with occupational safety. Minimizing our impact on the environment and ensuring a safe working environment are key parts of our strategy and operating model. See "Environmental sustainability" and "Unleash the power of our people" for more details.
Novartis is a founding member of the Value Balancing Alliance (VBA), a non-profit organization that aims to create a standard for measuring the value companies provide to society.
Based on VBA methodology, we are pioneering an approach called social, environmental and economic (SEE) impact valuation, which aims to show the positive impact we bring to countries, health systems and individuals, balanced by the negative impact of our operations on the environment and other areas. Expressing these impacts in monetary terms makes them transparent and comparable. Please see our corporate website for more information.