Holding ourselves to high ethical standards

Novartis employees at a production facility; Torre Annunziata, Italy (Photo)

Why is it important?

Building trust with customers, patients, associates and society is the foundation of our long-term success. Our stakeholders not only expect us to do what is legally required, but also to act with high ethical standards wherever we operate and to be accountable for the way our business impacts people and the environment. We recognize these expectations of our company and strive to do what’s right both for Novartis and for society at large.

Our targets

Conduct risk assessments for all new eligible suppliers

Complete risk assessments of existing suppliers by 2022

Fully integrate human rights into third-party risk assessments in scope

Enhance external reporting on anti-bribery by 2022

Post all clinical trial results on clinicaltrials.gov or novartisclinicaltrials.com within one year of completion

Our approach and performance

We work to build trust – with associates and partners, doctors and patients, and with society more broadly – by embedding environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics into the core of our business. We are governed by strong and consistent values and continue to implement policies and practices to hold our company, our associates, our suppliers, and stakeholders we work and interact with to high ethical standards. We endeavor to identify potential problems, prevent issues from occurring, promote personal accountability, and generate lessons that we can apply across the company.

This continues to be a journey, and we are making progress. We are embedding principle-based decision-making in our business interactions to help ensure our leaders and associates act appropriately when faced with ethical dilemmas. We are expanding our efforts to protect human rights within our operations and throughout our supply chain. This extends from creating a more inclusive company culture to protecting people and communities with uncompromising standards for ethical sourcing and practices. As a diverse company operating globally, we know this is a challenging endeavor and there will always be more we can do.

In this section

Read about our journey to strengthen ethics, risk, compliance and assurance at Novartis:

Creating a Code of Ethics Our Code of Ethics, created by associates for associates, sets out 22 commitments we make to doing what’s right. Underpinned by four ethical principles, the Code of Ethics replaced our Code of Conduct in September 2020.

Safeguarding our company from risks Novartis strives to reduce risk and ensure continuity at both strategic and operational levels with risk portfolios and continuity management audits.

Strengthening internal assurance and advisory Novartis Business Assurance & Advisory is an independent corporate function that plays an important role in supporting the risk and compliance process, providing protection, insight, advice and assurance to the business and the Board of Directors.

Expanding the third-party risk management process At Novartis, we are committed to working with third parties who operate in a manner that is consistent with our values and ethical principles.

Upholding our commitment to human rights Novartis respects and supports the protection of human rights in its operations and supply chain as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Encouraging associates to speak up We require associates to report actual or suspected violations of our Code of Ethics. Our SpeakUp Office offers employees and people outside of Novartis a channel through which to report misconduct.

Addressing legacy legal issues In 2020, Novartis resolved several legacy litigation matters, including all Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations into historical conduct by the company and its subsidiaries.