Creating a Code of Ethics

Over the past two years, we have been on a journey to strengthen principle-based decision-making by introducing P3, our Professional Practices Policy. We have learned about the importance of providing room for open dialogue and discussion, especially in grey areas, so associates understand what it means to behave and act ethically.

“The experiences of the past 12 months have shown just how important it is to coordinate risk management locally, regionally and internationally – based on our ethical commitment to do what’s right”

Klaus Moosmayer, Chief Ethics, Risk & Compliance Officer

Our new Code of Ethics, launched in September, is a natural step on this journey. It is rooted in behavioral science, which is about what we do, why we do it, and how it is influenced. If we want to change behaviors, we need to change the context and environment in which we work and live.

Our new Code of Ethics elevates principle-based decision-making and reinforces our commitment to ethics across all business interactions, encouraging associates to be bold, open-minded, honest and accountable when making decisions. Co-created with more than 3 000 Novartis associates sharing feedback, ideas and insights into the areas that matter most, our Code of Ethics is a collection of 22 ethical commitments we make as an organization, reflecting the diverse voices of our associates. The code is accompanied by an online decision-making framework based on behavioral science that helps associates challenge their intuition and encourages reflection on the potential impacts of their decisions. In 2020, more than 45 750 associates used the interactive tool and resources.

Our ethical principles

Be open-minded

  • Am I actively listening to ideas or concerns?
  • Am I questioning the impact of my decisions?
  • Am I valuing the perspective of others?

Be honest

  • Am I acting with clear intent?
  • Am I avoiding harm?
  • Am I speaking up?

Be bold

  • Am I standing up for what I believe?
  • Am I putting patients first?
  • Am I making a positive difference?

Be accountable

  • Am I taking responsibility for my decisions?
  • Am I treating others as I would like to be treated?
  • Am I putting the team before myself?

To mark the launch of the code, we held a companywide Ethics Week, which included a series of global events hosted by internal and external experts, with almost 20 000 associates tuning into the live virtual sessions. Additionally, 160 local events were held across 78 countries, and more than 1 200 associates participated in virtual trainings on understanding why, and how, we make decisions. Global e-training on the new Code of Ethics is being rolled out from September 2020 to February 2021, with a preliminary completion rate of 98% by December 31, 2020.