Our Sustainability Strategy
“Health for all, hunger for none” – putting an end to hunger and helping everyone lead a healthy life, while at the same protecting ecosystems. That’s what we aspire to achieve, guided by our corporate purpose “Science for a better life.” With our sustainability strategy, one of the four strategic levers of our Group, we are addressing the major challenges of our time and strengthening the societal impact of our company and our business. For us, sustainability means more than just countering risks. Rather, it offers a path to a new type of value creation from which everyone benefits. We are focusing here on generating inclusive growth while at the same time reducing our ecological footprint along our value chain.
The overstepping of the Earth’s boundaries jeopardizes human health and the food supply for the growing world population. This applies especially to the countries that are least responsible for it. Through our business activity, we can help to ensure people’s healthy development, the conservation of resources and the reduction of emissions.
Climate change, water scarcity and the loss of biodiversity are among the most pressing challenges of our time. For decades, humans have consumed more natural resources than our planet can replace. This deficit has already left its mark. It is harming people’s health and jeopardizing the food supply for a growing world population. Poverty, inequality, disease and hunger are increasing. In many parts of the world, health care is still reserved for those who can afford it.
Our leading positions in health and nutrition allow us to significantly contribute to finding solutions through our business activities. We already hold considerable responsibility here because our value chains are also part of the problem.
Anchoring Sustainability in the Company and Our Goals by 2030
Sustainability is anchored at the core of our strategy. Our businesses promote sustainable development, and in so doing impact society and open up growth opportunities for our company. We already reach more than one billion people worldwide with our products and services. Now we will invest further in inclusive growth to enable positive development for more people.
To this end, we have established clear targets up to 2030 for our core issues of Food Security, Healthcare and Climate Protection, and want to be judged on how effectively we attain them.
It is implemented operationally with the aid of nonfinancial targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) which we will pursue with the same rigor as our financial targets. We intend sustainability to become an integral component of our yearly planning and strategy cycle as early as 2020. Sustainability targets are integrated into the company's decision-making processes as well as gradually into the remuneration systems of the Executive Board and management. From 2020, this will take place within the framework of the qualitative component of short-term variable cash remuneration, and from 2021 quantitatively in the long-term share-based cash remuneration.
An independent, externally staffed Sustainability Council will support the company in strategic issues and inject new perspectives.
Our Contribution to the SDGs
To drive solutions to overcome the most pressing challenges of our time, the United Nations agreed on 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The purpose of these targets set for 2030 is to enable everyone to enjoy a high quality of life within the ecological limits of the planet.
We can and will make a significant contribution to meeting the global Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Therefore, we focus on selected SDGs.
We extended and specified this approach in 2019 with the further development of our sustainability strategy: in a structured process, we looked at the total of 17 goals and 169 targets and identified those where we have the biggest effect on people, the environment and society, and can make the biggest impact through our business.
As a major player in the fields of health and nutrition, we influence many of the 17 SDGs and have the biggest impact on #2 Zero Hunger, #3 Good Health and Well-being, #5 Gender Equality, #13 Climate Action and #15 Life on Land.