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Since 2009 Biogen has conducted materiality assessments every two to three years to identify and prioritize the corporate responsibility topics and issues most important to the company and its stakeholders. These assessments have been informed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Principles for Defining Report Content. In 2019 we conducted a new materiality assessment as part of the review of our global corporate responsibility (CR) strategy. The results of this assessment are detailed below.
The 2019 Year in Review contains data from calendar year 2019. In some instances, we include information on initiatives or activities that may have begun in 2019 but have continued into 2020. This report was prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards “core” option” and aligns Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) guidelines. We have also employed additional internationally recognized guidelines and frameworks such as the Task-Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to inform our reporting. Please refer to the GRI and SASB Content Indices below to see which material aspects and relevant indicators are reported and how we track our efforts in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs comprise 17 goals and 169 associated targets that incorporate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. At Biogen we support all 17 goals and encourage all businesses to consider how they may also contribute. We continue to refine our CR strategy to align with the SDGs that are most relevant to our business.
Data in this report covers our worldwide operations, including consolidated subsidiaries but excluding joint ventures. Our operations in 2019 encompassed our major facilities in North Carolina, Denmark, Switzerland and Massachusetts. In August 2019 we completed the sale of all of the outstanding shares of our subsidiary that owned our biologics manufacturing operations in Hillerød, Denmark to FUJIFILM Corporation. The boundaries also include our global offices and our commercial fleet operations. With regard to environmental data presented in this report, the scope includes operations over which we have operational control.
ERM Certification and Verification Services, Inc. (ERM CVS) assured the 2019 data for a number of indicators, including Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions and select environmental and social indicators. See the ERM CVS Assurance Statement below for full details of the assurance scope, assurance standards used, work undertaken and conclusions, and see the Data Table below for data that was assured (when a 2019 data point is printed in bold, that means that data point was assured).
In 2019 we conducted a new materiality assessment as part of the review of our global CR strategy.
After reviewing the entire list, a set of tier one priorities was agreed upon for immediate attention, including: access to treatments and pricing, investments in R&D to ensure a robust pipeline and improving patient outcomes. Throughout this 2019 Year in Review, we explain how Biogen is addressing these issues and measuring performance.
GRI Materiality Assessment Process
At Biogen, our ethos of caring deeply is reflected in the ways we listen to our stakeholders and use their input to help inform our strategies. While we have always conducted our materiality assessment in a globally accepted, GRI-compliant way, we also challenge ourselves to go further than standards require.
We went much further than standards require, engaging a far broader range of stakeholders, taking a new approach to questions, and engaging in deeper analysis to identify and prioritize the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues at the intersection of stakeholder and company concern.
Our stakeholders expect that we understand the environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related risks and impacts across our supply chain, and that we take steps to manage these risks and impacts. Biogen has developed evaluation processes to fulfill this expectation with the objective of identifying any potential at-risk suppliers that could warrant further evaluation. Overall, Biogen has a low ESG-related risk profile due to the current geographical spread of suppliers and the nature of the goods and services purchased. Our evaluation processes include:
ESG risk screens for critical supplier sites
Water risk basin-level screen for a subset of critical supplier sites
Human rights country-level risk screen against our entire procurement spend
Monitoring compliance with new requirements around the world (e.g. human trafficking legislation)
Critical suppliers are defined as approved Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) supplier sites that supply products and services directly related to the safety and integrity of our products. High-volume and any non-substitutable suppliers are often GMP suppliers.
ESG Risk Screen: In 2019 we evaluated 989 critical suppliers sites (751 Tier I supplier sites representing 81 percent of total procurement spend and 238 Tier II supplier sites). This evaluation assesses each supplier against five factors – criticality of the service or good being supplied (30 percent); the level of financial spend (35 percent); the social risk profile (11 percent); the environmental risk profile (12 percent); and the governance risk profile, including potential for corruption (12 percent). Six Tier I supplier sites and 11 Tier II supplier sites were screened as potentially higher risk requiring further internal evaluation of the supplier's practices and service/goods provided. The conclusion of the internal evaluation deemed zero of the seven supplier sites to present a high risk to Biogen operations.
Water Risk Screen: In 2019 we evaluated 175 of the most critical GMP supplier sites using the Water Risk Filter Tool developed by WWF and DEG. Zero supplier sites were screened as potentially higher risk requiring further internal evaluation.
Human Rights Risk Screen: In 2019 we evaluated 99.9 percent of procurement spend against the country-level risk profiles developed by the U.S. State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report. Our procurement system registered a total of 13,348 unique supplier country-level locations (i.e., Biogen may purchase goods or services from a single supplier in multiple countries, where each is included in the screen) with aggregate purchases equal to or greater than $1,000:
11,057 unique supplier locations (83 percent of spend) were in Tier 1 countries
269 unique supplier locations (16 percent of spend) were in Tier 2 countries
109 unique supplier locations (<0.1 percent of spend) were in Tier 2 Watch List countries
144 unique supplier locations (0.2 percent of spend) were in Tier 3 countries
The supplier locations in Tier 2 Watch and Tier 3 countries were further evaluated in a similar manner as described in the ESG risk screen. The evaluation determined zero of these supplier locations to be high risk.
To support the continual improvement of Biogen’s ability to assess risk within its supply chain, two targets have been set:
Expand ESG risk screening of Tier I suppliers to 75 percent of spend by 2020
Expand ESG risk screening of Tier II supplier sites to 500 sites by 2020.
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