November 17, 2020
Zoetis first animal health company to issue review based on leading sustainability frameworks
Zoetis announced on November 16 the publication of its 2019 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Review, providing more information on its ESG initiatives, including disclosures on energy, waste and workforce metrics.
This marks the animal health industry's first stand-alone disclosure of key performance indicators based on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which are leading global sustainability frameworks.
The review focuses on recent ESG activities and metrics, with progress dating back to 2017, while highlighting important steps Zoetis has taken in its sustainability journey. Guided by a belief that healthier animals will help create a healthier future, Zoetis had outlined three ways the company contributes to healthier animals: care and collaborate through partnerships and support of colleagues and communities; innovate in animal health to help solve sustainability challenges faced by animals and people; and protect the planet by stewarding resources and minimising the direct impact of the company's operations.
In conjunction with the release of its comprehensive ESG review, Zoetis also enhanced its Policy on Sustainability to include its commitment to protect the planet, develop innovative animal health products and support colleagues and communities.
"As a company focused on the health of animals, sustainability has always been integral to our work; however, this year we formalised our strategy and elevated sustainability to one of our top priorities," said Kristin Peck, CEO of Zoetis. "In the face of the global pandemic, it has been more critical than ever to care for the needs of our colleagues, customers and communities and define our plan to create a healthier, more sustainable future. We look forward to sharing more about our goals and progress in 2021 and beyond."
Key leadership roles
In prioritising sustainability, Zoetis appointed four leaders this year to oversee various aspects of the company's commitments.
Jeannette Ferran Astorga joined the company as its first head of sustainability responsible for stewarding the company strategy and tracking accountability for its commitments, partnerships and philanthropy.
This year, Astorga was named to Assent's Top 100 Corporate Social Responsibility Influence Leaders for her leadership and influence to help others start or improve corporate social responsibility programmes.
Dr. Mike McFarland, DVM, was named global chief medical officer (CMO). As a respected veterinarian and expert in animal health, Dr. McFarland is a member of the Zoetis Executive Team with responsibility for Global Commercial Development, Customer Experience and Sustainability.
Evelyn Ortiz was appointed chief talent, diversity, equity and inclusion officer to manage Zoetis' activities to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion within its culture and across its colleague population. Ortiz's role also includes partnerships with suppliers and vendors and in the communities where Zoetis operates.
Jeff Williams was named chief compliance officer. Williams, who joined Zoetis recently from the National Geographic Society and has a background in the pharmaceutical industry, administers the company's Enterprise Risk Management programme.
As Zoetis grows its business in a way that is considerate of the global community, the company is committed to protecting the planet by using the world's resources wisely and reducing its emissions and waste. Since 2017, Zoetis has:
- Reduced its greenhouse gas emissions intensity1,2 (4% less);
- Reduced its water intake intensity (5% less);
- Reduced its hazardous waste intensity (9% less);
- Reduced its solid waste intensity (87% less)'
- Improved its recycling rate of hazardous waste (35% increase) and solid waste (14% increase).
Even as the company grows to fulfill the needs of people who care for animals, Zoetis is fully committed to continuing to reduce its environmental footprint and plans to adopt specific goals that will be shared in 2021.
Veterinary and community support
Zoetis has long supported the veterinary profession through a variety of philanthropic initiatives including its ongoing Zoetis Veterinary Student Scholarship partnership with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges that awarded 315 veterinary students US$630,000 in scholarship funds for the 2020 academic year.
The programme has given US$7.3 million to more than 3,600 veterinary students over the past 11 years. The company has similar programmes in Canada and the United Kingdom and has also supported veterinary education efforts in China, Egypt and other countries to help ensure a bright future for the veterinary profession.
The company takes a grassroots approach to care and collaborate in local communities where it has a presence, including:
- In Australia, Zoetis raised US$300,000 for Beyond Blue over the last three years to help Australian farmers and veterinarians who are vulnerable to mental health challenges as a result of rural isolation. The company also made available US$400,000 in donated product to help veterinarians care for animals affected by the 2019 Australian bushfires;
- In the US, Zoetis donated over US$500,000 in products to help local veterinarians care for animals affected by natural disasters in 2019 including floods and hurricanes.
The company is also establishing a framework to collect data on a global scale that can quantify efforts in the future.
Animal health product safety, research and quality assurance
Scientists in Zoetis' research and development organisation are dedicated to helping animals live longer, healthier lives through the discovery and development of breakthrough medicines and therapies, Zoetis said.
All animals in the company's clinical trials are cared for according to the company's policy on animal care and welfare. In addition, Zoetis has a comprehensive programme to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics, advocating for veterinary involvement when antibiotics must be used, innovating to discover new and enhanced solutions for animal care and collaborating in a "One Health" approach with human and veterinary medicine professionals.
To continue to identify environmental, social and governance areas in which to improve, Zoetis has undertaken a materiality assessment with key stakeholders. This will partly inform a more comprehensive sustainability report in 2021 that will include environmental goals and alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.