Corporate Responsibility Caring for people, our planet and our communities

Corporate Responsibility

To realise our vision - pioneering trusted medical solutions to improve the lives we touch - and generate value we must build trust and develop positive stakeholder relationships. We endeavour to do this by running our business in a responsible way. In particular we engage with our stakeholders and focus on issues that are important to them and relate to our value creation process.

Our entire business is oriented to delivering products and services to help people manage challenging chronic conditions. We play an important role in helping them enjoy their lives, rather than being ruled by those conditions. At a broader level, particularly where our products are primarily used in a healthcare setting, their innovative design can enable healing outcomes and a reduction in healthcare associated infections, the most frequent adverse event in healthcare worldwide. Our customers, the people who use our products and services, and the healthcare professionals who care for them, rely on us and if we do not deliver for them we have no business.

For more detail on our approach to corporate responsibility, and our performance in 2020 - please visit pages 38 to 60 of our Annual Report 2020. This should be read in conjunction with supplemental information contained in Responsible business review.


Our Approach to Corporate Responsibility

Our overall approach to CR is aimed at supporting the fulfilment of our vision (incorporating our purpose) and can be summarised as:

-  Identifying our key stakeholders, how they interact with our products, operations, activities and value chain, and the issues that are relevant to them.

-  Adopting a logical process for prioritising those issues, to identify the most material matters.

-  Responding to the priorities by developing appropriate strategies, policies, programmes and performance indicators, and reporting regularly and transparently on our progress.

In this way, we intend to become a more sustainable business and to contribute to the global sustainability agenda, in particular through the support this approach brings to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”).


Please visit pages 38 to 60 of our: 2020 Annual Report

How we support the UN Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs") 

Ensure healthy lives and
promote wellbeing for all at
all ages.
Our core business is primarily
aligned with this goal and most
closely with the target to "by
2030, reduce by one third 
premature mortality from non-
communicable diseases through
prevention and treatment and
promote mental health and
wellbeing". A number of other 
SDGs are relevant to our 
business and we specifically
align with the three adjacent
  Promote sustained, inclusive
and sustainable economic
growth, full and productive
employment and decent
work for all.
Our Human Rights and Labour
Standards Policy, and Supplier
Code of Conduct assessments,
aim to reduce the risk of child
and forced labour, and other
poor practices across our own
operations and supply chain.

  Ensure sustainable
consumption and 
production patterns.
Our product life-cycle analysis
programme and Green Design
Guidelines aim to support more
sustainable products.

  Take urgent action to combat
climate change and its
Our climate strategy and
greenhouse gas emission
reduction target are aligned
with the goal of combatting
climate change.

 Please visit pages 38 to 39 of our 2020 Annual Report


Materiality is the key principle that determines which issues are sufficiently important that it is essential to address them, and to report on our performance in respect of those issues. The process to assess the materiality of issues is therefore critical to developing an effective CR strategy and achieving a high degree of transparency in communicating to stakeholders. Our approach to determining materiality has involved three steps.

Step 1: Identifying the relevant issues

We developed a ‘universe’ of potential issues by reviewing a number of external resources, including international reporting guidance organisations such as the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”), the legal and regulatory reporting requirements for UK-listed companies (covering issues such as gender diversity and greenhouse gas emissions), lists of issues used by rating organisations, issue-specific programmes such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (“CDP”), international initiatives such as the United Nations (“UN”) Global Compact, and the reports of other businesses in our sector.

More detail about our materiality assessment, which was conducted in 2019 can be found on Page 11-12 of our 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Step 2: Gathering stakeholder viewpoints directly

In 2017, we commissioned research with over 40 external stakeholders. In 2019, we repeated the process, consulting via an online survey with nearly 70 individual external stakeholders and employees across UK, USA, Spain, Germany, Canada, and Hong Kong. Our external sample (41) comprised groups which are particularly invested in our business.

Step 3: Grouping and ranking the issues

The relevant issues form a list of 27 topics. We cover the higher materiality issues (and others) in the CR section of our 2020 Annual Report and focus particularly on the issues relating directly to the people who use our products.

The issues are grouped under our six element CR framework (illustrated below), through which we structure the management of our CR agenda and this forms the basis of the structure of the CR disclosures in our 2020 Annual Report.

Whilst all of the issues listed are considered material, the chart indicates those ranked more highly in bold, and those which were also identified as growing significantly in importance in the next five years, in blue.


Context for our strategy

Our CR strategy acknowledges the key elements of the sustainable development agenda and has been developed to recognise how these factors interact with our business. Fundamentally, our strategy flows directly from our vision and values.

Whilst our core business is aimed squarely at delivering our vision, we must also ensure that we minimise the negative impact on the environment and on other, non-patient, communities. In relation to the environment, our focus is on reducing the impacts of our products and our operations. As the majority of our products cannot be recycled after use, we must try to ensure that the materials and energy consumed in their life cycle are as little as possible. Equally, whilst we support employment in our supply chain through our business relationships, we must ensure that these workers are kept safe and not exploited.

Our CR framework and objectives

Using our six element  CR Framework  we identify policies, programmes and projects that create value for our various stakeholders  whilst balancing their sometimes competing requirements. Through this approach we aim to earn stakeholder trust and respect, and so contribute to the success of our business.

Overlaying this framework are four broad objectives:

  1. Strengthen our risk management - Focusing particularly on building a more sustainable supply chain, and creating an effective environmental management programme. This will support reduction of risk and cost in our supply chain and our own operations, and, where directly relevant to production, support our margin improvement programme.
  2. Improve our products - Enhancing our knowledge of the whole lifecycle of products to identify potential environmental and social opportunities, and enable greater transparency with our stakeholders. This will help provide competitive advantage in product development, and commercial situations, whilst reinforcing our reputation.
  3. Reinforce our culture through engagement - Bringing employee and community engagement together under a single theme, to reinforce our vision and values.
  4. Enhance our transparency - Developing our reporting and engagement to earn trust with our stakeholders. This will help to create a positive reputation, enhancing our commercial relationships.


We have set a series of performance targets under the six headings of our CR Framework and report our progress against these in our CR Reports. Our targets are summarised below.


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