To meet our customers’ needs we rely on a series of partners, including our suppliers and the distributors of our products. Our goal is to work collaboratively, as far as regulation and commercial practicality allow, and build stable, long-term relationships.
We must ensure that our partners are behaving responsibly and are working to the same standards that we set ourselves. We have a Supplier Code of Conduct which draws on International Labour Organization conventions and the Principles of the United Nations Global Compact. New suppliers are required to sign and abide by the Supplier Code of Conduct, and it is introduced with existing suppliers as contracts are renewed. We are implementing a risk assessment and monitoring process.
This approach to supplier screening will encompass steps to help identify potential or actual risks relating to human trafficking and modern slavery. A statement relating to the California Supply Chains Act can be found on our website.
Our policy is to perform testing on animals only when this is mandated by regulatory authorities or when we cannot support a product or product development through the available laboratory and/or human clinical data. When we are mandated to perform testing on animals, or when this is our only option to further a product development which will advance clinical practice, we ensure that such testing is performed in accordance with Good Laboratory Practices and in accordance with Animal Care & Use requirements and guidelines, using only reputable and audited contract research organisations.
In the US, through our supplier diversity programme, we strive to partner with Small, Minority and Women-Owned businesses. In 2016, nearly 20% of our US supplier spend was with these categories.
We must behave responsibly when marketing our products to customers which include large reimbursement organisations, distributors, hospitals and, increasingly, direct to users. The risk of acting unethically is heightened where we engage a third party organisation to sell or promote our products. To mitigate this risk our compliance team conducts due diligence on the selection of distributors as well as delivering both online and ‘live’ compliance training programmes to distributor staff, based on our Global Third Party Compliance Manual. In selected markets, we review our existing distributors by exercising our audit rights in such contracts.