2 January 2020 - Deborah Wilkes
Self-care will play an important role in Bayer’s sustainability efforts over the next decade.
Chief executive officer Werner Baumann says Bayer will “expand access to everyday health for about 100 million people in underserved communities around the world by 2030”.
Baumann adds that Bayer Consumer Health’s “world-known household brands will drive this ambition”. “We will increase the availability and affordability of our trusted, high-quality brands around the world,” promises Baumann, “and support self-care education initiatives that form the basis for shaping behavioural change.”
The initial focus will be on women’s health and expanding access to micronutrients for pregnant women and children.
Part of a wider move
The self-care initiative is part of a wider move by Bayer to step up its sustainability efforts over the next decade. Announcing its 2030 Sustainable Development Objectives in December 2019, the German company says the move is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Baumann points out that Bayer talked about sustainability as one of its value levers back in 2018. Since then, he says, the company has listened to its stakeholders and developed a comprehensive strategy.
“By making sustainability an even stronger part of our strategy and operations, we aim to achieve long-term returns and generate a positive impact for society and the environment,” he comments.
By combining the strength of our Crop Science, Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Health divisions, comments Baumann, we want to “spark a systematic response to the complex challenges the world is facing”.
Monitoring the targets
Bayer promises to monitor and report the sustainability targets with the same rigour as its financial targets. “The goals will be integrated into decision-making processes and management compensation,” says the company.
Baumann says clear and measurable targets will be rolled out into divisions, individual segments and regions as well as countries. He adds that there will be annual reporting on sustainability achievements.
He explains that sustainability governance will be firmly anchored in both the board of management and the supervisory board.
Bayer says it will create an independent Sustainability Council made up of external sustainability experts, which will advise its board of management.
In addition, sustainability expert Ertharin Cousin is a new member of Bayer’s supervisory board. A US citizen, Cousin was executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme in Italy from 2012 until 2017. Bayer said the appointment of Cousin gave its supervisory board the “added support it was targeting in view of the growing importance of the Crop Science business”.
Furthermore, from 1 January 2020 Bayer’s chief executive officer Baumann will be the company’s chief sustainability officer.