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UCB materiality update results

To play our part in creating a more sustainable future for society, we want to focus on the areas where we have the most potential to deliver impact, given our specific skills, expertise, and heritage. To identify these topics, we conduct regular materiality analyses. A materiality assessment is a formal process to identify, refine and assess environmental, social and governance topics, which matter most to a company’s internal and external stakeholders and which have an impact on business performance. Our materiality assessment also enables us to inform our strategic thinking, risk assessment and reporting.

In 2019, UCB completed a materiality assessment to identify how best to maximize our societal contribution while ensuring we continue to develop our business successfully. In order to account for the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide insights on recent sustainability trends and stakeholder needs shaping our business environment, we have chosen to update in 2021 our 2019 materiality assessment.

We present below a ranking of the topics material for UCB based on our materiality update 2021. All topics ranked have been identified as important to the business and they were ranked by combined business impact and stakeholder interest.

materiality assessment

The overall results show a strong coherence between the findings of 2019 and 2021. Material topics for UCB remained the same apart from one addition (product safety and quality), presumably due to the impact of COVID-19 on society’s expectations. Access to medicines and scientific innovation are closely related and remain the most material topics for UCB. They are deeply strategic for the business and critically important for its stakeholders. Expectations in this area are evolving with a growing interest in the role of companies to tackle health disparities.

Our methodology and process for materiality assessment

Our recent materiality update built on the results of the extensive analysis completed in 2019, including the topic list developed as part of this process. Our 2019 materiality analysis identified nine material topics prioritized by their relevance to UCB’s current and future success and by the level of concern expressed by external stakeholders. The 2019 analysis was completed with input from a thorough analysis of published evidence on material topics relevant to our industry, a peer benchmark and by interviewing external stakeholders and employees. More information about 2019 Materiality assessment can be found in 2019 Integrated Annual report.

The methodology applied to our 2021 materiality update differed from the methodology used in 2019 as the objective was to refresh the materiality results rather than to perform extensive primary research. This updated version is based on a detailed literature review and the contribution of a cross-functional materiality working group of 16 UCB emerging leaders. The literature review drew on documents available within UCB and recently published evidence on sustainability with a focus on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. We also conducted a survey to collect inputs from the UCB Sustainability Governance Committee and the UCB External Sustainability Advisory Board.

All information deemed material for providers of financial capital in their decision-making is included in the UCB Integrated Annual Report 2021, i.e. of such relevance and importance that it could substantively influence their assessments of our ability to create value over the short, medium and long term. Each of the material topics is reported in our Integrated Annual report and the section on Ensuring Product safety and quality was further developed in line with the results from this materiality update.