What has Smith & Nephew accomplished in 2015?
We made some great progress in 2015. Employee safety performance improved dramatically, reflecting our consistent focus on ensuring a safe workplace.
We engaged more employees with our wellness programmes promoting healthier lifestyles. Furthermore, we formalised and extended sustainability considerations across our supply chain, helping us to deliver on our commitment to encourage organisations we work with to adopt sustainable behaviours. We also engaged more with the communities where we operate through broad and meaningful employee volunteering initiatives.
How has Smith & Nephew’s understanding of what it means to be sustainable evolved since you committed to sustainability?
Smith & Nephew committed to sustainability with the publication of our first sustainability report in 2001. We reinforced our commitment in 2011 by setting 15 challenging sustainability targets. 2015 marks the end of this first target period and provides us with an opportunity to identify and incorporate our learnings into our strategy. Principally, we have learned that sustainability targets are best achieved when they are strongly linked to our core values and our business strategy.
For example, our strategic imperative to improve access to quality healthcare is a strong driver for community engagement in developing markets. Much progress has been made in this area. To increase our momentum, we will use our business strategy to directly inform our sustainability direction and targets. In this way, the entire organisation moves all aspects of sustainability – social, environmental and economic – forward at once.
How has Smith & Nephew performed against its 2015 targets?
We have fully delivered (or exceeded) nine of our 15 targets, and we are extracting learnings from our performance against all of them – whether achieved or not. We will incorporate these learnings into our new sustainability strategy.
What are your near- and long-term sustainability targets?
We are using the learnings from our 2015 sustainability progress to create a longterm sustainability strategy which we will announce in early 2017. In the interim between the end of our 2015 targets and the launch of our new strategy in 2017, we have set sustainability targets for 2016, which consolidate and extend our performance against our 2015 targets. These are described later in this report. We will continue to strive to be a responsible business that sets an example for others.
We will report on our new strategy and associated targets in our 2016 Sustainability Report. We could set longer term targets now, while we review and absorb the learnings from our first target period. However, since this review is likely to impact both the type and scope of targets we set, we have made a decision to set shortterm targets for 2016, on the basis that longer term commitments would probably require revisions over the next year as we define our strategic sustainability direction.
What is your long-term vision and commitment to sustainability?
We are firmly committed to making a meaningful contribution across all three pillars of sustainability – social, environmental and economic. Our emphasis is on delivering positive outcomes that advance the long-term prospects for our business everywhere we operate. As our business has changed, so have the societal and environmental challenges around us. A thorough assessment of the impact of these changes on Smith & Nephew is required. We are developing this year a well-defined sustainability strategy that supports our business, our communities, our employees and our customers and addresses these challenges, delivering both near and longterm benefits to our stakeholders around the world.
Chief Executive Officer