World Earth Day: Sharing our sustainability initiatives and joining the UN Global Compact
Dr. Otis Johnson – Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Sustainability Officer at Clario
Clinical trials save lives, so it’s easy to see the good that Clario’s work does simply in terms of the nature of the industry in which we operate. However, I see a broader responsibility for companies such as Clario. As a leader in our industry, we also need to be a leader in our environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) responsibilities. This is why we joined the United Nations (UN) Global Compact as a further step in our commitment to creating a more equitable and sustainable society.
The UN Compact asks companies to operate in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. You can read more about our announcement and some of our commitments in these areas in our press release and the statement our CEO, Joe Eazor, wrote about joining.
But as today is World Earth Day, I want to focus specifically on some of the key initiatives we have made in our sustainability strategy.
First and foremost, Clario is working on a plan to reach net-zero emissions. This commitment to reducing the impact of climate change throughout our operations launched in 2020 when we began measuring our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and completed a carbon disclosure program (CDP) assessment. This assessment evaluated and scored our overall environmental performance. As part of our commitment to the UN Global Compact, we are working to improve our measurement system to obtain the most accurate data possible and take systemic action to reduce our carbon footprint and GHG emissions. We are also working to have our improvement targets validated by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi).
We are also involved in the Save the Planet initiative, which works towards greater environmental protection and corporate responsibility. Additionally, taking part in the Save Energy Project has helped us establish guidelines for reducing personal energy use.
Responsible consumption and production
In addition to driving sustainable practices internally, we thoroughly vet our suppliers to ensure our supply chain meets the highest standards at all times. We review key sustainability metrics (e.g., supplier diversity demographics), include environmental sustainability criteria in RFPs, and evaluate suppliers based on their commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
As a technology company, we are acutely aware of the potential damage electronic waste and the strain production of technology devices can put on environmental resources. This is why we are investing heavily in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and multi-protocol devices throughout the organization and during clinical trials. BYOD can have a significant environmental benefit by driving the re-use of devices rather than the purchase of new ones, reducing the amount of packaging needed and an overall reduction in shipping volumes. There is also a patient benefit. Using devices familiar to patients during the already uncertain experience of being in a clinical trial can help with trial protocol compliance and the overall ease of participation.
BYOD is only one aspect of how we support the re-use of existing equipment. Through our partnerships with U.S.-based Inspiredu and Angestöpselt e.V. out of Germany, we ensure our technology has an extended life by wiping devices clean and donating them to underprivileged youths to help them learn computer skills. Last year, we donated 120 devices to Angestöpselt e.V. and more than 2,000 laptops to Inspiredu. When our technology reaches the end of its life with us, it can help a critically underserved population gain skills for education and career success and improve digital literacy by increasing access to technology.
A strategy is only as good as the data used to measure its effectiveness. We use established, recognized standards to monitor our progress. For example, we evaluate our management systems through renowned external assessment platforms, such as EcoVadis, to assess Clario’s sustainability performance and CyberVadis to assess cyber security strength.
Clario’s inaugural ESG report
We are proud to be a part of the UN Global Compact, which has taken us one step further in holding ourselves accountable for our actions and commitments. We are taking another step toward commitment and accountability with the upcoming release of our inaugural Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, a public commitment to our actions and plan to take over the next several years. Some key initiatives we will outline in the report include ensuring drug safety through accurate data, providing employment opportunities for all people, and obstructing corruption and bribery.
World Earth Day calls on us to invest in our planet and be part of the change. These are sentiments I can echo both personally and professionally. I am proud to work for a company that takes them as seriously in its business as I do at home with my family.