Global Citizenship

Creating a Culture of Citizenship > Citizenship at Abbott Engaging Our Stakeholders


As an active participant in the global dialogue on health care, Abbott recognizes that listening to our stakeholders and responding thoughtfully to their concerns and ideas is vital to our progress as a global citizen.

Listening to our stakeholders and responding thoughtfully to their concerns and ideas is vital to our progress as a global citizen. Stakeholder insights help us develop new products to address unmet health care needs; educate patients, health care professionals and others about emerging diseases and treatment options; and understand how and where our company can make a difference.

Abbott is an active participant in the global dialogue on health care, listening as well as speaking out. We are fortunate in having a wide range of stakeholders who challenge us to examine what we do and how we do it. Some of the most complex challenges confronting the global health care system can only be addressed in partnership with responsible and concerned stakeholders. Engaging and partnering with them is vital to Abbott’s success as a business enterprise and as a global citizen.

Having further refined our focus by separating from AbbVie at the end of 2012, Abbott will continue to work with our stakeholders to understand their evolving views about the role we can play as a leader in global citizenship.

How We Engage with Stakeholders

In today’s complex and competitive marketplace, Abbott must respond to the needs and concerns of a wide range of stakeholders – including patients, consumers, health care professionals, shareholders, suppliers, policymakers, regulators, scientists, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This table shows examples of how we engage with stakeholders; additional stakeholder commentary can be found throughout the report.

Stakeholder Group Key Stakeholder Issues Abbott’s Position on Key Issues Examples of Engagement Results of Engagement

Patients, Consumers and Customers

- Availability of products that are safe and effective.

- Affordable pricing.

- Information about diseases and available treatments.

- Advocacy for patient needs and support for patient organizations.

- Abbott is committed to developing safe and effective medicines that save and enhance lives.

- We aim to make our products available at fair and affordable prices and to offer low cost or free options when possible.

- We engage in discussions with patient groups and associations, customer care lines, surveys and market research and patient assistance programs.

- Our diagnostics division measures customer loyalty with an NPS score, measured across all customers.

- Abbott gains important insights as to how we can improve our products and develop new ones.

- We increase awareness among stakeholder groups of avenues for patient assistance for medicines and of donations of medicines and other products as part of disaster relief.

- Our NPS score has seen a rise from 29.9 in 2009 to 41.6 in 2012.

Health Care Professionals

- R&D developments.

- Quality, safety and efficacy of products and proper product use.

- Responsible, ethical behavior (ethical marketing practices).

- Information and education about the latest tools and technologies.

- We seek new insights into patient and consumer needs and are committed to leveraging these insights into meaningful products.

- Health care professionals play a key role in proper diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, and we work closely to create greater understanding of disease states and their treatment.

- We seek to maintain high standards of integrity in all our dealings with health care professionals.

- Educational programs for health care professionals.

- Technical exchanges to bolster knowledge of health care professionals.

- We foster improved understanding of emerging challenges on the front lines of health care.

- We receive feedback on the quality, safety and efficacy of existing products and partner with health care professionals conducting vital research.

- A health care professional population with appropriate training in the latest science and technology.

Government and Trade Groups

- Affordable pricing.

- Abbott policies that foster access to medicines and vaccines.

- Ethical business practices.

- Partnerships to help address health care needs.

- We aim to make our products available at fair and affordable prices.

- We want to foster well-informed health care professionals, enhanced infrastructure and progressive policies, which are keys to health care access.

- Abbott holds all its employees to the highest ethical standards.

- Work with governments to set prices at reasonable levels.

- Talk with governments about major health care policy developments.

- Participate in numerous U.S. and international trade groups, consistent with the guidelines in Abbott’s Code of Business Conduct.

- Shared learning on needs of various communities.

- Updates on major health care policy developments.

- Disclosure of our political contributions.

Our Employees

- Resources to improve and maintain our employees’ own health and well-being.

- Access to training and development.

- Opportunities to get involved in their communities.

- Our employees are critical to Abbott’s success, and we aim to support them in improving their own health and further developing their skills.

- Employees have skills and expertise that are of value to the communities where Abbott operates.

- Abbott has several formal mechanisms that encourage and collect employee feedback.

- We conduct employee engagement surveys.

- Employee views are incorporated into the full range of company policies and practices.

- Employees feel engaged in their community and at their jobs.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

- Development and pricing of products to satisfy unmet medical needs globally.

- We offer a variety of products around the world at fair and affordable prices with an increased presence in emerging markets.

- Ongoing dialogue with NGOs.

- Abbott’s Global Citizenship Advisory Council.

- Development of public-private partnerships.

- Broader understanding of emerging health care issues.

- Identifying new ways of combating diseases.

- Partnerships with other organizations whose skills and contributions complement our strengths and expertise.

Local Communities

- Responsible and safe operations wherever Abbott operates.

- Philanthropic commitment to unmet community needs.

- Abbott is fully engaged in the communities where we operate, and we treat our local communities with respect.

- Abbott engages in thoughtful and effective philanthropy.

- We employ local people and pay taxes to local governments.

- We support educational efforts, civic and cultural programs and community health care organizations.

- In 2012, we paid $1.4 billion in income taxes.

- We maintain strong relationships with the communities where we operate.

Our Suppliers

- Ethics, labor laws and health and safety.

- Support for small and diverse suppliers.

- Our suppliers are a critical link in providing high-quality, safe ingredients.

- Abbott maintains a strong Supplier Social Responsibility program, a formal Supplier Performance Program and a Supplier Diversity Program.

- Feedback that improves both supplier processes and our own.

- In 2012, we spent $2.2 billion with small and diverse suppliers.

Global Citizenship Advisory Council

In 2012, Abbott established a Global Citizenship Advisory Council (GCAC) to formalize our approach to stakeholder engagement on key business and sustainability issues. GCAC grew out of a multi-stakeholder forum we hosted in late 2010 to obtain insights and perspectives from a diverse group of stakeholders, including a wide range of international NGOs, academics and think tanks.

That forum, moderated by the SustainAbility consultancy, helped us and our stakeholders gain clearer understanding of mutual priorities and concerns. Participants also provided Abbott with valuable recommendations for improving our business and citizenship strategies, programs and impacts. To review commentary on our last citizenship report by one of the GCAC members, click here.

GCAC’s objectives are to:

  • Explore issues and opportunities for effective collaboration on critical global sustainability challenges and the ways in which Abbott can have the most positive impact
  • Inform Abbott’s strategic planning – both short- and long-term – for core business and citizenship activities
  • Provide specific recommendations for improving Abbott’s business and citizenship strategies, programs and impacts

Current GCAC members include:

  • Stephanie Aument, Senior Sustainability Analyst and Manager, Research and Analytics, Calvert Investments
  • Gary Edson, CEO, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund
  • Jordan Kassalow, Founder and CEO, VisionSpring; Ashoka Global Health Fellow
  • Jessica McGlyn, Director, World Business Council on Sustainable Development ‒ United States
  • Jane Nelson, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Chris Perceval, Director of Corporate Relations, World Resources Institute
  • Thomas Tighe, President and CEO, Direct Relief International
  • David Vidal, Research Director, Global Corporate Citizenship, The Conference Board; Chairman, The Conference Board Center for Sustainability

Abbott’s Divisional Vice President of Global Citizenship and Policy serves as chair of the GCAC. Other Abbott executives and managers, representing Abbott’s key commercial business units and functions, as well as citizenship and reporting, participate regularly in the meetings.

Note: All data reflects Abbott activities in 2012. Some content has been adjusted to remove data specific to AbbVie, which became a separate company on Jan. 1, 2013.