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Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi-Aventis and Abbott Lead Big Pharma in CSR Reporting

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi-Aventis and Abbott Laboratories led the pharmaceutical sector for publicly reporting on environmental and social issues, a new analysis found.

The Roberts Environmental Center (REC) at Claremont McKenna College studied the information offered on the websites of 26 of the largest pharmaceutical companies from around the world. Researchers found a slight connection between scores and annual revenue, with some exceptions.

"The rankings were slightly correlated with annual revenue of companies; however, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, the two largest companies in the sector, both showed room for improvement, receiving scores of B+ and B-, respectively," wrote Bukola Jimoh, the lead analyst of "Sustainability Reporting of the World's Largest Pharmaceutical Companies." "Conversely, the eight lowest scoring companies are of only 10 firms in the sector with annual revenues lower than $5 billion."

In general, social reporting tends to be stronger in the pharmaceutical sector than environmental reporting, the analysis found. One possible explanation is the fact that pharmaceutical companies are more likely to promote equity in medical care access and medicine than other sectors. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, for example, committed $150 million last year to research targeting the least developed countries and vulnerable populations, according to the report. As a whole, however, less than 60 percent of companies discussed on their websites their efforts to boost access to health care in low-income areas.

Slightly more than 60 percent of companies surveyed reported on their energy use and consumption, while less than 60 percent reported greenhouse gas emissions, waste and green power consumption. Slightly more than half reported water, hazardous waste and volatile organic carbon data.

In some cases, a low score didn't truly reflect company efforts to address social and environmental issues, according to Elgeritte Adidjaja, a REC research fellow.

"Biogen Idec scored low in the rankings," Adidjaja said in a statement Monday.  "However, after speaking with a representative responsible for sustainability matters, the company appears to be committed to many environmental programs, but they are not yet ready to make sustainability information public."

The report uses the Pacific Sustainability Index to creates the scores, dubbed PSI, which is based on transparency, intent and performance of social and environmental data. REC has analyzed several sector for environmental and social reporting, including chemicals, telecommunications, entertainment, electronics and semiconductor and other industries, as well as California businesses.

Here is a summary for the scores:

Highest Overall Scores
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Abbott Laboratories

Highest Environmental Reporting Scores
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Johnson & Johnson
Abbott Laboratories

Highest Social Reporting Scores
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Abbott Laboratories

Lowest Overall Scores
Forest Laboratories
King Pharmaceuticals

Image CC licensed by Flickr user rodrigo senna.

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