- What: Sanofi has established an advisory board with international experts in order to better understand the impact of climate change on health.
- Context: The company’s expertise in diseases that are affected by climate change (e.g., malaria, dengue, cholera, leishmaniasis and animal health) make the company well placed to investigate this area.
- Details: The advisory board is composed of a climatologist, two doctors, and experts working for Sanofi in the areas of access to medicines, corporate social responsibility (CSR), public affairs, environment, communication, vaccines and R&D.
- Objective: The advisory board aims to target the issue of climate change affecting health globally, with a focus on the company’s areas of expertise.
In 2015, Sanofi took a strong commitment on the issue of the impact of climate change on health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) projects nearly 250,000 additional deaths annually between 2030 and 2050 due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and stress related to heat, as a consequence of climate change. As highlighted in the report of the 2015 Commission on Health and Climate Change published in The Lancet: “The effects of climate change are being felt today, and future projections represent an unacceptably high and potentially catastrophic risk to human health.” This also recognises that climate change will first impact the most vulnerable people in the countries with the weakest infrastructure. This will raise issues around access to treatments and vaccines.
As a consequence, Sanofi has committed to investigate the topic of climate change. The company’s expertise in certain diseases that are affected by climate change (malaria, dengue, cholera, leishmaniasis and animal health) makes the company well placed to investigate this area. Sanofi has set up an advisory board with international experts in order to better understand the impact of climate change on health, and define the company’s position on this issue.
The importance of this commitment was reinforced by the global outbreak of the Zika virus, as experts consider that climate change may have played a role in the spread of the disease. In February 2016, Sanofi announced the launch of a R&D project targeting the prevention of Zika virus infection and disease.
The advisory board is composed of external experts in the area of climate change and health (a climatologist and two doctors focusing their work on the link between climate change and health). Experts from Sanofi (including access to medicines, CSR, public affairs, environment, communication, vaccines and R&D) are also members of this advisory board. Three meetings of the advisory board took place between April 2015 and September 2015. This enabled Sanofi to get more knowledge on the topic and better understand issues at stake.
This was also a major step to engage with external stakeholders. During COP21 in December 2015, Sanofi organised a series of events in Paris in order to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on health, including a conference with the WHO and the UN Foundation.