Take a look at our previous reports:

Material aspect 4: We care about the environment, health, and safety

SDG 3 (icon)
SDG 8 (icon)
SDG 13 (icon)

Our mission is to bring innovative medicines with novel modes of action to patients suffering from severe diseases in the most sustainable way, caring about the health, safety and well-being of our employees and respecting our planet by keeping our environmental footprint to a minimum.

To render this more tangible, in 2021 we issued a global environmental, health and safety (EHS) policy, defining key operational guidelines focusing on:

1. Ensuring regulatory compliance:

As we operate in a highly regulated sector which is subject to a set of strict laws and regulations related to environmental impact, well-being and safety of employees, we identify, evaluate and comply with all applicable EHS laws, in all countries in which Galapagos operates.

2. Growing sustainable operations:

  • To prevent work-related injury and illness, we provide safe and healthy working conditions that are appropriate to the specific nature of the EHS risks to which workers and others are exposed;
  • We minimize the organization’s carbon footprint and the creation of pollution and waste from our operations throughout our value chain;
  • We strive to diminish our consumption of natural resources, using sustainable resources where possible;
  • We pursue, evaluate and eliminate the health and safety risks to which our employees and service suppliers are exposed, to prevent any incidents or accidents;
  • We foster openness and dialogue on EHS matters with our employees, employee representatives and internal and external stakeholders;
  • We educate, train, motivate and involve Galapagos employees to work in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, making every employee responsible for protecting people and environment in and around their workplace.

Our health and safety performance data for 2021 show that no fatalities because of work-related injuries or work-related ill-health were reported, nor did we have any high-consequence work-related injuries.

In accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative Standard 403 on Occupational Health and Safety the following data, related to employees on Galapagos’ payroll, can be provided:

Material aspect 4: our actions in 2021

  • Whilst a hybrid working policy was offered as a guidance for teams to start working in the ‘next normal’ and to decide what works best for them during and beyond the pandemic, specific measures to mitigate pandemic-related health and safety risks were discussed at the newly established Cross-Site Operations Meeting. These discussions resulted in global travel guidelines, guidance on organizing and attending internal and external events, as well as habits to consistently keep hygiene rules in mind. Thanks to disciplined adherence, operations in 2021 were hardly impacted by the pandemic
  • The pandemic also led to an increased focus on physical and mental well-being, aimed at providing employees with optimal working conditions whether at home or at a Galapagos location. Specific actions included: surveys aimed at identifying psychosocial risks, training sessions for line management aimed at recognizing early symptoms of burn-out, a cash allowance to help install and maintain a professional working environment at home, ergonomic training sessions aimed at optimizing workstations at home, and mindfulness sessions. A first voluntary, global vaccination campaign against the seasonal flu was successfully launched
  • Additional joint health and safety committees were established to ensure that potential issues are proactively addressed, and proposed programs are constructively challenged and optimized
  • We supported new operations in six countries, set up to grow our commercialization efforts as part of an overall commercial ambition, by creating a network of EHS experts providing country-specific advice on employee health, safety, and wellbeing
  • Within this context, we strengthened our product stewardship capabilities to ensure compliance with any Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) requirements
  • Criteria addressing social and environmental sustainability were included in the selection processes of key vendors such as facility management providers and contract manufacturing organizations, as well as in the design of any new facilities (where BREEAM1 and WELL2 guidelines are applied), and certification is sought when appropriate

Future ambitions

  • As part of our CSR strategy, we will define a long-term ambition, qualitative and quantitative objectives and an implementation roadmap focusing on optimizing employee health, safety, and well-being, promoting a circular mindset, and minimizing our carbon footprint throughout our value chain. We will identify relevant performance indicators to measure and report on the progress we make and for inclusion in future reports
  • In support of this, we will launch specific 'Planet' and 'Wellbeing' workstreams at global and local level to co-create and implement the roadmaps, also leveraging existing initiatives such as 'Next Ways of Working'
  • To raise awareness and boost engagement, we will start celebrating the United Nation’s World Safety Day on 28 April and World Environment Day on 5 June
  • We will define our ecological footprint, focusing on scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions, water consumption and waste management
  • We will include any agreed ambitions, objectives, and initiatives in our EHS Management Systems aimed at mitigating any related risks
  • We will specifically review our processes related to emergency response, maintenance management and contractor management, and integrate them into a newly created Data Management System

1 1BREEAM is a profound sustainability assessment for masterplanning projects, infrastructure, and building. It recognises and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment.

2 2The WELL Building Standard takes a holistic approach to health in the built environment addressing behavior, operations and design, and is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.