Message from our leaders
I am pleased to introduce Abcam’s second sustainability report and sister publication to our Annual Report. Similarly, following the change in the accounting period, Our Impact 2021 sets out the continued sustainability progress made over the past 18 months, as well as our priorities for the future.
When we think about global issues that shape our industry – economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological – each brings with it risk and/or opportunity to rethink how we behave. Hosting COP26 in the UK last year brought home that climate change affects everyone, and there is no doubt that it will require global action to course correct. Abcam’s carbon footprint is small, as set out in the report. Nonetheless, we continue to seek ways to reduce our impact on the planet. We recognise that improving health, diversity and inclusion, and addressing inequality, cybersecurity and the consequences of geopolitical instability are more material to Abcam.
Our industry cares about driving positive health outcomes that improve patients’ lives. During the global pandemic, biotechnology companies worldwide pivoted efforts to tackle COVID-19. The pandemic taught us there is an opportunity for global collaboration and that viruses, like other diseases, don’t care who they impact. It is vital that we maintain and build upon this collaborative response. But beyond collaboration, it is our role as an industry sector to relentlessly pursue faster and better technologies and to educate governments and national agencies to prepare ourselves for the future. Throughout the pandemic, Abcam supported the dedicated research efforts around the globe to understand the virus and then develop vaccines. We are proud of our contribution and extend our thanks again to our team for their unstinting contributions and efforts.
Since its founding, Abcam has been driven by a powerful purpose and is committed to responsible practices. Interest in ESG has grown in awareness and importance in recent years; the ‘Social’ aspect of ESG – and in particular, Abcam’s culture and people – has always been a critical part of our success. I am proud of the culture the company has nurtured and delighted that Abcam was recognised as a top five employer in the UK in the annual Glassdoor awards for the second year running. This was also reflected in Britain’s Most Admired Company awards, in which Abcam was recognised by peers as having the highest commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion within the healthcare industry.
Our commitment to building a sustainable business is evident in how we deliver our strategy and spans the quality and impact of our products, the workspaces we provide, the talent we attract and retain, the ethical standards across our supply chain we uphold, and reducing our environmental footprint. Under Alan Hirzel’s stewardship, we continue to improve in each of these areas, and I am pleased that we have this report to provide further detail on our progress toward our sustainability commitments and goals.
It is our people who build a sustainable company, and our leaders who steer the way. It is our customers who demand quality, speed and innovation, and our partners who bring their energy and perspective to our collaborations. And it is our investors who demand that we set a standard for delivering our goals in a sustainable way. I want to thank our employees, our customers, our partners, our suppliers, and our investors, who have all contributed to our sustainability story.
Chief Executive Officer
I began my letter to shareholders in the annual report with the heading “Moving forward with courage and hope”. This sentiment applies equally in this message to Abcam stakeholders in our second sustainability report.
As I reflect on the past 18 months, I am struck by the responsiveness of our sector and its impact on saving lives. Through the dedication and collaboration of scientists and researchers worldwide, we have collectively established a greater appreciation for life sciences and innovation. Now, more than ever, our sector and our company are poised to enable scientific breakthroughs even faster, with ever better quality research tools, greater rigour, dependability and speed, and an even greater passion for collaboration. Amidst this time of turmoil and loss, I am lifted by our enduring purpose.
Our sustainability framework – illustrated on page 12 of this report – describes our model for sustainable value creation. Sustainability is part of our business and not an add-on. In addition to our 10 long-term sustainability commitments, we provide insight into our specific commitments and key performance indicators (KPIs) under each of the four pillars: Products, People, Partners and Planet, and our performance during the 18-month period under review. More than that, we seek to illustrate the difference we make – our impact – through case studies throughout this report.
In developing Our Impact 2021, we have considered both macro issues facing our world and the issues that our stakeholders have told us are most material to them. We recognise and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and evidence this throughout this report. In November 2020, Abcam was admitted as a signatory to the UN Global Compact (UNGC), and our first UNGC progress report will be submitted by May 2022 and published on our website at that time. Our report content and structure have been informed by the principles and guidance of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and a detailed GRI content index may be found on our website.
The reporting period has been one of significant growth for Abcam, with new facilities, employees and partners all contributing to our vision of being the most influential life science company.
In looking back on the period under review, there were significant achievements:
Product: We are proud to have won two awards at the 2021 CiteAb Awards. Well-deserved was Dr. Alejandra Solache’s recognition “for significant individual impact”, and we were delighted to be awarded “antibody supplier succeeding in cardiovascular research”.
Of the 55,000 primary antibodies on our catalogue, 24,000 of them are recombinant, reinforcing leadership of quality and repeatability in the sector.
For the 12 months ended 31 December 2021 our in-house product revenue has risen to 61% of total catalogue revenue, demonstrating our ability to innovate and lean into our internal resources and capacity.
People: Our people fuel our performance and growth. We combine exceptional talent, a high-performance culture, internal talent mobility, and opportunities for inclusion and personal fulfilment. Our people want to make a difference, and they do. With our open communication culture and multiple channels, our global team have many opportunities to engage with each other and the company’s leaders.
An area where I believe we really stand out is in respect of diversity and inclusion. We launched our strategy, established multiple Employee Resource Groups, and introduced diversity and inclusion targets tied to senior management compensation. The appointment of a new head of diversity and inclusion has cemented our increased attention in this area, not only to maintain and build an inclusive culture within the organisation but to increase and improve social mobility within groups who may not be aware of options for a STEM (and non-STEM) career.
Partners: Our approach to partnership is proving successful. Since our last report, we commercialised 580 new clones, ensuring we are enabling leading new diagnostic or therapeutic tools for the future. The pandemic reminded us how truly interconnected our world is.
As biotechnology companies worldwide pivoted efforts to tackle COVID-19 together, so did we, and we have seen collaboration with many new partners to address critical healthcare problems.
In January 2021, we announced a partnership with EcoVadis, a leading and trusted provider of business sustainability ratings, to support sustainability across our supply chain through the proactive monitoring and assessment of supplier performance and risk. By the end of December, over 70 of our major suppliers were audited.
Planet: We recognise that climate change is a pressing global issue and that we need to consider and plan for the impact that it may have on our business, as well as contribute to its mitigation. Since our last report, we commissioned a climate change consultancy to support us in determining the climate related risks and opportunities that most apply to Abcam. We are working towards full TCFD disclosure from 2022.
In fulfilling our purpose of serving life scientists to achieve their mission, faster, we have a direct, meaningful, and lasting impact on the world, one that helps accelerate breakthroughs in human healthcare. We continue to strive to be the best that we can, making a positive impact on our customers, employees, communities, environment, and society as a whole. We welcome your feedback on this report and look forward to continued progress in the future.
Chief Executive Officer
SVP HR and Global Sponsor for Sustainability
To deliver on our purpose and for our business to thrive, we need to have strong relationships with our stakeholders – our customers, employees, partners, shareholders and communities and wider society. We seek to understand our stakeholders’ needs, by engaging with them regularly and effectively.
A detailed discussion of who these stakeholders are, how we have engaged with them and on what, may be found in the section on Our stakeholders in our Annual Report.
As SVP of HR, my passion is our people, and I remain a restless advocate of Abcam being the very best place to work and helping create an environment where our people thrive – not just in their roles but in doing things that they love for the benefits of all stakeholders. In fact, we are proud to be recognised again in 2021 as a top five employer on Glassdoor in the UK for two consecutive years and to have been recognised at the Employee Experience Awards 2021, where we won Gold for Employee Centric Large Company, Gold for Employee Reward and Recognition, and Silver for our Employee Experience in a Crisis.
The support and feedback we have received from our colleagues through our internal engagement platforms and external recognition has been pleasing, but does not mean we are not seeking to do more:
Getting this right, means that we will be better positioned to serve our customers better, and pave the way for new discoveries, faster.
I want to ensure alignment across, and better communication with, all our stakeholders. So I’m especially proud to have this channel where we continue to update on sustainability progress made.
Through this report, we hope to provide some insight into what we do and how we do it and I am excited by the stories, of course. But we recognise that stakeholders want regular, transparent reporting, and we have taken steps to further align our reporting with the Global Reporting Initiative, the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Global Compact.
In developing our report content, we have considered the macro issues facing our sector and our business and the issues and concerns raised by our stakeholders. In addition to conversations with our teams and our customers, we also meet with investors and ESG analysts to get their perspectives. We have also spelled out more clearly our commitments and the key performance indicators against which we measure our progress.
We welcome the feedback of our stakeholders on our report at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SVP HR and Global Sponsor for Sustainability
Our sustainability framework weaves together our purpose, culture and strategy, and sets out our priority areas.
It is for everyone in the business to play their part: from our Board of Directors through to all of our employees.
As we continue to create sustainable value, we recognise the actions we take and progress we make are dynamic and ongoing.