Risk management

The contents of this page are reviewed and updated regularly in the second quarter of each year or when necessary.


Identifying, analysing and responding appropriately to business risks and opportunities is vital to attaining Roche’s business objectives, protecting the interests of stakeholders and meeting legal requirements. 

Managing risk and opportunities

The Roche Risk Management Policy describes our approach for managing material risks – the possibility that an event will occur and adversely affect the achievement of Roche’s objectives.

Risk Management is an integral part of the group’s business practice on all levels of the Roche group. Risk Management includes:

  • identification,
  • analysis and evaluation of risks,
  • the appropriate response,
  • tracking and reporting of risks to provide assurance regarding the achievement of objectives.

On Roche Group level this is formalised in the Group Risk Management Process, where Divisional and Group functions and business areas assess risks and develop plans for the most material ones identified. This happens in parallel to the development of the business plans.

A consolidated Group Risk Report is then discussed and approved together with the business plan by the Corporate Executive Committee and reviewed by the Board of Directors.

This process is overall supported by Group Risk Advisory, which is responsible for the necessary alignment, co-ordination and development of Group Risk Management. Continuous improvement is applied to the Group Risk Management Process through stakeholder feedback and maturity measurement, and when appropriate external reviews.

In addition Group Risk Advisory is coordinating / consolidating various risk management activities across the organisation including training and risk awareness activities. Risk management trainings include customised trainings for line management and Risk Managers (including a mandatory online training). There are further trainings including classroom and online trainings that are available for employees. Additionally, upon request Risk Awareness workshops are conducted for functions and regions and Roche Affiliates can receive risk management training to establish their own Risk Management process. These activities also focus on identification and management of risks as well as opportunities.

Also under the lead of Group Risk Advisory, a Risk Forum was kicked off in 2014 to create a cross functional network to explore new ways to raise risk awareness across the organisation. This has evolved into a Risk & Opportunity Alliance (ROAD) which conducts innovation dialogues/workshops to address complex topics which have a cross functional/divisional significance.  

Beside Group Risk Advisory many other 2nd lines of controls perform risk management activities and trainings (e.g. Healthcare Compliance, Medical Compliance, Safety, Health & Environment (SHE), Quality, Procurement, Pharma Global Technical Operations, etc.). In addition many cross-functional risk activities occur within Roche, a few of which are described below as examples.

Financial Risk Management within the Group is governed by policies reviewed by the Board of Directors. Policy implementation and day-to-day Risk Management are carried out by the treasury functions and regular reporting on these risks is performed by the relevant accounting and controlling functions.

Crisis Management, where  every subsidiary of the Group have established Emergency Management teams, with corresponding alarm and escalation procedures and authority to act quickly in the event of a crisis. Also, at Roche Group level there is a Roche Emergency Management Organisation and Support (REMOS), supporting Local Emergency Management when needed. These teams comprise operational line management with appropriate authority and they rehearse different crisis scenarios regularly.

A risk-based compliance management approach was developed in 2013 for one of the regional organisations to target compliance efforts to areas most at risk. A Compliance & Risk Management Office has been established to address specific risks in the procurement area.

Safety, Security, Health and Environmental risks are managed by Group SHE. A comprehensive bottom-up approach is used to identify and assess all SHE risks which are consolidated in a risk inventory and integrated into the Roche GRR.

Product Development continues to apply a consistent methodology for identification and management of risks that could impact achievement of development projects.

Digital Media Risk and opportunities continue to be monitored and managed by a cross-functional group.

A group wide Business Continuity Programme aims to further strengthen our business continuity management (BCM) to ensure that all sites respond effectively to catastrophic events and deliver a minimum, acceptable level of key products and services. The respective Group BCM policy and guideline is in place, facilitating a consistent and aligned local implementation.

Business sustainability risks and opportunities

We consider Sustainability in a broader context to include three elements: society, the environment and economy. The three elements are interdependent. The Corporate Sustainability Committee is responsible for assessing social, environmental and ethical risks, which is done through the ‘Business Sustainability Risk Assessment’ process. Each year, emerging trends (including associated risks and opportunities) are identified from internal and external sources and are reviewed by selected internal stakeholder groups and the top 5 business sustainability risks and opportunities are approved by the Corporate Sustainability Committee. These trends represent key areas where we would like to raise internal awareness so that the associated risks and opportunities can be considered as appropriate by our Roche Risk Managers in the respective Risk Assessment of their entity. Since 2013  these Business Sustainability risks and/or trends have been reported in the Roche Annual Report.  This process continues to evolve and is reviewed by the Corporate Sustainability Committee annually. 

These top 5 business sustainability risks and opportunities are also shared with the Group Risk Managers involved with the Group Risk Management Process where they are then considered and if relevant included within scope for their functional/divisional risk assessment. Mitigation of these business sustainability risks and opportunities are done at the Functional and/or Departmental level as part of their Risk Management Process, but not at the Group level.

The 5 business sustainability trends identified for 2016 are:

  • Digital evolution: companies are becoming more and more dependent on cutting-edge information technology and digital data, hence raising the question of data integrity and data confidentiality. Cyber threats and cloud security are also considered.
  • Innovation: the constant evolution of life sciences and technologies requires companies to adapt their innovation strategy in order to constantly embrace scientific progress and business opportunities.
  • Corporate evolution: global corporations are exposed to growing complexity of their business environment, including an increasing number of third-party relationships and partnerships.
  • Government and society: companies now have to include multiple stakeholders in their decision making process, including governments, nongovernmental organisations and other citizen groups.
  • Economic Instability (Erosion of Future Growth):Economic instability leading to failure of national governments, high market volatility (e.g. financial markets, oil price) or unpredictable politics and thus impacting the ability to operate as usual and to perform research, to develop, to produce and supply drugs and diagnostics.

Using Digital Evolution and Corporate Evolution as examples you can see below how these are then developed into specific risks and opportunities at the level of the functions where specific mitigations are applied and managed.