Sustainability Success Stories

Photovoltaic panels for our new manufacturing site in China


We built a new large Roche Diagnostics manufacturing unit in Suzhou, China which will provide diagnostics products for the whole Asia region. Knowing about the large problems in China with the environment and air quality, we wanted to make our contribution to clean air and environmental protection in China. We installed 2’600 units of photovoltaic panels on the roof of our large production building and warehouse for the whole Asia region at our new Roche Diagnostics site in Suzhou, China. This enabled us to run the whole office building on green power. The photovoltaic panels produce enough power to allow to provide excessive electricity to the local grid. The new site started operation in early 2019.

7 million hours of safe working on Suzhou construction site


Safety issues are quite common in the China construction industry. When planning our new big Roche Diagnostics site in Suzhou, China we made no compromise on safety. We designed for an accident-free project execution. The target was to achieve zero Loss Time Injuries (LTI) which means all the people are working safely on site from the very first day until the completion of the construction on site. Ensuring the health and wellbeing of all workers on site was a priority. In the bidding process we selected construction companies and subcontractors that put safety first and had proven track records of ensuring safe working conditions. In total, since the start of the construction work, more than 7 million safe working hours were recorded until completion of construction end of 2018. This is equivalent to more than 3’000 “working years” with zero loss time incidents.

Supporting supplier diversity in the UK


Our Roche Pharma procurement organization in the UK demonstrated that social responsibility and diversity are important for Roche by awarding business to a small, woman-owned creative advertising agency for a marketing project. The small agency’s business model offered opportunities to women for flexible working, including work from home, allowing them to fit family commitments and job under one umbrella. A woman working at the agency expressed that she felt like winning at work and at motherhood. The agency’s team was encouraged to fit work around their lives and was trusted to meet deadlines, allowing them to decide when, where and how they best work. The agency delivered a marketing campaign for the launch of one of our new blockbuster products on time and to our full satisfaction. Promoting this kind of supplier diversity enables us to tap into a pool of talented women. This made a difference because the focus in sourcing is commonly still on men-owned large agencies that can offer a full range of services.

Carbon footprint reduction – “from Air to Sea”


At Roche we are committed to reducing the environmental footprint of our operations, including our supply chain. In our logistics operations, significant amounts of medicine shipments are transported via air cargo. While this enables short transportation times, the cost and the environmental footprint of this transportation mode are high. Our logistics colleagues analyzed the worldwide logistics routes and identified optimization potential especially in some high-volume off-patent medicines by changing the transportation mode from air to sea. The experts made sure that the change would not jeopardize sustained supply to patient. This way, in the time frame 2017-2018 alone, more than 1’000 shipments were switched from air to sea transportation. This reduced the carbon footprint per shipment by 95% and on top of this generated cost savings of more than 1 million CHF since the start of the project.

Turning disability into ability

The recognition of human rights ensures that people have a right to be treated with dignity. For example, our RocheAbility network promotes the involvement of Basel and Kaiseraugst employees with disabilities and focuses on the strengths and abilities of each individual. The Basel & Kaiseraugst location has begun to work with inclusive service providers and plans to expand its collaboration. One example is the citizen hospital in Basel, which provides important services to Roche. With the introduction of the inclusive internship program, the local organization also wants to further improve the diversity of its workforce. The internship is open to people with various disabilities, from physical disabilities to neurodevelopmental disorders.

Innovative sourcing solution for next-generation sequencing



Scientists need innovative technologies to better understand disease biology and, ultimately, enhance the discovery and development of new medicines.

The challenge:

It is crucial to find the right partner to develop test panels, allowing hundreds of human genetic mutations to be examined at the same time. Only very few suppliers are able to perform clinical testing under high regulatory requirements.

The solution:

Roche scientists and procurement specialists together selected a partner to develop tests meeting the US government compliance standard and, at the same time, reducing costs significantly. The test panel accelerates drug development and leads to safer and more effective therapeutic solutions for the patient.

Human Rights Initiative


At Roche, we hold ourselves to high ethical standards. Our stakeholders expect Roche to use our influence and global presence to prevent human rights abuses, like modern slavery, from impacting our supply chain. In 2017, the Human Rights Task Force developed tools and processes designed to identify and impact human rights abuses in our supply chain by enhancing our existing risk management processes. The enhanced risk processes helped us to identify commodities, services, and locations that have an elevated risk of modern slavery. Our enhanced processes enable us to identify where vulnerable people could potentially enter our supply chain. We are working with our suppliers to identify and stop any human rights violations. It helps us to increase supply chain transparency and reduce human rights risk across the supply chain.

Supplier Days: Foster trustful relationships


In 2018, we held again supplier days in many countries worldwide. In total, more than 500 suppliers attended the supplier days. The supplier days included sustainability and compliance topics. They were designed to create better awareness among our suppliers about the expectations and standards of Roche and foster the mutual relationship with our suppliers. Topics included education about our supplier sustainability assurance visit program, environmental footprint reduction, compliance with the Roche Supplier Code of Conduct, and collaboration on innovation. The best suppliers received awards in various categories.

Supplier diversity fosters innovation


Roche is committed to developing mutually advantageous business relationships with diverse and small businesses globally. We have supplier diversity included in our Supplier Code of Conduct as one of the sustainability principles. In 2018 our spend with small companies in the U.S. was $808 million which accounts for 14% of our spend there.

We believe diversity fosters innovation and innovation creates competition. We effectively support small and diverse businesses via capability building, expanding their footprint and helping them with supplier financing options to manage their cash flow. We support advocacy organisations like Diversity Alliance for Science, business matchmaking sessions and provide speakers for supplier diversity events. These venues provide us with opportunities to meet new suppliers and vice versa.

Collaborative Risk and Business Continuity Management in Technical Operations Procurement


The situation

Special tailored resins are required as raw materials for the manufacturing of biological drug substance. We source them from key suppliers. In the collaboration with them we identified a significant supply interruption risk. Ensuring the continuity of supply is of major importance to avoid negative impacts on production and supply of medicines to patients.

Our approach

We worked closely with the suppliers, setting clear expectations by sharing Roche's business continuity and sustainability standards and we learned from them about their own programs. Based on this, we conducted a deeper analysis to understand and address gaps between the approaches on both sides. We made amendments to the risk management and business continuity plans in close collaboration with these suppliers.

The outcome

Through the activities we now have a better understanding of supply interruption risks and we have taken action to close the gaps. This has reduced the risk scores and improved security of supply. The value lies in mitigating potential risks, and also fostering the close relationship with each supplier. The suppliers now stand out as best practice examples of collaborating on risk management.

Driving eco footprint reduction in our global car fleet

We successfully established a global fleet council that provided full transparency of the economic footprint for each individual car from our 164 sites worldwide. We identified preferred fleet service providers and established reduction targets for fuel consumption and carbon emission in close collaboration with human resources, procurement and business stakeholders. This triggered the fleet companies to offer new car models, including hybrid and electrical vehicles that have lower eco footprint while ensuring high safety standards. During the course of the last 10 years, we were able to reduce the eco footprint per car by more than 30% and we saved more than 3 million Swiss francs in fuel cost. We also offered courses in safe and economic driving to employees in order to increase awareness and drive behavior change.