Our Approach

Creating Shared Value

For more than 135 years, Eli Lilly and Company has shown its commitment to be a responsible global citizen -- in large part, through a long history of philanthropic contributions. Today, however, our understanding of corporate responsibility is evolving beyond charity and reaching into the core of our business operations. We're drawing on our scientific, technical and business expertise to serve patients, meet the community's needs and reduce our environmental footprint.

Our Approach

Lilly’s emerging vision of our responsibility as a company is inspired by the concept of "shared value," developed by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer of Harvard. We believe that Lilly can help solve today’s social problems by finding intersections between what society needs and what we do best—and then developing collaborative, strategic initiatives that both serve society and enhance business performance. Aligning our business with pressing social needs opens up new opportunities to provide greater value to people around the world.

Lilly’s greatest contribution in this regard is to continue to discover and develop innovative medicines, which we believe will be among the most powerful tools to improve the quality and reduce the cost of health care going forward. We aim to put a special focus on improving the health of underserved people in low- and middle-income countries around the globe through The Lilly Global Health Innovation Campaign.

We’ll also work to improve global health by helping expand access to medicines, by working to strengthen policies that foster better health, by providing help to those in need, and by being an active participant in the communities we serve.

Key Issues

"The business community can–and must–play a vital role in addressing complex societal problems. It’s clear that writing a check or donating product alone doesn’t have a lasting impact. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that when a company engages with partners in an area in which the company has deep expertise and a vested interest, society benefits and the company enhances its own performance."

John Lechleiter

Ph.D., Lilly chairman, president and chief executive officer

Lilly considers a variety of factors and stakeholder input to determine which issues are most relevant or important to our business and our corporate responsibility performance. These factors include: patient needs, conversations and interviews with stakeholders, investor queries and feedback, business strategy and risk assessment, public policy dialogue and legislative debate, and employee interests.

We consider the following corporate responsibility issues to be among the most important to our core business:

  • The development and production of safe and effective medicines, 
  • Upholding ethical standards in business practice, research and development, and marketing,
  • Addressing issues of access to medicines and affordability,
  • Maintaining a diverse and engaged global workforce, and 
  • Minimizing environmental impacts and waste.

Approach to Reporting

Lilly is committed to regular reporting about our corporate responsibility performance. Our corporate responsibility reports are an important expression of our commitment to transparency and accountability, and a tool for dialogue with our stakeholders. Our reports reflect our commitment to the principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.

Corporate Responsibility at Lilly

We believe that collaborating with governments and other stakeholders builds trust and reinforces our mutual interest in bringing value to patients and society. And we know that conducting our business responsibly enables us to attract a principled, passionate, and creative workforce—individuals who seek to contribute their talents to our mission of improving global health. Lilly continues to explore new ways of gaining and sharing insights on a range of relevant responsibility issues. In 2010, we launched LillyPad, a blog that focuses on public policy issues, such as health and wellness, innovation, and job creation, as well as our corporate responsibility initiatives and advocacy efforts.

As a global company, Lilly governs corporate responsibility issues through our global corporate affairs leadership. The senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications (SVPCAC) reports directly to the chief executive officer and sits on the corporation’s executive committee, which facilitates direct engagement with other senior Lilly executives on corporate responsibility priorities, actions, and outcomes. The SVPCAC also reports regularly to the public policy and compliance committee of the board of directors, providing a link to the corporation’s highest governing body. At the operational level, the senior director of corporate responsibility (SDCR) reports directly to the SVPCAC and also sits on the global corporate affairs leadership team.

This operational framework allows for cross-functional work on key global corporate responsibility issues. Environmental issues are managed by Lilly’s health, safety, and environmental organization, which also reports to the company’s CEO.

Both the SVPCAC and the SDCR play a critical role in engaging a range of external stakeholders—including government, nongovernment, and multi-sector private entities—in dialogue on corporate responsibility issues. Lilly corporate responsibility staff at all levels coordinate with the corporate secretary, government affairs, investor relations, and community relations departments to promote dialogue with key stakeholders