Social responsibility

Social responsibility

Measuring and improving well-being at work

Throughout the year, emphasis was placed on the topics of information and communication as well as those of training and development. The first component stands out, in particular by improving the transmission of company-wide strategic decisions made through regular and tiered information meetings across the departments or by rolling out formalized and implemented best practices on subjects such as information sharing, improving transversality and “working better together”.

Increasing the visibility of the actions carried out within the various departments also makes it possible to enhance Virbac’s expertise, both individually and collectively.

The Group continues to invest in Digital Learning, which figures prominently in the deployment of training courses, combining e-learning and practical activities over a period of time.

In addition, specific customized training projects geared towards topics as varied as collaboration, project management or business relationship management have emerged, as well as individual support through coaching or personalized follow-up.

Developing employees also means offering more career opportunities within the Group. World-wide open positions are brought to the attention of employees by publishing them on the Virbac Intranet, so as to promote increased internal and international mobility. To better respond to the increase in employee transfers from one entity to another in the years to come, practices in this area have been harmonized by developing a Group-wide comprehensive and equitable international mobility policy.

Facilitating the transmission of information for improved sharing, optimizing operating methods to increase efficiency and enhancing the development of know-how to ensure quality skills are all practices that aim to strike a balance between the performance of the company and improving the quality of working life from a sustainable development perspective.

Labour practices and decent work

Employment

In 2017, within the scope of social reporting, Virbac hired 519 new employees compared to 682 in 2016. India, with 137 new recruits, France, with 126 and North America with 53 account for 61% of the total number of new hires. In terms of age groups, it is relatively stable compared to 2016, with 48% of new hires under 30, 46% between 30 and 50, and 6% over 50 years of age. The subsidiary that hires the most young people is India, with 82% of new recruits under 30 years of age. It should also be noted that Uruguay and Vietnam mainly hire young people, with more than 60% under the age of 30, followed by France, with 48%, or 60 new hires out of 126. In contrast, North America recruited the most experienced employees with 68% between 30 and 50 and 23% over 50 years of age. In terms of gender, India still stands out for recruiting a majority of men, since this practice relates to the role of seller, which is typically assumed by males in this country.

Staff turnover

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With 555 departures, total staff turnover rate in 2017 was 13.6%, down one point from 2016 (14.6%). The countries in which we see the highest staff turnover rates are Uruguay, with 34%, the United Kingdom, with 30.8%, and the United States, with 22.6%.

With less than 5%, Germany, Italy, Japan and South Africa are the countries in which we see the fewest departures. The number of departures amounts to 211 for women, or 13.1% of the population, and 344 for men, or 13.9%.

Health and safety at work

With a 31% decrease, the Group’s 2017 results show a net improvement in the frequency rate (5.32 vs 7.73 in 2016). Apart from the Pacific region, which remains stable, all regions show improvement, particularly North America and Latin America. France remains stable with a frequency rate of 6.49. In 2017, Virbac had no fatalities at work within the entire social scope. The frequency rate used is based on French regulations and defined as the number of work accidents that resulted in at least one lost working day, divided by the number of hours worked multiplied by one million.

Occupational diseases

The notion of occupational disease is a concept specific to France. Over the year 2017 in France, three statements were made and accepted. All of these diseases were related to the handling of heavy loads. These three occupational diseases and one other from 2016 resulted in 117 lost working days.

Severity rate

In 2017, the proportion of lost work days, also known as the severity rate, remained stable, with a rate of 0.17, the same as in 2016. This rate is obtained by comparing the total number of working days lost after an accident at work, or due to an occupational disease, and the number of working hours originally planned for the workforce present at the end of the reporting period. This rate is given for 1,000 hours worked.

Focus France: safety at work

This is a priority area for the Group and has become ingrained in the corporate culture year after year. After an historic record in 2016, the 2017 frequency rate, like the severity rate, leveled off at 6.49 and 0.37 respectively over the year 2017.

To boost and further strengthen safety culture, a Group project was set up with a multi-year action plan. All managers in the industrial organization were trained (nearly 100 people). An Intranet tool was also developed to enable all employees to access various documents dealing with the topics of people, facilities and products.

Even though regulations on stress in the workplace have further developed and are still in line with the action plans designed in partnership with the CHSCT (Committee on hygiene, safety and working conditions) in 2012 and 2015, there are no more than 38 people (out of nearly 1,500 employees in France) affected by one of the ten regulatory criteria, 7 of which were during the first half of the year. At the end of 2017, Virbac was affected by just two stress factors: “carrying heavy loads” and “alternate shift teams”; the factors of “stressful positions” and “repetitive work” have been eradicated.

Training and education

In 2017, training hours averaged 26.2 hours per employee (18.1 hours for women and 31.5 hours for men), compared to 26 hours in 2016. Two notable items should be taken into consideration to explain the gap between women and men. One explanation comes from India, where the majority of employees are men (97%) and the average number of training hours is 43.4. Next, in 2017, the United States deployed a major training system (114 hours) for workers, the majority of whom (76%) are men in this country.

Average annual training hours (per employee) Women Men Total
 
Leaders 15.1 15.4 15.3
Managers 20.5 29.2 25.4
Technicians/Employees 14.6 35.8 28.1
Workers 20.3 31.6 27.1
Total 18.1 31.5 26.2

The Virbac Group proposes a skills development policy with various development courses (management, professional efficiency, business know-how in particular). In all countries, staff in all categories are given training to ensure their continued employability and skills development. These training courses are provided in conjunction with development discussions that take place during the year-end or mid-year interviews.

In 2017, Virbac pursued its strategy around the world as a learning company. First and foremost, by broadening the roll-out of the development plan to about ten subsidiaries (France, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Northern Europe and Vietnam). In this context, employees were given the opportunity to meet with their manager about developing their skills, accessing online training and participating in hands-on workshops.

Furthermore, the Group continued to develop digital or multimodal training curricula with the same profound belief in its efficiency and the power of its future. The following academies were considerably enriched in 2017:

  • the Innovation Campus, facilitation of a community and resources aimed at Innovation experts worldwide;
  • the Virbac Business School: roll-out of career paths aimed at Sales and Marketing teams;
  • the Virbac Quality Academy: launch of modules based on pharmaceutical quality aimed at all employees, initially in France, with the aim of rolling it out for all Group employees;
  • the HR Learning Center: launch of the “Managing at Virbac” career path aimed at new managers and the “Feedback and Coaching” career path in France, the United States and Australia.

Specific customized training projects geared towards themes as diverse as business relationships, multicultural cooperation, project management, management or professional effectiveness and accountability emerged around the world, as was individualized support through coaching and personalized follow-up.

New initiatives were also established in certain subsidiaries, as in Northern Europe, leading discussion groups for managers, or a Lean Office training project with the implementation of a Kaizen approach in Brazil or thoughts about succession plans in Australia and Mexico.

Diversity and equal opportunity

For Virbac, job equity between women and men is fundamental and requires that no form of discrimination exists and is tolerated, both in terms of access to employment and promotions, wage policy and other determinants of working conditions.
 
In France a diversity policy has been in force for several years, and in 2009, a charter in favor of non-discrimination and diversity recognized by the HALDE (Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l’égalité)[French Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Commission] was signed. The company’s human values have always put the employee front and center of our strategy: It is thanks to its teams that Virbac is now an internationally recognized stakeholder. The men and women that make up the company are a real treasure and diversity is an integral part of this human treasure. It’s only natural that it is part of Virbac’s Human Resources policy.
 

Diversity is taking root little by little in business culture and today, it represents a real opportunity for performance. By embracing diversity, the Group cultivates differences and creates value.

The diversity policy aims to guarantee equal treatment of staff, encourage variety among people and human relationships, maintain worker employability. It is built around 3 main principles: gender equality, disabilities, and age diversity through the intergenerational agreement.

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The Gender Equality agreement signed in 2012 aims to: 

  • ensure equal access to vocational training for both women and men;
  • ensure equality between women and men in their career paths;
  • ensure pay equity between women and men doing the same job, with the same level of skill and responsibility;
  • develop measures to promote work-life balance.

The disabilities agreement, signed in 2014 aims to:

  • recruit, integrate, retain and train persons with disabilities;
  • communicate, raise awareness among employees and managers, and build a network of in-house disability stakeholders acting as ambassadors;
  • maintain and develop subcontracting activities in partnership with the protected and adapted sector;
  • thus increasing the rate of employment year-by-year.

The Intergenerational Agreement, signed in 2013, aims to:

  • permanently integrate young workers;
  • recruit and retain seniors in the workforce;
  • foster intergenerational skills sharing.

Human rights

Child labour

No child works within the Virbac Group. As concerns the main suppliers, Virbac's ethical assessment questionnaire commits them to abide by child labor legislation. In 2017, none of the suppliers questioned failed to live up to this criterion. Should Virbac identify a non-compliant supplier, the latter would be required by the Group to comply, or else have its contract terminated.

Forced or mandatory labour

Forced labor does not exist in the Virbac Group. Regarding its main suppliers, compliance with the fundamental International Labor Organization (ILO) agreements, including the prohibition of forced labor, is included in all new contracts. In 2017, none of the suppliers questioned failed to live up to this criterion. Should Virbac identify a non-compliant supplier, the latter would be required by the Group to comply, or else have its contract terminated.

Assessment of the respect for human rights among suppliers

For every invitation to tender, and for main suppliers (nearly 90% of the value of purchases of raw materials and subcontracting), Virbac administers a questionnaire to assess their compliance with human rights: age of employees, the existence of a health and safety policy and the absence of discrimination. Since 2015, new framework contracts have included a provision requiring compliance with these standards. In 2017, the assessment process carried out by Virbac with its new suppliers did not identify any relevant risks. Should Virbac identify a non-compliant supplier, the latter would be required by the Group to comply, or else have its contract terminated.

Civil society

Anti-corruption campaign

Risk assessment

In accordance with law no. 2016-1691 of December 9, 2016 regarding transparency, the fight against corruption and modernization of economic life, Sapin II, in 2017, Virbac carried out a corruption risk analysis in all of its subsidiaries and the parent company (a total of about thirty companies). The goal was to identify, assess and prioritize the risks in order to produce corruption risk mapping in the Group. All work will be completed in the first quarter of 2018, after being approved by the executive board.

Communication and training on policies and procedures to fight corruption

In 2014 and 2015, specific training courses on the risks of corruption were carried out among many managers and leaders: general managers of European subsidiaries, chief financial officers in Latin America and APISA (Asia-Pacific-India-South Africa), key managers of the Indian and Uruguayan subsidiaries. In 2015, dedicated training was also organized with all employees at the Virbac Chinese subsidiary. To complement these efforts, training carried out from July 2015 as part of the deployment of the code of conduct provided the opportunity to discuss the risks of corruption with a large number of employees and to remind everyone of the rules in force in the anti-corruption field. This training involved four subsidiaries in the Apisa area, two subsidiaries in the Latin America area, the APISA regional team and some internationally-recruited new entrants in key positions. In 2016 and 2017, Virbac continued its efforts in the fight against corruption. Virbac has updated its Group anti-corruption policy, which is now available in ten languages and accessible to all Group employees via the Intranet, and is included in internal regulations for French Group subsidiaries. The members of the executive board, the members of the strategic committee, the members of Comex in France and the Group's subsidiary managers signed a document formalizing their commitment to comply with this policy.

Consumer health and safety

Virbac is committed to developing, producing and distributing products and services aimed at improving the quality of life for animals and guaranteeing their health, while ensuring comfort and safety for those who administer these products: veterinarians, farmers, animal owners, etc.

social-responsabilite-produit.jpgTo do this, Virbac meets the highest applicable quality-safety-efficacy standards. At the development stage, Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) are followed systematically, for example through data traceability. Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) are applied during the production stage, particularly through the certification of all Virbac factories. Finally, for the supply of drugs, Virbac uses Good Distribution Practices (GDP), such as compliance with the cold chain, when required by the nature of the products.

Assessment of product safety during its use is carried out whenever necessary, particularly through the development or selection of specific packaging. In product labeling, Virbac intends to clearly explain all the information useful to the proper administration of the product and to the understanding of its properties and contra-indications. The Group also has a leading role in the development of diagrams and pictograms that provide a clear understanding of information fundamental to consumer health and safety.

For species intended for consumption, Virbac ensures that during product development, its products comply with pharmaceutical standards relating to residual traces of medicines in foodstuffs: meat, milk, eggs... In addition, the guidelines for use are systematically brought to the attention of the consumer through product packaging and various associated communication media.

Throughout the life cycle of the products, including during development, Virbac assesses the expectations of customers and their satisfaction, in order to continuously adjust product features. In terms of marketing, all Virbac promotional communications are consistent with the scientific and technical claims demonstrated during the development stage of the product.

Lastly, the Virbac quality system enables the company to efficiently detect, trace and treat all quality incidents inherent to the pharmaceutical business.

Pharmacovigilance

Like all pharmaceutical companies, the Virbac Group is legally obliged to monitor the veterinary medicines it places on the market, in terms of their safety and efficacy. This obligation is known as pharmacovigilance. Its purpose is to create an organization that keeps track of adverse reactions (whether serious or not) reported by veterinarians or other health professionals, or even by users of such medicines (owners of companion animals, for example). This organization, placed under the responsibility of a person qualified in (veterinary) pharmacovigilance and a qualified interim person, must compile all of the cases originating from all countries in the world, analyze them, decide whether the side effects are attributable or not to the use of the drug in question and, finally, officially report these cases to the supervisory authorities. Periodically, all cases declared during a given period for a given medicine are compiled in a report, which is then sent to the same authorities. Compiling all the side effects attributable to a drug eventually allows precautions for use to be added to the packaging leaflets and make their use safer. Due to the increasing globalization of its medicines, the Virbac Group goes about compiling cases of side effects on a global scale, by implementing a reporting system in all subsidiaries. The Virbac Group's ambition is perfect pharmacovigilance; that is to say, allowing them to compile all cases of side effects attributable to medicines that it places on the market, to fulfill all its obligations within the time frames prescribed by the administration, and to use the pharmacovigilance tool to develop knowledge of its products.

Product and service labeling

In terms of the safety of products and their components, Virbac's policy is as follows:

  • provision of safety data sheets for "raw materials" and "finished products" to Virbac staff and carriers;
  • organization of transportation in accordance with European regulations governing the shipping of high-risk products:
    • availability of safety data sheets for finished products in French and in English,
    • packaging of hazardous products in packaging that meets current standards;
  • from the client's perspective, Virbac complies with the European directives and regulations on indications and precautions for use that must appear on packaging, both for products requiring marketing authorization and those referred to as nutritional.

Each claim is supported by appropriate clinical studies.

Marketing communications

Due to the nature of its pharmaceutical industrial activity, the Virbac Group is subject to the requirements defined by national or supranational veterinary pharmaceutical agencies. Any product claims must be scientifically proven and made available to the regulatory agencies. The pharmaceutical manager at each Virbac subsidiary vouches for the compliance of products sold in his country with the regulations.

These principles apply both to medicines with marketing authorizations and also to foods, complementary and dietetic food for which Virbac complies with local regulations (e.g. for nutritional supplements and food: European Regulation 767/2009, US NASC accreditation). In addition, Virbac does not directly promote products that require a prescription (and which may not be subject to exception) among owners or farmers, but refers them to veterinary consultation in order to promote preventive medicine.

All the social indicators in the 2017 sustainable development report (page 44-54)