LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT
JIM ROBINSON, ASTELLAS AMERICAS OPERATIONS
Welcome to Astellas Americas Second Corporate Social Responsibility Report Card.
When I began writing this letter, I initially focused on the achievements of the Astellas Americas region in 2016 to make us a more sustainable, socially responsible company. I’m proud that we have delivered and even exceeded our commitments to help our communities continue Living SMART™ this past year, as you will read in this report. Then I thought about what sustainability and responsibility really means — for my family and friends — for all of our families and friends — and I decided to focus this letter on why Corporate Social Responsibility is personally important to me.
Cancer Care Beyond Medicines
To me, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has always been about patients. Cancer has touched my life profoundly, taking away the lives of two people who were important to me. The first was my father. He was my role model, my friend and confidant. And I lost him to cancer. Recently, I also lost a good friend and colleague, Rock Magnotta, to cancer. Rock was someone I hired because of his ability to get the job done. But over our nine-year relationship, we became close friends, bonding over his great sense of humor and love of family. My dad. My friend. Gone too soon because of a terrible disease.
Too many of you have stories similar to mine. You know that the needs of cancer patients extend beyond medical treatments. As I joined colleagues at the Cancer Wellness Center during our annual day of service last year, I realized how proud I am to work for a company that’s fundamentally changing — and improving — lives. Our team of volunteers painted window boxes and walls. We dedicated a garden where patients and their families can go enjoy beauty and nature — an escape from the day-to-day realities of fighting cancer. This CSR work is about the patient experience and it takes cancer care and wellness beyond medicines.
Changing Tomorrow through Science WoRx™ Program
Like many of you, I’m also a parent. It’s important to me to be thinking about tomorrow and how we will continue to create the science that will prevent — and cure — disease. The mission at Astellas USA Foundation (the "Foundation") is about seeding the future. As a Foundation board member, I know that 80 percent of future jobs will require science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills — yet only 16 percent of high school seniors are proficient in math and are interested in STEM careers. While many corporate foundations support STEM education programs, Astellas USA Foundation has taken an innovative approach by launching a new, first-of-its-kind STEM initiative called Rural Spark Project™.
Why rural communities? Research shows rural school graduates are less likely than non-rural peers to have completed high school science classes, and that many rural schools struggle to attract and retain science teachers. Through a grant to Project Lead the Way (PLTW), Astellas USA Foundation aims to change that by providing funds to rural teachers for much-needed support in their efforts to inspire future scientists. Through teacher training and hands-on learning opportunities, the Rural Spark Project seeks to spark tomorrow’s big thinkers in the classroom and in the community. Efforts like these will ensure our children have the opportunity to pursue STEM careers and create tomorrow’s meaningful science.
Finally, I’d like to touch on Living SMART, our social responsibility platform, which means helping communities plan today to be ready for tomorrow’s challenges. One way we do this is through community service. Community service is something my father taught me and that I have taught my children. Giving back is also part of our culture at Astellas — in fact, we give our employees five paid days off per year to volunteer. Within the last year, use of this benefit was up 84 percent over the previous year.
While the numbers are great, it comes back to people. While at the Cancer Wellness Center last year, I met David Wainwright. David’s wife Jamie had passed away from cancer, and David goes to the Cancer Wellness Center to heal, to reflect and to learn how to move forward. Astellas helped to create the garden where David sometimes goes to sit to remember his wife. We made a difference through our community outreach. And that’s what it’s all about.
I hope you will take the time to review this report card to understand more about Astellas Americas’ commitment to CSR.
President, Astellas Americas
Board Member, Astellas USA Foundation
Other Astellas leaders across the Americas reflect on the company’s social philosophy:
“Corporate social responsibility is not just part of the way we work at Astellas Pharma Canada — it’s at the heart of our organization. Everybody, at some point in their lives, has been touched by illness or disease. It’s a reality no one can escape. Because of this, we choose to make a meaningful difference for our patients and the communities in which we work and live, and bring CSR at the forefront of how we do business. Every year, we strive to do more, and one example is our recent Baskets4Bros campaign where we partnered with Movember to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Moving forward, we will continue to do more and intensify our efforts in support of our communities and organizations that are critical to making a difference.”
“From day one, social responsibility has been integral to how we operate at Astellas Farma Brasil. I come to work every day committed to make an impact on people´s lives. As Astellas employees, that commitment is truly who we are — both in the office and in our communities.”