Pioneering for patients, responsibly

28 April marked “World Safety and Health at Work Day”, organized by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization. At Galapagos, we fully support this year’s theme that we should all feel comfortable raising concerns about possible risks or hazards in the workplace. But for us, it does not stop there. Galapagos is ambitious in its aim to discover and develop innovative medicines, and equally keen to be a responsible citizen.
Written by Marc Van Meldert, Head of Environment, Health & Safety at Galapagos

At Galapagos, we are committed to creating a safe and healthy working environment. With workshops ranging from CPR and AED (defibrillator) training, using fire extinguishers, working or driving in an ergonomic way, to a photo competition to capture what physical safety and health looks like, we are putting the spotlight on our colleagues’ wellbeing. Formalized in our Speak-Up Policy, we hope to make it easy for colleagues to raise concerns about possible risks or hazards in the workplace, for themselves and their co-workers.

Our sites organized workshops to put the spotlight on our employees’ wellbeing

I also want to take the opportunity to share our broader sustainability ambitions. We’ve had an interesting journey over the past two decades. What started with a handful of people with a shared dream in a lab has now become an international company of 1300 employees, with its first medicine on the market. It has not always been smooth, but our core values of raising the bar, acting as a pioneer, embracing change, and making it happen always stood strong.

Our commitment to sustainability is intrinsic to our core mission: to discover and develop medicines with a novel mechanism of action for diseases with high unmet medical needs, to make a lasting positive contribution to society and improve the lives of patients worldwide.

In 2018, Galapagos engaged with internal and external stakeholders across our different locations to define the four material aspects of our corporate responsibility and sustainability approach: driving innovation; our employees are the strength behind Galapagos; conducting business ethically and responsibly; and we care about the environment, health, and safety.

Now, we want to raise the bar even higher: we are embarking on a company-wide strategy to strengthen the foundations for our sustainable future as an independent, fully integrated European biotech. This year, we have established a Sustainability Steering Committee, with representatives from key departments throughout the organization. Endorsed by our Executive Committee, including our new CEO Paul Stoffels, this committee will drive our sustainability ambitions and activities.

We are currently reviewing our materiality assessment with internal and external stakeholders to assess whether our four sustainability pillars still best describe our contributions to and impact on society. Based on this review, we will define a long-term vision with measurable objectives, a roadmap to improve performance and transparent reporting to boost engagement.

Together, we will make it happen!

About Marc Van Meldert

""Marc Van Meldert is an EHS/Sustainability professional with over 30 years of experience. Before joining Galapagos as Head of Environment, Health & Safety, he led the Environment, Health and Safety department at Johnson Controls, bpost and UCB. In his free time, Marc likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors, cycling, hiking or sailing.