We believe that it is important to give back to the communities in which we live and operate. Our community ethos is aligned with our business Purpose and Values, in particular, our Relationships and Enjoyment Values. Our Community pillar focuses on:
- Community Activities
- Community Employment
- Community Donations
We encourage our employees to engage in community activities, in particular, volunteering in the fields of animal welfare, human service and environmental stewardship. There is a particular focus on animal welfare driven by the passion of our employees. We have committed to giving our employees one day per year in the community. A lot of our community activities this year have been postponed due to the social distancing restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Fortunately, our employees in North America held six events earlier in the year, volunteering a total of 935 hours. Two of the events were held during North America's annual sales meeting, where over 100 volunteers arrived a day early for the week long meeting to give back to the local community that would host them. Four of the six events were focused on animal welfare, primarily supporting animal shelters, while one was a large-scale beach clean-up preserving our environment, and another serving local grade school children interested in science. In preparation for expanding volunteerism globally at Dechra, a Volunteer Service Tool Kit was developed and is now available to all Dechra employees for the purpose of encouraging and instructing how to properly engage their community and organise a volunteer event.
We also support professional staff volunteering time in their local community. Andrea Brownstein, US Territory Sales Manager volunteered with the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), deployed earlier this year to help COVID-19 positive Wuhan evacuees at the start of the pandemic.
2020 Financial year Community Volunteer Hours
Animal Welfare 77%
Human Service 2%
We recognise that the Group has a responsibility to its stakeholders and we strive to contribute to the social and economic welfare of the local communities in which we operate. We recognise that by taking voluntary action in this area, it is helping to protect and develop our business:
- Offer employment opportunities to all sectors of the community through non-discriminatory policies and promoting opportunities to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups; and
- Support local initiatives for the development and education of young people in the areas we serve, such as Dechra product development staff located in the Maine office educating and exciting our next generation of scientists during the annual Bioscience Day for Maine grade school students.
For the last 9 years we have operated a Group Donations scheme, whereby we encourage all employees to nominate a charity or non-commercial organisation for a charitable donation. This year we donated to 15 charities each receiving £2,000 each. In addition to the annual Group Donations, each business unit has the discretion to allocate funds and/or products to local community charities and/or animal welfare charities. The majority of product donations are short dated product which otherwise would have had to be destroyed.
Business Unit Donations by Type
Growing a strong, sustainable bioscience community is fundamentally important to attracting talent. This involves developing a workforce for the future, and the first step in this process is often focused on exciting young students about science. To this end, the Bioscience Association of Maine (BioME) organises an annual event, Bioscience Day, which is all about engaging students and giving them insight into working in a science-based role. Two employees from the Dechra office in Maine, Roberto Garcia and Caryn Thompson, were delighted to join the fourth annual Bioscience Day as volunteers and to share their experiences with the eighth-grade students at Bioscience Day.
The event involved 24 schools and over 3,300 participants with 58 volunteers from 25 companies.
Caryn presented on measuring biodiversity and the children were given an exercise to simulate sampling forest birds and learnt how to assess species diversity via simple statistics, while Roberto gave an overview of the teamwork involved in developing veterinary drugs. He also gave the students an exercise which involved working in groups to create sample project plans and Gantt charts. He explained why he was eager to participate in the day:
"Today is an opportunity for me to give back to the community, and I think it's important to try and help the students figure out what they want to do as there are so many opportunities out there."
Roberto and Caryn will be attending the fifth annual Bioscience Day, and have already begun recruiting other Dechra volunteer scientists to join them. Whether the event is held in person or virtually, exciting the next generation with the importance of science to solve real world concerns is something Dechra employees are committed to.
Australian Wild Fires
In January 2020, the team at Dechra Australia supported efforts to help animals injured in the bushfires in New South Wales by donating antibiotics and pain medications to local veterinary clinics. The majority of the medications provided were used to treat wildlife, such as koalas and possums, brought to the clinics.
Tony Flint, NSW North Territory Manager, cited instances where companion animals belonging to people who had lost their homes had also been treated by medications donated by Dechra: "One story that was very touching came from Greencoss Port Macquarie, who used some of the products received to treat burns to a dog whose owner had lost everything. He and his dog managed to escape from their burning house but his dog sustained burns to his feet. The owner was very touched when he learned that the clinic could treat his best friend at no cost."
Tony went on to describe the impact of what he had seen and heard over the last week whilst travelling around some of the worst affected areas: "Some of the stories I've heard have given me a real sense of the positive effect our support has had on people and animals in a time of great need. It puts a very human face to what we do."