The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Chiesi promotes employee development

Chiesi is a leading Italian pharmaceutical company whose worldwide operations comprise six research centres, three manufacturing sites, and operating offices in twenty-seven countries. Chiesi aspires to be a rewarding and satisfying place to work and has built a very structured People Development Programme, to encourage and support the growth of its employees.

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report by Chiesi published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Chiesi is committed to actively supporting the personal and professional development of its employees  Tweet This!, and to sharing its values of integrity, transparency and team spirit. In order to promote employee development Chiesi took action to:
  • implement a People Development Programme
  • launch the “Got my Talent” project
  • operate the Chiesi Academy
  • provide training

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report Chiesi identified a range of material issues, such as ethics and compliance, product quality and reliability, patients’ health and safety, environmental protection, employee health and safety and well-being. Among these, promoting employee development stands out as a key material issue for Chiesi.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Chiesi engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement


·      Intranet

·      CEO communications

·      Workshops

·      Materiality survey

·      Employees survey

Patients and caregivers ·      Regular survey

·      Projects with patients associations

·      Materiality survey

Suppliers ·      Meetings

·      Partnership

Scientific community and universities


·      Conferences

·      Research projects

·      Publications

Institutions and public administration ·      Dialogue with regulators through survey, meetings and conferences
Healthcare service providers ·      Conferences

·      Surveys

Media ·      Corporate website

·      Press releases

Local communities ·      Chiesi Foundation activities

·      Events sponsored by the company

·      Materiality survey

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Chiesi shared questionnaires regarding sustainability topics with 150 patients, several patients’ associations, more than 700 employees, and 20 local associations.

What actions were taken by Chiesi to promote employee development?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report Chiesi reports that it took the following actions for promoting employee development:

  • Implementing a People Development Programme
  • Chiesi’s annual People Development Programme is a key initiative designed for professionals, middle managers and executives, to create a pool of well-prepared leaders to face future challenges. The programme starts with an assessment process that allows people to understand both their strengths and areas for improvement. The next step is a dedicated training and development plan, created to help employees improve and perform their roles at a high level and prepare for future development opportunities within the company. In 2018, approximately 800 middle managers and executives participated in the process, and 650 Individual Development Plans were activated. A Succession Plan for critical roles is also in place, covering over 50% of all relevant positions. Moreover, Chiesi’s development effort is not limited to high level positions or people with extensive work experience, and professional opportunities for less tenured employees are also offered. Additionally, the Potential Assessment for young graduates is a programme dedicated to recently hired employees, not yet in managerial roles. This programme, implemented across all functional areas, assesses employees’ skills and their potential for growth through group assessments and individual interviews, and defines for each of them a specific development plan. In 2018, 40 people participated in the programme in Italy and defined their individual development plans.
  • Launching the “Got my Talent” project
  • With the ambition of reaching every area of its employee population, Chiesi’s development projects also focus on employees working in manufacturing sites. Accordingly, Chiesi launched a project dedicated to the Global Manufacturing Department (GMD) in Italy, France, and Brazil. This project, dedicated to talented employees, is called “Got my Talent,” and was initiated in 2018. Its purpose is to develop skills, motivation, and teamwork with the objective of encouraging managerial growth in the manufacturing division. Within this project in 2018, 22 people were invited to participate in assessments, training sessions, project works, and development programmes. In addition, a new performance evaluation programme was designed for workers in the Italian manufacturing sites, which was implemented in 2019. 
  • Operating the Chiesi Academy
  • In 2018, as part of its commitment to providing career development opportunities worldwide, Chiesi expanded the Chiesi Academy, an intensive educational programme designed and delivered in partnership with the internationally acclaimed Italian business school, SDA Bocconi. Highly-qualified Chiesi employees from around the globe were invited to attend one of three tracks:
    • the fourth edition of the DEAL programme (Develop Executives And Leaders), targeting senior executives, a unique journey into Leadership for future Company “shapers”
    • the fifth edition of the CCM programme (Chiesi Corporate Master), a 25-day MBA-like programme targeting young talents
    • a brand-new programme for marketers, the first edition of Marketing Excellence programme
  • Since its creation in 2009, approximately 300 people from all geographies have participated in the Academy. In addition to the global training programmes, in Italy Chiesi offered employees a catalogue of 22 specific courses for managerial skills development, based on the Chiesi Leadership Model, in addition to language and IT training. Together with these initiatives, a number of ad hoc management training events were held to meet the specific needs of the various functions, including teambuilding activities, change management, and people development support. It is worth noting that Chiesi paid particular attention to change management initiatives in support of digital transformation, digital cultural growth, and new ways of remote collaboration. A group of 35 Digital Ambassadors were selected internally for their digital skills, to promote and support the use of new technologies and innovative ways of working. Chiesi also provided new leadership training courses for managers (People First) and open sessions focused on the people development process, along with cross-country development opportunities for employees, through international assignments among its 27 affiliates. These international assignments are an active example of Chiesi’s support of diversity as a precious source of personal, professional, and cultural enrichment. The opportunity to work in different affiliates encourages cooperation, a broad exchange of ideas, and the sharing of skills and experience.
  • Providing training
  • Chiesi provides a wide variety of training customised to the particular country, the needs of the people, and the type of site (commercial or operational). Essential training for all employees includes health and safety, people development, Research & Development, compliance, pharmacovigilance, soft skills, disease state, client management, and selling skills. Chiesi provides every employee with an average of 43.8 hours of training per year. Additionally, specific trainings and communication on anti-corruption practices have been developed, to ensure the proper implementation of the rules of ethical behaviour in order to guarantee compliance by employees. At the end of 2018, a new training initiative was launched for all Chiesi Group employees, focusing on sustainability and Chiesi’s path toward sustainable development. The training highlighted the milestones that led to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and key concepts related to sustainable development. The programme also provided an overview of Chiesi’s Sustainability Strategic Plan, as an example of Chiesi’s concrete commitment to sustainability and the actions Chiesi people are taking to pursue it.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee

2) Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs


Disclosure 404-1 Average hours of training per year per employee corresponds to:

Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Employee training and education


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Chiesi, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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