Different issues encountered by Companies, sometimes dictated by size and whether they are a global multinational or private company.
Multinational companies often take a long time to gain approval or sign-off for UK ventures. UK parts of multinationals often focused on the Concordat conditions but may get less support from boards.
Different standards in different countries and cultural blockers may be encountered, non EU standards.
Companies (Pharma or start up) often outsource work to CROs, Academia and so there is a need for confidentiality but this should not stop basic statements about working with animals.
Changes in senior management or those responsible for the Concordat can affect input and how companies comply with the four conditions. It is an ongoing process not just a single signup. There needs to be continuity, where does ultimate responsibility for signup to the Concordat sit? I.e. Corporate responsibility.
What they can do:
Companies can feed into other areas of the Concordat, starting with HR at the recruitment stage, with job descriptions, explanations at the interview stage that the company works with animals or does animal research – not all jobs involve working with animals i.e. accounts, IT, customer services to name a few.
Pictures used internally or for publicity should include animals, not just people, either working in labs, offices or at meetings or just relaxing.
Websites should be clear and include photos and if possible video footage, virtual tours, e.g. animal areas, labs to promote. To start with if companies have an internal intranet films could be shown to staff first.
Appreciated that showing media footage is a big ask for some companies, but an internal web site is a good starting point for showing images, or videos but a good way of promoting good practice.
Looking at other good websites for ideas can help i.e. Novo Nordisk.
Family open days – allowing families to see where their parent/brother/sister/uncle/aunt etc works. If unable to take people into barrier area can you bring some of the equipment outside to showcase.
What do the public want of companies? Public do not trust pharma. But they have a strong brand profile.
We need to shout about why do we do what we do:
Start at local level with visits from institutions such as the WI, Parish Councils, Brownies/Guides, Cubs/Scouts, Young Farmers, local colleges – especially those providing animal courses and provide the next generation of animal techs.
There should be no effect to reputation, should be sold to everyone as equal responsibility for being open. Need buy in from employees, staff on the ground. How does their role fit into the wider area so that they can go out and talk about it. Openness from the bottom up. Staff input is essential they have a story to tell
Internal openness is good but how do companies reach out to those staff not on internal mailing lists – attending AWERB sessions; talks; PPL short summaries on web sites, transparency around clinical trials. Case studies or storyboards on trials or how medicines are created. Newsletters
Data on number of animals (and species) used over a year is more difficult and needs context (may result in double counting) , input on study design, so may not be relevant, there is a frustration from the commercial sector regarding the provision of “numbers” against the need to get over the “good” science. Companies are not subject to FOI in the same way as Academia so no requirement to provide this information but FOI in Academia has been a huge driver to openness.