Syncona aligns its sustainability reporting with a number of well-known frameworks. These help our external stakeholders to measure the progress that Syncona is making across its sustainability priorities, as well as assisting the Syncona team in ensuring that the Company is always working in line with best practice. Syncona has aligned its reporting with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and GRI Standards since its first Sustainability Report in 2021. This year it has committed to report as a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and is reporting for the first time in line with the recommendations of TCFD.
Our Sustainability Report highlights our sustainability priorities, as we aim to deliver a positive and sustainable impact for all of our stakeholders.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals
Learn more about the UN SDGs, a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all"
Aligning to the UN SDGs
The UN’s 17 SDGs, adopted by the member states in 2015, represent a call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
The 17 SDGs are integrated, recognising that progress in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.
There are four SDGs that we believe our business is well-aligned with. Our linkages are highlighted throughout the Sustainability Report.
This year, Goal 13: Climate Action has been added to our core linked SDGs, reflecting the progress made by Syncona and its portfolio in environmental reporting in the financial year.
Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
Syncona’s purpose is to invest to extend and enhance human life. Through our portfolio of companies, we develop treatments which help people to live healthier lives, and we are committed to making medicines more accessible by ensuring our business and portfolio companies operate with transparency and integrity.
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Syncona and its portfolio companies provide employment for over 1,200 people globally, providing opportunities in a broad range of roles within a vibrant and growing sector. We are committed to promoting diversity in the life sciences, seeing its promotion as both an economic and moral imperative.
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
Innovation through effective, high-quality research and development sits at the core of what our portfolio companies do. We have high expectations of our portfolio companies and work in collaboration with them to deliver high standards in areas such as data stewardship, clinical trials and competitive practices.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Syncona understands that climate change represents a systemic risk to our countries and economies, and aspires to be net zero throughout its value chain by 2050. It is committed to minimising the environmental impact that it has on the world, both by taking direct action in its own operations and working with its portfolio companies to assist them in aligning their business operations with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Mapping our sustainability progress for our stakeholders
Syncona has chosen to report in line with the GRI Standards since 2021.
GRI is an independent global organisation which has provided a framework and standards for corporate sustainability reporting since 1997. The GRI Standards are generally seen as the most widely adopted global standards for sustainability reporting.
We chose to report against the GRI framework following a comprehensive process, taking into account guidance from external advisers. The framework ensures that Syncona is aware of the key areas of sustainability reporting which are of interest to external stakeholders. The GRI Standards also allow Syncona’s investors and other key stakeholders to more easily compare the Company’s sustainability reporting with that of other companies.
Syncona is supportive of the continued efforts being made globally towards the convergence of sustainability reporting standards. The GRI is contributing towards this via its work as a coconstructor of the EU’s new sustainability reporting standards, with the prominent role played by the GRI in this process underlining its continuing role in setting the global sustainability agenda.
The world’s leading proponent of responsible investment
The UN PRI have existed since 2006 and are widely seen as the leading framework for outlining how investors should integrate sustainability considerations into investment practice.
Signatories are required to commit to aligning their investment activities with the PRI’s key six principles, which together commit a company to acting in the best interests of its ultimate beneficiaries.
Syncona became a signatory of the PRI in October 2021, following the publication of Syncona’s first Responsible Investment Policy earlier in the year. Becoming a signatory underlines Syncona’s belief that it can make a significant impact in delivering on the commitments made in its Sustainability Policy through engaging effectively with its portfolio companies.
As per its obligations as a PRI signatory, Syncona will be required to report on its responsible investment activities on an annual basis, starting from FY2022/3.
Understanding the risks and opportunities associated with climate change
TCFD is increasingly becoming the accepted global standard for reporting against the risks and opportunities that companies may be exposed to due to climate change.
The TCFD recommendations ask companies to assess how they may be exposed to the physical risks of climate change, as well as the transition risks which could impact companies as there is a forced transition towards a green economy.
Although Syncona remains out of scope for mandatory TCFD reporting, it is reporting against the TCFD guidelines this year to underline its commitment to a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework. It also provides the opportunity to better understand the climate-related risks and opportunities which might impact the Company, and whether they should be integrated into the Company’s risk management framework.
With the assistance of an external agency, the Syncona team and representatives from portfolio companies participated in the development of a comprehensive climate scenario analysis, which in turn informed this year’s TCFD disclosure. This disclosure can be found in the Annual Report and Accounts 2022 on pages 72-75, and Syncona will continue to report against the TCFD recommendations on an annual basis.
Key sustainability pillars
We have engaged with our key stakeholders to understand the sustainability issues which are most material to us as a business, with this materiality review leading us to four key pillars which will drive our Sustainability Strategy.