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icon12 Managing during COVID-19: Protecting our Associates

Our crisis management team spearheaded our globally coordinated COVID-19 response to protect associates around the world. By leveraging enhanced safety and sanitary protocols, our manufacturing and distribution associates safely continued operations without disruption to production.

We implemented new safety measures to protect associates on-site, such as modified workstation arrangements, reducing the crossflow of associates between shifts, enhanced cleaning and sanitization, use of personal protective equipment and pre-entry temperature screenings. All office-based associates were encouraged to work from home, while our sales and customer service teams delivered remote account management.

We also recognized our need to keep our team mentally and physically healthy. The challenges arising from a global health crisis require leaders to think differently. It was critical to not just focus on what we say or do but how we make our teams feel supported, connected, and valued. We developed an Employee Engagement Toolkit to help our leaders engage with their teams. The toolkit provided guided check-in conversations and online community building, so everyone maintained a sense of belonging. We also developed a toolkit for our customers to use within their organizations.

Our regional and country leaders continue to partner with our global crisis team to oversee local case data and public health advisories. We are providing Re-Entry Toolkits and strategies to support associates as they transitioned back into the workplace. We are creating intentional opportunities for meaningful conversations to foster a high level of situational In addition to frequent AED surveys, our people leaders are engaged in regular two-way dialogue through town halls, coffee chats, one-on-one engagement and skip meetings. Furthermore, we have provided resources to support associate’ physical and mental health and psychological safety and work flexibility while some of our locations transition back to the office.

icon12 Managing during COVID-19: Serving our Customers

The crisis demanded an even greater focus on patients, doctors, and customers than ever before. We collaborated with the industry to develop new safety protocols and patient workflow strategies, resources and materials to guide our customers in navigating governmental economic relief programs and provided access to educational content and other resources to manage the transition. We invested in resources to educate customers on the safe use of contact lenses and leveraged our online fulfillment platform in the US to allow consumers to procure their contact lenses while optometrists’ offices were closed.

Our ability to maintain business continuity also enabled us to meet our customers’ needs despite varying stages of reopening and recovery and government-mandated trade restrictions and transportation limitations. Our supply chain team executed mitigation plans to secure critical materials and minimize supply chain disruption. Better demand forecasting and the use of enterprise-wide systems and procedures helped maintain strategic inventory reserves for key products and new product launches. We have selectively built multiple sources and distribution pathways for critical components, strengthened our relationship with single sourced suppliers, which will increase the resilience of our supply chain.

We invest in developing future skills and expertise in the many markets we serve. Spurred by COVID-imposed lockdowns, in 2020 we started Alcon On, an online platform for training, to assist doctors real-time in the operating room. This program provided mentoring and assistance to more than 8,000 medical practitioners in 2020. Following the success of this program, we plan to scale Alcon On in 2021 and beyond as a means of providing more effective, timely, and cost-efficient support to ophthalmologists.

icon12 Managing during COVID-19: Serving our Community

To address the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alcon developed procedures for safe and effective donations. Our corporate philanthropy identified three core support areas: health services, hunger relief, and hygiene. The Alcon Foundation donated ophthalmic equipment, vision care products, and personal protective equipment to support frontline workers during the pandemic. Furthermore, many of our sites extended our corporate support, initiating additional efforts in their local communities.

icon13 Expanding Awareness and Access in India

Alcon is working in partnership with the India Ministry of Health to increase access to quality eye care. The eye care market in India is characterized by a lack of awareness of the benefits of phaco surgery, and the poor outcomes of non-phaco surgery that discourage patients from seeking care. Furthermore, as in many countries, patients often must travel great distances for medical attention and gender inequality poses a significant barrier to access to care.

We have a long-term commitment to building awareness for the safety of cataract surgery in India. Our Project 100 initiative donates phaco equipment to lower-income countries, and by the end of 2020 we had placed over 30 machines in India.

Our efforts are helping to restore vision for many patients in India before they reach severe levels of near-blindness. For smaller and more rural communities, the training and phaco technology we provide is helping retain ophthalmologists in those areas. And with word-of-mouth marketing as patients share that cataract surgery is safe and effective, more people are seeking care and not continuing to live with an easily treatable disability.

icon14 Inclusive Design

Historically, product designs have unconsciously catered to men, resulting in unintentional ergonomic disadvantages for women. To address that bias, we have modified our design approach for certain products to be more inclusive of women.

Physical differences in height and hand size, in addition to the potential for repetitive injury, have influenced the design of our new surgical products. Through insights provided by our Women Innovating Now, employee resource group, we now consider physical height and hand size in our product design. In 2019, we introduced two products designed using this approach, our surgical visualization system and hand-activated forceps.

icon12 Associate Wellbeing at Alcon

At Alcon, health and wellness promotion is critical to creating an energized and productive workforce, both on and off the job. The Alcon Global Wellness Committee was formed in order to develop a global framework for wellness at Alcon, and will operate in conjunction with site-based wellness committees. In 2020, Alcon Associates across the globe were offered wellness initiatives to achieve the highest level of health and wellness.

icon16 Trayless Custom Paks

The Trayless Centurion®Fluid Management System (FMS) pack is a non-sterile version of Centurion® FMS Packs with an updated packaging configuration for use in Custom Paks®. Previously, Centurion FMS packs were packaged in rigid plastic trays and shipping cartons, and shipped to a Gamma-sterilizer before returning to our Houston facility for incorporation into Custom Paks® that were then sterilized. The key highlights and benefits of this new trayless configuration are:

  • Reduction in carbon footprint by eliminating dual-sterilization and transportation costs
  • ~90% reduction in material waste by eliminating rigid packaging materials and shipping cartons
  • Estimated $1.3M annual cost savings potential based on current eligible volumes

Trayless Custom Paks

icon16 Reprocessing Used and Obsolete Equipment

Our program to reprocess used surgical equipment has positive implications for the environment. Upon receiving returned equipment, our technical service engineers replace parts and update the existing technology to restore surgical equipment to Alcon’s operational standards. The reprocessed equipment provides expanded access in low- to middle-income countries to surgical equipment that meets Alcon’s operational standards at a lower cost. We use environmentally safe methods to dispose of any parts that cannot be reprocessed.

In 2020, COVID-19 decreased the volume of reprocessed equipment and refurbished spare parts due to mandatory regional lockdowns and lower customer activity. Alcon centers in 43 affiliate countries and 4 repair centers refurbished close to 90 metric tons of reused, recycled and donated equipment and spare parts in 2020. We have four centers to refurbish spare parts and we opened a fifth center in 2021.

icon17 Solar Power in Johor

Johor, Malaysia, our second largest manufacturing site, will become the third solar-powered location in 2021.

Solar Power

Solar Power

icon16 Recycling Waste

The Polypropylene (PP) Mold Waste Collection System conveys PP mold waste from our new contact lens production lines, crushes the mold waste into smaller particles, and transfers the material into a storage silo. We transfer the material from the silo into bulk bags, where they are collected for recycling. We estimate approximately 630 metric tons of waste have been diverted from incineration to recycling as a result of the installation of this system.

Solar Power

The polypropylene mold waste collection system silo in Singapore.