Reporting its long-term development is a natural move for Virbac, for multiple reasons.
The majority of Virbac's capital is controlled by one family, that of the founder, Dr. Pierre-Richard Dick. His profoundly humane values have marked the company and are the foundation upon which the strategy is built. The ability to envision the long term and act accordingly runs in the company's blood, as is the case with many family businesses. Furthermore, being a listed company only serves to advance this vision as increasingly more shareholders favour companies whose strategies incorporate sustainable development goals which do not impede economic performance, witch on the contrary enhances it. Virbac's mission of developing, manufacturing and selling veterinary medicines and, more generally, animal health products places it squarely at the heart of the food chain. Its clients - veterinarians and farmers - are increasingly concerned about their impact on the environment and human health. Virbac has, thus, naturally focused its activities accordingly.
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The Group's rapid growth, on average 14% per year over the past three years, simultaneously bolsters the Group's local and global nature, which in turn generates additional demands. Virbac is firmly anchored in its land of origin, the Côte d’Azur region, where it recently became the largest local company. Its visibility is growing with an expanding workforce and investments in its native lands. As such, it must endeavour to set both a social and environmental example for its employees and community. But Virbac has now become a global company, with more than 50% of sales made outside Europe and its subsidiaries operating in 30 countries in every continent. The company must ensure that its development respects certain common guiding principles, regardless of where it is operating, particularly in social and environmental issues – all the while incorporating development targets.
After 2011 and the decision to standardise its operations within the framework of the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), 2012 marked a new phase in this approach with one of Virbac's statutory auditors checking the exhaustiveness of the report with regard to regulations. The three areas of the company's sustainable development approach rests on very solid foundations.
In the social sphere, respect for humankind has been one of the key values of the founder of the company: the pursuit of real social dialogue, a remuneration and social protection policy that favours employees at the lower end of the salary scale, and the confidence and interest shown in every employee thus represent some of Virbac’s traditional values. The company is committed to preserving and fostering this legacy by complementing it with ambitious skills development policies.
In the environmental sphere, the company’s very operations guarantee high levels of quality (compliance for example with Best Manufacturing Practices and with Best Laboratory Practices). In addition, several years ago the company launched lean manufacturing and continuous improvement projects designed to steadily cut waste and optimise resource use. The search for energy savings and respect for the environment are increasingly integrated on a systematic basis into the process by which key company decisions (on investment, transport, product design, etc.) are made.
In the economic sphere, the company’s goal is to continue posting the steady and profitable growth it has seen almost annually since its founding. This development is primarily based on solid organic growth, driven by innovation and the strength of Virbac’s customer relationships. The company regularly boosts its development through targeted acquisitions, all the while ensuring that debt levels remain manageable. This strategy is pursued within the framework of a straightforward and clear governance structure that provides shareholders with a high level of transparency.
Without resorting to extreme communication efforts, Virbac has been implementing an authentic approach targeting long-term development that respects clients, employees, shareholders, partners and its environment.
Éric Marée, chairman of the executive board