In April 2016, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company partnered with BSR to deepen and expand the impact of HERhealth—one of three pillars that make up HERproject, a global public-private partnership to empower low-income women working in global supply chains through inclusive workplace programs. HERhealth seeks to improve women’s health-related knowledge and behaviors, as well as their access to health services and products.

We sat down with Koichi Kaneda, CSR head, corporate communications, and public affairs at Takeda, to learn more about Takeda and its engagement in HERproject. 

Dominic Kotas: Why did Takeda decide to partner with BSR on HERhealth?

Koichi Kaneda: As a pharmaceutical company with an impact on people's lives, Takeda has great potential to contribute to the implementation of Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.” In addition, Takeda is a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and has been working on initiatives around women’s empowerment aligned with the seven principles.

So, when we first learned about HERhealth in 2015, it made complete sense for us: improving the workplace environment for women workers in supply chains aligns with our commitment to both SDG 3 and the WEPs. Together with BSR, we started a pilot program in Bangladesh. Based on the results of the pilot program, we agreed to expand to a two-year program in China, India, Ethiopia, and Kenya. The holistic nature of the HERhealth program means that it will help us contribute to SDG 5 (gender equality) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), as well as SDG 3.

Being part of HERproject is an extension of Takeda’s work with BSR. Takeda has been a member of BSR and of the BSR Healthcare Working Group since 2009. This has helped us to drive our CSR activities, and we have immense confidence in BSR.

Kotas: How is HERhealth connected to Takeda’s broader priorities and strategy?

Kaneda: Takeda adopts a patient-centric approach in all of our business activities. From 2016, our CSR activities will be based on supporting various programs that uphold prevention of diseases in developing and emerging countries as a priority for medium-to-long-term corporate citizenship activities. We believe that HERhealth, with its commitment to improving the health of women workers in developing and emerging countries, matches this policy. Takeda also supports the development of the HERproject Brand Network, which strengthens cooperation among HERhealth participating companies, and we are proud to be able to contribute to the strengthening of HERproject overall, as well as opportunities for collective action by participating companies.

Kotas: What is your view on increasing access to health services and products?

Kaneda: It’s essential to increase access to drugs and other health services for those in poverty. We believe it is our responsibility to fully address this issue, and we have been carrying out various access initiatives, including corporate citizenship activities. We are working in conjunction with various international organizations, including the UN Global Compact, and of course BSR. And, again, we see this as part of our broader commitment to ensuring that the SDGs become a reality.