I am pleased to welcome you to Edwards Lifesciences’ 2019 Sustainability Report. We are proud that this report reflects upon the continued progress and commitment of Edwards to address and respond to the needs of our stakeholders around the world. As we celebrate 20 years as an independent company in 2020, we reflect upon the history of Edwards and the intentional way in which we created a company focused on acting as a trusted, responsible partner. In 2000, we created a foundational element for our company, our credo – which guides our values, spirit and conscience – and our company aspirations – which are the goals that inspire our more than 14,000 talented global employees every day. Our credo and aspirations help us define our company’s strategic priorities and objectives. Our sustainability strategy supports our business strategy. This complete integration has enabled us to deliver on our sustainability commitments, while driving further growth and innovation for all our stakeholders.
As detailed in the sustainability report, we have set goals connected to each of our aspirations and measure our progress throughout the year. I’m proud to share that in 2019 we met many of our environmental, social and governance goals in the areas of philanthropy, patient engagement, ethics and compliance, environment, diversity and inclusion. Even more important, we have established new goals to encourage our teams to strive to respond to the priority areas that matter most to our company and stakeholders. We continue to sharpen the alignment of our goals to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by focusing on those where we believe we can have the greatest impact. In 2019, we focused on SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being; SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth; and SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
We recognize that the global community is operating in a unique environment in 2020 as we work collectively to combat a global pandemic. While few could have imagined facing a challenge so daunting as the global spread of COVID-19, it is inspiring to see how Edwards’ employees and partners are responding to those in need. We are particularly grateful to our clinician partners and their dedication to serving patients. We appreciate the strong leadership and brave commitment on the front lines responding to COVID-19. We are committed to working together with our clinician partners, employees, governments and communities to do what we can to address this global health crisis.
It is an unprecedented situation such as this that provides a bold reminder of the impactful work of the global healthcare community. We draw strength from our unwavering focus on providing life-enhancing and life-saving therapies for patients in need. We are proud to be partners with physicians to provide tools and therapies for patients who are critically ill or impacted by structural heart disease, and to work together to enable patient access and change the practice of medicine. We launched our “Reach for the Heart” campaign to increase disease awareness in the U.S. We provided opportunities for many patient-employee connections across our global facilities, listening and learning from their healthcare journeys. Our employees demonstrated their resolve and human kindness with community involvement in many ways globally. For example, employees volunteered their time to create cloth masks and face shields and supported their local food banks for children and families in need due to the closure of public schools and the economic impact of business closures and social distancing.
We also continued to make positive progress in our global corporate giving efforts, including with our signature initiative, Every Heartbeat Matters. We are proud that, together with our global philanthropic partners, we met our goal of supporting the education, screening and treatment of 1.5 million underserved people by 2020. We also initiated work with our partners on a new, more ambitious Every Heartbeat Matters goal for the years ahead.
This year we again received recognition for our sustainability initiatives and while we are appreciative of these recent accomplishments, there is still more work to do. We have recently engaged in an updated materiality assessment to ensure we are focusing on the priorities that matter most to our stakeholders, and we continue to engage in regular stakeholder engagement to ensure the dialogue is ongoing about our goals and initiatives. We endeavor to stay humble and to listen, and use this engagement as a way to hold our leadership, employees and partners accountable for operating in a responsible, high-quality way.
Thank you for your partnership and support as we continue to pursue our goals and progress further in our sustainability journey. I am proud of our strong team, community-minded employees and patient-focused culture. We know that when we act with purpose and as trusted partners, we create a community unified in its mission to improve the quality of life around the world.
Michael A. Mussallem, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer