The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is now anchored in corporate CSR strategy worldwide. Not only is there an undeniable moral case for doing business sustainably, shareholders and other stakeholder groups are actively scrutinizing the track record and plans of organizations before doing business with them, joining, or investing in them. And yet the 2030 Agenda contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets. Tackling these is a daunting task. 


We talk with Marcello Cattani, President and General Manager of Sanofi Italy and a winner of the 2021 CEOforLIFE award. How is Sanofi tackling its CSR agenda; what are the highlights, challenges, and lessons learned? He shares his insights with Amrop. 


Marcello Cattani has over 20 years’ experience in the multinational chemical-pharmaceutical sector at national, European and international level, for world-leading multinationals. He joined Sanofi in 2015 and in 2019 was appointed General Manager of Sanofi Genzyme, the division of Sanofi in Italy specialized in rare diseases, multiple sclerosis, oncology and immunology.   


In April 2020, he stepped into the leadership role at country level. Through synergistic work between the four business units Sanofi operates in Italy (general medicines, specialty care, vaccines and consumer healthcare) he is guiding Sanofi’s innovation and growth on the Italian market and its relationship with main stakeholders. He also chairs the steering committee of Sanofi in Italy with the aim of accelerating the path of cultural and strategic transformation traced in recent months by group CEO Paul Hudson.  


Born in Milan and living in Parma, Marcello Cattani has a degree in Biological Sciences with a biomolecular address cum laude and specialization in Chemistry and Food Technology. 



Executive Summary | Living Sustainability: Leadership Keys 




Set the corporate true north — map it, and live it 

  • Sanofi’s people have a clear point of view about our role in the world and a plan to ensure a positive societal impact across all our business, with a strong focus on the expectations of our people and other stakeholders. 
  • This unique context led us to elevate our ambition for our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and embed it into our mission to transform lives and our vision for a better future. It had to be more than a poster by the elevator or a tick-the-box exercise.” 
  • Each area has been reinforced by specific initiatives that we’re conducting in coordination with our global program, in order to join forces at all levels of the company. 


Bring out the best in everyone 

  • Looking at the employee dimensions, we are focusing on creating a work environment where we can bring our best selves. Our employees must feel able to bring their best selves to work and unleash their full potential to boost sustainability. 
  • The key factor is to concretely activate people by building collective initiatives that they can feel close to and useful. For this reason, the criteria with which we develop CSR programmes are inspired by four factors: the ability to meet a specific need, the identification of a specific segment of the community, leveraging partnerships with credible and key stakeholders at all levels and being measurable. 


Connect through diversity 

For a start it’s about building representative leadership. By that we mean leadership and teams that reflect the diversity of our communities and that embrace this vision in order to leverage diverse perspectives and be fully connected to our patients’ and customers’ needs.  

Looking outside, we turn to engagement with our diverse communities. People must be engaged to positively impact the society in which we live and work. 


Understand your own true north 

I have always believed that running a business carries with it responsibilities that go beyond the business, for two reasons. The first is exercising responsibility towards the outside world: the company is part of a large community, it operates within it, influences it and is influenced by it. It is a continuous osmosis of knowledge and cultures that mutually enrich each other. The second is about responsibility towards the inside: the company is, itself, a community: it is made up of people with skills and needs, who live and exchange experiences every day.