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A message from our CEO

A message from our CEO

Our commitment to our people and our responsibility towards the environment and our community have always been intrinsic elements of our values and goals. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are integrated into the policies that govern our business and we are committed to continued development of our ESG strategy and reporting for the years to come.

ICON is deeply invested in keeping our people, patients, and communities safe and evolving our operations to keep clinical trials on track. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our work truly makes an impact on global health and through our Own It @ ICON culture, we all have a responsibility to deliver the best solutions for our customers and patients. We are determined, resilient people who work together as one team – and I am proud to witness this every day. 

Steve Cutler
Chief Executive Officer

ESG Committee

ICON established an ESG Committee in 2019 in order to bring together all of our existing initiatives and efforts under one umbrella to ensure consistency, enhance monitoring, reveal areas for development and facilitate reporting to the Board. The ESG Committee is focused on developing our strategy and initiatives relating to the environment, social matters, health and safety, community engagement, corporate governance, sustainability and other public policy matters relevant to the company. The ESG Committee is chaired by ICON’s Chief Administrative Officer (“CAO”) who is responsible for reporting to the ICON executive leadership team and Board on ESG matters.

The ESG Committee is a cross-functional management committee of ICON with representation from Facilities, Corporate Communications, Finance, Legal, Investor Relations and Human Resources departments. The Committee supports executive management and the Board of ICON plc in:

  • Determining and setting the strategy relating to ESG matters
  • Developing, implementing and monitoring initiatives and policies based on that strategy
  • Communicating our strategies and initiatives and their results

ESG Reporting



2020 Report

Historical Reports


Sustainable Development Goals

Building a sustainable future – our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

As a global company, we maintain an ethical and sustainable presence in hundreds of locations worldwide. At its core, ICON’s mission is to improve health and lives. We are also committed to contributing to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and are proud that our work contributes to their advancement.

Our research, our work with customers and patients, and our on-the-ground efforts to meet the diverse needs across our communities collectively touch each of the 17 SDGs. These efforts, however, focus on a subset of themes where we have the greatest opportunity to effect change.

Promoting health and advancing healthcare

Use our expertise and resources where we are able to promote health and advance healthcare, including expanding access to clinical trials.

Supporting equality

Work across our operations and with our partners to improve social and economic opportunities for people of all backgrounds.

Driving innovation

Drive adoption of new technologies to improve speed and scale of healthcare research and commercialisation.

Operating sustainably

Manage our operations to reduce resource use and minimise our global environmental footprint.

ICON is also committed to conducting our business in a sustainable manner that fosters the growth of the company, its partners and the communities in which we live and work.

Environment – protecting and thriving in the communities where we live and work

Environment – protecting and thriving in the communities where we live and work

ICON is committed to conducting our business in an environmentally sustainable manner by tracking our activities, managing and improving our environmental performance across all business activities. ICON Green is the programme under which our environmental sustainability initiatives are managed, in accordance with our Global Environmental Management Policy and Environmental Management Plan.

ICON has started to switch to direct 100% renewable tariffs, where it is possible to do so. Efficiency projects began in 2019, with our Dublin headquarters completing a complete retrofit to LED lighting, contributing towards our 20% kWh reduction target. ICON’s net zero ambitions on scope 1 and scope 2 emissions will be achieved through efficiency projects and voluntarily participating in Carbon Credit schemes.

Carbon emissions

We track, calculate, and report our carbon footprint for scope 1 and scope 2, using the information available to continue to improve our processes and reduce our impact. We follow the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol corporate standard, and we work with Carbon Trust to verify our emissions data.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) provides a globally recognised disclosure system that enables companies to measure and manage their environmental impacts.

Avoiding waste

Waste reduction is one of the objectives of our Environmental Management Policy and we are committed to reducing waste through increasing recycling facilities and wide-ranging waste reduction activities.

Real estate

The majority of our locations are leased, and we work closely with our landlords and leasing agents to ensure that we are operating our offices in an environmentally sustainable manner.

ICON Green employee engagement

We require our people to act in an environmentally sustainable manner as set out in our Global Code of Ethical Conduct. ICON offers dedicated employee activities in environmental sustainability that seek to engage employees in what is happening internally within ICON, promote best practices for the working day, and stimulate conversations on what it means to be environmentally aware.

A culture of ownership

A culture of ownership

Our culture is a distillation of the best of what we have long been, combined with the best we can become. It is a shared sense of what we stand for individually and collectively that makes us different as a company, enables us to become a better partner to our customers and helps us to fulfil our mission to advance and improve life.

‘Own It @ ICON’ is a statement that sits at the very heart of our culture, encouraging our people to seize the opportunity and bring flexibility, innovation and determination to every situation. We believe our culture of ownership personifies who we are as a company and helps us to apply our expertise, collaborate to get things done and enhance our mission to advance life. 


Central to our culture are our four core values.

Accountability and delivery

We take pride in what we do and responsibility for our actions, owning the potential of each project. We are relentless in our pursuit to exceed customer expectations. We never give up and consistently challenge the status quo to look for better ways to apply innovation to deliver successful outcomes. 



We are one team. True collaboration moves beyond the power of one to the power of the team. At ICON, collaboration is key to better brainstorming, increased innovation and is the foundation for what makes our teams successful as we fulfill our mission. 


We partner with our customers. We are a company that builds strong relationships forged on trust and understanding of our customers’ problems. Our people are known for their flexibility and determination to do more, and to go further to deliver excellence in every situation. Every partnership continually evolves with our clients’ needs. 


We do the right thing. ICON is a business with an impressive history built on integrity and responsibility. We have a strong moral code and intuitively know and understand what doing the right thing means. We drive a can-do spirit into everything we do and that means we are open to debate, open to challenge and open to change.

Health - positively impacting millions of lives.

Health - positively impacting millions of lives.

Fostering good health and wellbeing is at the core of our mission and a large part of our sustainability efforts. At ICON, we have built our reputation on enduring partnerships that are driven to advance medicine and make a difference in the world.

In 2020, ICON worked on over 530 clinical studies involving over 90,000 patients, contributing to the development of 14 new drugs We are evolving clinical trials to be more patient centric, and are at the forefront of developing tools and technology that make participating in trials more convenient and less burdensome to patients. Our expertise extends across basic and applied research, infectious and neglected tropical diseases, oncology, vaccine development, and testing and the response to biothreats.

From the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, we immediately adapted our services to support sponsors as they pivoted into a “new normal.” We mobilised our global team of therapeutic and operational specialists to assist both government and commercial clients in addressing the global threat, and we provided clinical monitoring and safety oversight on several new COVID-19 trials. ICON’s work led to the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19 to be granted Emergency Use Authorisation. Additionally, we offer full post-marketing services for authorised COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, including post-authorisation safety studies (PASS).

ICON’s ongoing commitment is to help solve global health issues through enhancing capabilities in vaccines and infectious diseases and accelerating the delivery of effective medicines.

ICON's work in 2020:

  • 530+

    Clinical studies
  • 90,000+

  • 14

    New drugs approved
A story of growth and expansion

A story of growth and expansion

What began as a small team of five people in Dublin, Ireland in 1990, by September 2021 ICON employed approximately 38,000 people across 159 office locations in 53 countries. Guided by a commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging, and with a patient-centric approach, our global team members work together and across borders to deliver clinical research services and solutions for clients and partners.

We’ve experienced year-on-year organic growth, bolstered through a number of strategic acquisitions which have broadened, or added scale to, our service portfolio.

In 2021, ICON acquired PRA Health Sciences, a full-service global contract research organisation, forming the world’s leading healthcare intelligence and clinical research organisation.