We take on social responsibility. Focusing especially on those areas where we can best leverage our expertise, we support health, education and cultural projects. Moreover, we provide disaster relief and assist people in need in the vicinity of our sites and in the countries where we operate.
Our approach to community involvement
Across all our facilities worldwide, we are deeply committed to supporting our communities. In selecting social projects, we choose initiatives that align with our strategic focus areas, namely Global Health and Broad Minds.
We are particularly determined to facilitate access to health for all citizens worldwide. To do so, we take a multi-pronged approach that includes an array of health projects aimed at strengthening communities. In pursuing these efforts, we apply our competencies, knowledge and experience in the health industry, joining forces with dependable partners to provide people with the help they need.
We view scientific education as a key component of culture - and vice versa. Education can help us understand culture, but culture can also build a bridge to education; it can stimulate curiosity, nurture creativity and even inspire scientific discovery. We therefore sponsor cultural initiatives and support a number of educational projects aimed at cultivating the next generation of scientists. As part of these efforts, we deploy our expertise to encourage and inspire curious young people who share our passion for science and technology.
Our activities are intended to have a positive, long-lasting effect on the community. We therefore promote many long-term initiatives, which is an approach that strengthens our relationship with our stakeholders and helps reinforce our social license to operate.
How we structure community support
Our Group Corporate Affairs function monitors Group-wide community outreach and oversees a portion of our activities, including the Praziquantel Donation Program, the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) and the Deutsche Philharmonie sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Beyond these Group-wide efforts, our business sectors also run their own projects such as our educational initiative SPARK, while several of our health initiatives in low- and middle-income countries operate under the auspices of the Foundation sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Furthermore, our regionally focused activities are planned and executed by our local subsidiaries, who choose for themselves the focus areas of our Corporate Responsibility (CR) strategy they would like to support.
The Merck family has also long been committed to philanthropic work, with its activities falling under the umbrella of the Family Foundation. This organization takes on social responsibility by supporting projects that bring benefits to the people in the vicinity of our sites, focusing on healthcare and education, promoting citizens’ initiatives, development cooperation, intercultural understanding, and non-profit objectives. The foundation moreover cooperates with government and scientific institutions as well as nongovernmental organizations, and especially furthers projects that our employees are privately involved in.
Our commitment: The principles of our community involvement
We align our projects with our Group Policy on Contributions to Society, which defines community engagement for our company along with the objectives we pursue. This policy also provides our business sectors and subsidiaries with a framework for structuring their respective activities. Moreover, it sets out roles and responsibilities, emphasizing that our activities should have a long-lasting, positive effect on the community. With this in mind, we focus our efforts on long-term projects.
In 2018, the Executive Board adopted a new Group-wide Corporate Volunteering Guideline, which grants our people up to two days of paid leave per year to volunteer in initiatives that are either run or supported by our company. We hope that this guideline will encourage even more of our employees to get involved in the community.
350 years – 350 good deeds
To mark our 350th anniversary, in 2018 we launched 350 Good Deeds, a campaign under which we conducted more than 350 charitable activities in 60 countries worldwide – particularly in the direct vicinity of our facilities. The aim of this campaign was to demonstrate our social commitment and give something back to the communities in which we operate. At the same time, it was intended to enhance employee engagement and bolster team spirit by involving employees around the globe in our community outreach efforts. In selecting social projects, we chose initiatives that aligned with our strategic spheres of activity, namely Global Health and Broad Minds. However, we also supported environmental projects and provided assistance to people in need. The 350 good deeds were chosen by the responsible employees at our individual sites.
Actively participating in more than 60% of the projects, our employees showed their support by donating their time as well as money and supplies. Another way they got involved was by voting for their favorite projects, with the four most popular receiving additional funding from our company.
In 2018, we spent a total of around € 36 million on community involvement. This figure does not include contributions from the Foundation sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany or initiatives that primarily served to market our products.
Examples of our 350 Good Deeds engagement
The good deeds promoted through our anniversary campaign covered a wide range of issues, an intentional choice since the campaign reflected the diverse interests of our employees. In particular, these activities addressed local needs and challenges that our people are passionate about and which they deemed to be worthy.
During our 350th anniversary year, our employees in Poland took a fitting and unique approach toward community involvement. All the community activities they pursued in their free time were counted and as soon as the number reached 350, we made a financial donation to both the F84 Autism Spectrum Disorder Society and the AVALON Foundation. These two organizations assist people with disabilities and were chosen by the employees who participated.
Hand in hand with the Manos Abiertas foundation, we support an orphanage in Argentina, funding the maintenance of the facility along with equipment to meet the children’s everyday needs. Together with our employees, we also donated food, school supplies, clothing, and toys in 2018. Our people moreover visited the center regularly to spend time cooking and painting pictures with the children, or to celebrate occasions such as birthdays, Easter or Christmas.
We supported similar volunteering activities in other countries, and many employees have donated items such as books, toiletries and food to social facilities. One example is the Give Back Days held by our people in France. During our 350th anniversary year, they launched two on-site donation drives, the first for clothes and children’s books and the second for toys and hygiene products as well as canned goods, collecting an impressive 1.2 metric tons of food in total. The items were then donated to eight local charities.