Our business activities converge with the interests of many people, which is why engaging with our various stakeholders is particularly important to us. We aim to unite divergent interests as far as possible, as well as build and sustain trust. Through this dialogue, we communicate our decisions and actions transparently in an effort to ensure social license to operate.
Dialogue at various levels
Our key stakeholders include our employees, customers and business partners, patients, the Merck family, and our suppliers. We maintain continuous contact with these groups through a variety of channels such as stakeholder surveys, issue-specific dialogues, roundtable discussions, and information forums. We also engage stakeholders through our advocacy work and industry coalitions.
Regular stakeholder dialogue
We regularly conduct surveys among our employees, customers and business partners, as well as other relevant stakeholder groups. We want to know which issues they consider to be of importance to our company now and in the future, along with how they rate our performance in addressing individual issues. We also seek to understand their expectations of us as a responsible company. Our CR report reflects the results of these surveys and presents the actions we have taken in response.
In October 2018 we conducted a Group-wide employee survey in 22 languages. Around 45,000 employees took part, representing an 86% response rate.
Our business operations in the areas of healthcare, life science and performance materials intersect the interests of various social groups, whom we engage via questionnaires, workshops and seminars, as well as at major conferences. Our departments organize such forms of exchange at the local, national and international level, depending on the topic and degree of importance. Beyond this, we are also involved in industry networks and participate in symposia. In 2018, we intensified our efforts in the following areas:
Protecting public health and safety: We partner with the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), a non-profit organization whose main objectives are to protect public health and safety by sharing information on pharmaceutical counterfeiting and initiating enforcement actions via the appropriate authorities. We take an active role in this work through participation in conferences and PSI network meetings. In September 2018 we hosted both the PSI Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regional meeting and the PSI Technical Forum. The aim of these conferences was to coordinate new actions and share efficient analytical methods and techniques for the forensic identification of counterfeits. Among the participants were safety and analysis experts from 27 pharmaceutical companies, as well as government officials. You can find more information under Product-related crime.
Protecting aquatic ecosystems from trace substances: In 2018, we participated in the second phase of the “Handling trace substances” dialogue through our membership in industry coalitions. A joint effort with non-governmental organizations, other companies, the German Federal Environment Agency, and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, this dialogue aims to unite divergent interests and identify measures to minimize trace substances in order to prepare a German federal government strategy to protect aquatic ecosystems. You can find more information under Water management.
Towards a responsible mica supply chain: In 2018, we continued to support and promote the work of the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI), whose goal is to improve traceability along the Indian mica supply chain through collaborating on specific cross-industry actions. We took part in RMI events with various interest groups and also attended symposia. In April 2018, for instance, we participated in the Terre des Hommes Mica Stakeholder Event in the Hague (Netherlands), which centered around discussions scrutinizing the relevance of mica in the automotive and electronics supply chains. In March 2018 we furthermore attended the Child Labor Platform (CLP) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Paris (France), which focused on eliminating child labor in sandstone and mica mines as well as on cacao plantations. You can find more information under Mica supply chain.
350 years of curiosity: To mark our 350th anniversary, we assumed sponsorship of the Curious2018 – Future Insight Conference. Held in July in Darmstadt, a group of renowned scientists, including six Nobel laureates, presented their research to some 1,300 guests. We also chose the conference as a platform to launch the Future Insight Prize, with which we hope to stimulate the creation of groundbreaking scientific solutions to solve existential challenges facing humanity. The Future Insight Prize will be presented for the first time in 2019, for work on a pandemic protector that can analyze emerging pathogens. You can find more information under Innovation and digitalization.
Roundtables and informational forums
We have set up roundtable discussions and informational forums for local residents at our major facilities. Since 1994, we have been holding an annual public planning forum in Darmstadt to discuss the development of our site with members of the city council, local authorities and the community. In 2018, the forum focused on future worlds of work, for instance how we can create modern workplaces and attract talented employees.
Advocacy groups and industry coalitions
We actively participate in the political process and advocate our views by engaging policy makers in a direct dialogue as well as through our work with industry coalitions. Below are several examples of major national and international industry associations in which we are members and hold positions:
- German Chemical Industry Association e. V. (VCI)
- European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
- German Association of Research-based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers e. V. (vfa)
- European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)
- International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).
Examples of positions held by members of our Executive Board include:
Stefan Oschmann, Executive Board Chairman and CEO:
- European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), President
- German Chemical Industry Association e. V. (VCI), Member of the Executive Committee
Udit Batra, Executive Board member and CEO Life Science:
- Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Board member
- Massachusetts High Technology Council (MHTC), Board member
- University of Delaware, Department of Engineering, member of the Advisory Council
- Princeton University, Department of Engineering, member of the Advisory Council
Kai Beckmann, Executive Board member and CEO Performance Materials:
- German Federation of Chemical Employers’ Associations (BAVC), President
- Darmstadt Rhein Main Neckar Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), Vice President
- Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD), Chairman of the Advisory Board
- Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), Vice President
Belén Garijo, Executive Board member and CEO Healthcare:
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Board member
Marcus Kuhnert, Executive Board member and Chief Financial Officer:
- German Chemical Industry Association e. V. (VCI), Vice Chairman of the Hessian Chapter
Involvement in initiatives
We collaborate with an array of civically engaged organizations such as the Goethe-Institute, the Joint Conference Church and Development (GKKE) (pharma dialogue) and the World Environment Center (WEC). Furthermore, we are also involved in initiatives and projects that share our interpretation of responsible entrepreneurial conduct. This is why we support, for instance, the Code of Responsible Conduct for Business and are members of the Chemie³ and Responsible Care® initiatives.
We do not make donations in the form of financial contributions or services to political parties or related organizations. Donations to holders of political office or candidates for such, as well as to political initiatives, must always comply with the statutes in force in the recipient’s country. This approach is stipulated in our internal guidelines. In the United States, political action committees (PACs) have been set up through which our employees can donate money to support political candidates and organizations. Such donations are not made by or on behalf of the company; they are reported to the U.S. Federal Election Commission and publicly disclosed.