We take on social responsibility, especially in those areas where we can leverage our expertise. Our aim is to support health, education and cultural projects and assist people in need in the countries where we operate, especially in the immediate vicinity of our sites.
Our approach to community involvement
Worldwide, we are deeply committed to supporting the communities in which our sites are located. In selecting social projects, we choose initiatives that align with our strategic spheres of activity, namely Global Health, Broad Minds and Sustainable Solutions. Beyond efforts that empower people, we also provide disaster relief when emergencies arise.
We are particularly determined to facilitate access to health for people worldwide. To do so, we take a multipronged approach that includes a wide array of health projects aimed at strengthening communities. In pursuing these activities, we apply our competencies, knowledge and experience in the health industry.
We view scientific education as a key component of culture – and vice versa. Education can help us understand culture, while 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 sustainable effect on the community. We work with reliable partners to support many long-term projects, enabling us to strengthen our relationship with our stakeholders and to reinforce our social license to operate.
How we structure community support
The Group Corporate Affairs function monitors our Group-wide community outreach and coordinates some 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 the educational program 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. Most of our regional activities are planned locally and executed independently by our subsidiaries, which choose for themselves the spheres of activity from our Corporate Responsibility strategy they wish to support.
The Merck family has also long been committed to philanthropic work, consolidating its activities under the umbrella of the Family Foundation and the “Gesellschaft für Kunst und Wissenschaft e. V.”. The Family Foundation supports social projects internationally, focusing on health and education, furthering citizens’ initiatives, development cooperation, and intercultural understanding. In addition, the foundation cooperates with government and scientific institutions as well as non-governmental organizations. It gives priority to advancing projects that our employees are privately involved in. The “Gesellschaft für Kunst und Wissenschaft e. V.” is a philanthropic organization that promotes artistic and scientific projects related to either the Rhine-Main region, the city or district of Darmstadt (Germany), or to the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. For instance, the organization awards doctoral and postdoctoral grants and fellowships to leading researchers in the fields of chemistry and pharmacy.
Our commitment: The principles of our community involvement
We align our projects with our Group Policy on Contributions to Society, which defines what community outreach means to our company and the objectives we wish to pursue. This policy gives our business sectors and subsidiaries abroad a framework for structuring their respective activities themselves. Moreover, it sets out roles and responsibilities, emphasizing that our activities should have a sustainable, positive effect on the community. With this in mind, we focus our efforts on long-term projects. In 2019, we revised this Group policy so as to more closely align projects with our strategic spheres of activity.
We also rolled out and communicated our new Corporate Volunteering Guideline. Applicable Group-wide, it aims to encourage our people to get involved in supporting the community. We grant our employees up to two days of paid leave per year to take part in volunteer activities either run or supported by our company.
Our Good Deeds
Our community outreach activities are collectively referred to as “Our Good Deeds” and include volunteer initiatives as well as monetary and product donations. In January 2020, our employees were again asked to select their favorite projects from 2019. The projects with the most votes were distinguished with an "Our Good Deeds Award” and also received financial support.
In 2019, we spent around € 46 million on community involvement, which also includes community outreach spending by Versum Materials and Intermolecular (as of the beginning of October 2019). However, it does not include contributions from the Foundation sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, nor initiatives that primarily serve to market our products.
Examples of good deeds
In 2019, our employees again participated in numerous philanthropic projects, most of which were conducted locally.
In October 2019, our Healthcare team in the Netherlands organized an “Impact Day”. In cooperation with a local partner, the team of 30 employees chose to spend the day with residents from a care center for the elderly. During the event, they enjoyed social activities with residents, going for a walk together and accompanying those with mobility challenges.
In Thailand, our employees organized an internal charity bazaar for the second time, selling items such as homemade food and drinks. The money raised was donated to a local organization that works to improve educational opportunities for children.
In Poland, our employees took part in a campaign by the local Red Cross, collecting school supplies and donating them to children from socioeconomically disadvantaged families.
In France, employees collected winter clothing, which they distributed along with hygiene articles to homeless people. Employees also ran a toy drive to bring Christmas cheer to children from disadvantaged families.
To mark the integration of Versum Materials and Intermolecular, our Performance Materials employees took part in an initiative designed to raise the business sector’s level of community engagement. Various activities, for instance an online quiz, were held to allow every employee to impact the funding amount. A total of € 100,000 will now be used to support charitable projects around the world that employees have proposed themselves.