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TAG overview

Stakeholder dialogue

Our business activities converge with the interests of many people, which is why engaging with our various stakeholders is particularly important to us. Through this dialogue, we communicate our decisions and actions transparently in order to secure our social license to operate. We aim to unite divergent interests as far as possible, as well as build and sustain trust.

Dialogue at various levels

Our key stakeholders include our employees, customers and business partners, patients, the Merck family as the majority owner of the company, shareholders, and our suppliers. We engage in a continuous dialogue with our . We use this exchange to identify important trends and developments in society and in our business areas – and to take them into account when shaping our responsible entrepreneurship.

Our stakeholders

Our stakeholders (Graphic)

We regularly conduct a systematic materiality analysis, which gives us indications of stakeholder expectations. In this way, we identify the economic, social and environmental issues that are important to our – and thus also to us.

We have established guidelines and principles for interaction with certain stakeholders. The focus is always on acting in accordance with the rules. For example, we have defined internal policies and review processes for patient relationships as well as interactions with healthcare stakeholders and business partnerships.

We communicate regularly with our stakeholders through a variety of channels. For instance, we conduct stakeholder surveys or organize topic-specific dialogues at regional, national and international level. We also participate in discussions and informational forums as well as through our advocacy work and industry coalitions. Here are some examples of the dialogue formats used:


Employee engagement surveys

Intranet “EVA”

Germany-wide ideation program

Career fairs


Patient Advisory Boards (PAB) to engage patient organizations in our clinical research

Member of various initiatives on the quality and efficiency of clinical trials

Employee representatives

Involvement of local employee representatives in company decisions


Bioethics Advisory Panel of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; Digital Ethics Advisory Panel


Discussion and information forums for residents in the vicinity of our sites

Healthcare systems

Event series

Collaboration with health authorities and other stakeholders


Network meetings


Associations / Politics

Collaboration in working groups


Supplier surveys

Dialogue events


Annual General Meeting

Events for investors

Public authorities

Subject-specific cooperation

Further information on stakeholder dialogues can be found in the individual report chapters.

Roundtables and informational forums

We hold roundtable discussions and informational forums for local residents at our major sites. 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.

Involvement in initiatives

We collaborate with an array of civic organizations such as the Goethe-Institut and the World Environment Center (WEC). We also participate in other initiatives that share our commitment to responsible corporate conduct, such as Chemie3 and Responsible Care®.

Advocacy groups and industry coalitions

We actively participate in the political process and advocate our positions and views by engaging policy makers in a direct dialogue as well as through our work with industry coalitions. Major national and international industry associations in which we are members and hold positions are:

  • German Federation of Chemical Employers’ Associations (BAVC)
  • Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA)
  • European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, (EFPIA)
  • International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA)
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
  • German Chemical Industry Association (VCI)
  • European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
  • German Association of Research-based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers e.V. (vfa)

Political donations

We do not donate to political parties or related organizations, holders of public office or candidates for such office, nor do we offer them any other financial value. Contributions in the context of political dialogue and information exchange must always comply with the applicable laws. 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. These are not donations made by our company, but rather contributions made by employees. The contributions donated are reported to the U.S. Federal Election Commission and are fully disclosed.

People or organizations that have a legitimate interest in a company, entitling them to make justified demands. Stakeholders include people such as employees, business partners, neighbors in the vicinity of our sites, and shareholders.
People or organizations that have a legitimate interest in a company, entitling them to make justified demands. Stakeholders include people such as employees, business partners, neighbors in the vicinity of our sites, and shareholders.


The current Sustainability Report 2021 can be found here.