Ladies and gentlemen, friends of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,
In 2018 we ran an employee campaign called “350 Good Deeds”. The name says it all – to commemorate our 350th anniversary, we rolled up our sleeves to support good causes across 60 countries. We made donations to charitable initiatives, launched new projects and volunteered our time. Our employees poured great effort into helping people with disabilities; they renovated hospitals and cooked meals with disadvantaged children. Starting this year, our workforce across the globe will be permitted to take up to two days of paid leave per year to volunteer for charitable activities spearheaded or supported by our company.
While I am proud to be part of a company that is so deeply dedicated to community outreach, corporate responsibility means so much more to us. Indeed, our entire business model is founded on this sense of responsibility. We aspire to be a leading science and technology company, which also means developing technological advances that benefit all humankind. This ranges from treatments for serious diseases, to products and services that make research and biomanufacturing faster and more reliable, through to materials for the technologies of tomorrow. We are leveraging the great potential presented by genome editing, big data and artificial intelligence while living up to the massive responsibility that arises from utilizing such technologies. To keep our moral compass aligned, we discuss complex ethical issues in our Bioethics Advisory Panel, consisting of internal and external experts from a variety of fields and cultures, and comply with the clear-cut recommendations they make.
Last but not least, responsible conduct involves respecting the interests of our employees, customers and investors. In line with this ethos, we are deeply committed to the United Nations Global Compact and its principles on human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, and anti-corruption.
In 2018 we realigned our corporate responsibility strategy to reflect a shared value approach that centers more heavily on creating long-lasting added value for both our company and society. We also narrowed the focus of our three strategic spheres of activity.
Under Global Health, we partner with other actors to support a variety of initiatives that improve access to health services particularly for people in low- and middle-income countries. The non-profit Foundation sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is likewise focused on achieving this goal. For me personally, the greatest proof that we are on the right track is our fourth-place ranking in the Access to Medicine Index, where we beat out some of the giants in the pharmaceutical industry. It is also reflected in our advances in malaria and antimicrobial research, our continued fight against the tropical disease schistosomiasis, and our many awareness campaigns such as “Embracing Carers”.
Sustainable Solutions covers everything that we at the company do to ensure that our processes, products and services contribute to sustainability, specifically in terms of climate and environment. Thanks to our liquid crystals, for instance, energy-efficient smart windows can block sunlight and help reduce the energy needed for air conditioning by up to 40%. Another example is Design for Sustainability, a system our Life Science team uses to analyze and enhance products at the development stage in a bid to conserve resources from cradle to grave.
Broad Minds embodies our tradition of promoting STEM education, scientific research and culture. We are on a quest to spark enthusiasm for science among the next generation. In 2018, we were therefore thrilled to host the German national “Jugend forscht” young researchers competition for the third time. As someone who lives and breathes research, I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with so many curious, talented up-and-coming scientists and discussing their ideas and projects.
We absolutely believe that progress thrives on the nourishment of creative minds. The wide-ranging examples contained in this report illustrate that we do more than pay mere lip service to responsibility – we live it every day. For us, scientific research and responsible entrepreneurship go hand in hand, a principle that will guide us today, tomorrow and beyond.
Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO