Sustainability Report 2021

Company profile

TAG overview

We are a vibrant science and technology company. Science is at the heart of everything we do. It drives the discoveries we make and the technologies we create. We make a positive difference in the lives of millions of people every day.

The digital platform and the products and services in our Life Science business sector make precision research simpler and help speed up scientific breakthroughs. They enable quicker access to healthcare and ensure that analyses are accurate and medications are trustworthy. In the Healthcare business sector, we accompany people in every phase of their life and help them to shape, improve, and prolong it. We enable personalized treatments for serious illnesses and help many couples to realize their wish to have children. In our Electronics business sector, we are the company behind the companies, advancing digital living and changing the way we process information and make it available. Our innovations release the potential of data and open up possibilities for positively influencing the way we live.

Everything we do is fueled by a belief in science and technology as a force for good. It is a belief that has driven our work since 1668 and will continue to inspire us to find more joyful and sustainable ways to live, because we are curious minds dedicated to human progress.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the company name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States. In these countries, we operate as EMD Serono in the healthcare business, as MilliporeSigma in the life science business, and as EMD Electronics in the electronics business.

Apart from our three business sectors, our financial reporting presents five regions: Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. As of December 31, 2021, we had 60,348 employees worldwide. The figure as of December 31, 2020 was 58,127 employees.

In 2021, our 227 subsidiaries with employees in 66 countries generated sales of € 19.7 billion. Our 96 production sites are located across 20 countries.

Employees and sales by region – 2021

Employees and sales by region – 2021 (Graphic)

Group structure

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany comprises three business sectors: Life Science, Healthcare and Electronics. The Performance Materials business sector was renamed Electronics in March 2021.

In Life Science, with our Research Solutions, Process Solutions, and Applied Solutions business units, we are a leading, global supplier of tools, research-grade chemicals, and equipment for academic labs, biotech and biopharmaceutical manufacturers, and the industrial sector. With a strong focus on innovation, we are committed to delivering the products, services, and digital platforms to create a sustainable future for generations to come. Our broad and deep portfolio comprises more than 300,000 products.

Research Solutions provides customer solutions to scientists in academic institutions, government labs, research hospitals, pharmaceutical, R&D, and biotech organizations, empowering their efforts to accelerate science. Process Solutions provides biopharmaceutical manufacturers with process development expertise and technologies, supporting them to develop and manufacture drugs safely, effectively, and cost efficiently. In Applied Solutions, we aim to improve health across many areas of daily life with diagnostic solutions to ensure the safety of vaccines and other life-saving therapies as well as provide testing services to identify contaminants in food, air and water. We supply products and workflow solutions that streamline processes, lower costs and deliver consistent, reliable results for diagnostic, testing and industrial customers.

We continued to engage in combating Covid-19 in 2021, including accelerating the supply of urgently needed lipids as part of our strategic partnership with BioNTech and comprehensively expanding our production capacities for technologies and solutions that are required for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. To date, our products and services have supported more than 80 vaccine developers, more than 35 solutions for testing, and more than 50 monoclonal antibodies, plasma products, and antiviral drugs. You can find more information on our website.

Our Healthcare business sector discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative pharmaceutical and biological prescription drugs to treat cancer, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), infertility, growth disorders, and certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Healthcare operates across four therapeutic areas: Neurology and Immunology, Oncology, Fertility, and Cardiology Metabolism & Endocrinology with a clear ambition to become a global specialty innovator. Our R&D pipeline positions us with a clear focus on strengthening our leadership positions in oncology, neurology, and immunology.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been continuously making every effort to proactively handle the situation and minimize the impact of the pandemic on the supply of our medicines locally and globally through three main levers: the thorough implementation of our business continuity plans across our network, the active management of our stocks, and the assessment of alternative transportation routes to reach our customers and patients.

With our Electronics business sector we are the company behind the companies, advancing digital living. Our primary focus is on the electronics market with our materials and solutions changing the way we generate, access, store, process, and display information. In addition, our highly specialized, application-driven Surface Solutions business makes life more colorful. The business sector consists of three business units: Semiconductor Solutions, Display Solutions, and Surface Solutions. Comparing Electronics with a smartphone, Display Solutions represents the user interface, Semiconductor Solutions the intelligence, and Surface Solutions the aesthetics. We offer innovative solutions especially for the electronics industry – for microchips and displays – and for surfaces of every kind.

Net sales by business sector – 2021

Net sales by business sector – 2021 (Pie chart)


Based in Darmstadt, Germany, the legal form of our company is a corporation with general partners (Kommanditgesellschaft auf Aktien – KGaA). The Merck family holds around 70% of the equity capital of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (equity interest) via the general partner E. Merck KG, Darmstadt, Germany; the shareholders hold the remainder, which is divided into shares (subscribed capital). Our shares have been a constituent of the DAX®, the blue-chip index of the Deutsche Börse, since 2007. In September 2008, our company was added to the FTSE4Good Index, a sustainability index that assesses the social, ecological and ethical conduct of companies.

Group strategy

We are curious minds dedicated to human progress. We believe that scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship are key to technological advances that benefit us all. As a company, we have a strong foundation. These fundamentals have been defined by the Merck family. We always take them into consideration when discussing and deciding on our Enterprise strategy.

  • We follow a risk diversification strategy with three distinct business sectors, and we avoid overexposure to any single customer, industry, or geography. We ensure resilience against business disruption and deep crises.
  • With our science and technology focus, we want to be leaders in our fields of expertise and markets, always pushing the boundaries to find new solutions and drive innovation. We aim to create value for our business and for society.
  • We continue to operate under our current ownership with the Merck family as the majority owner.
  • We deliver sustainable value, and we want to maintain an attractive financial profile (for example, a strong credit rating) while assessing and considering the ESG (environmental, social, governance) impact of our growth ambition.
  • Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are an important driver of our long-term value creation strategy with a focus on innovation-driven technology.

Our ambition is to become the global 21st century science and technology pioneer, and we have four key priorities to deliver on this ambition.

  • Mobilizing for Efficient Growth
  • Leveraging Innovation in the “Big 3” (Process Solutions & Life Science Services in Life Science, new Healthcare products and Semiconductor Solutions in Electronics)
  • Driving Culture & Leadership
  • Focusing on Sustainability

In all three business sectors – Life Science, Healthcare and Electronics – the course has been set for sustainable, profitable growth.

Additionally, we have made clear progress on our sustainability strategy, incorporating sustainability even more strongly as an essential component of our corporate strategy and all company processes.

You can find more information on our company strategy in our Annual Report 2021. Details on the sustainability strategy can be found there and here in the report.

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)
ESG represents an evaluation of a company’s collective conscientiousness for environmental, social and governance factors. An ESG score is compiled from data collected surrounding specific metrics related to intangible assets within the enterprise.

Share this page: