Sustainability Report 2021

Stakeholder dialogue

TAG overview

Engaging our various stakeholders is highly 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 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 pursue a continuous dialogue with our stakeholders and use these exchanges to identify important trends and developments in society and in our business fields so as to incorporate these into our corporate responsibility endeavors.

Our stakeholders

Our stakeholders (Graphic)

We regularly conduct a systematic materiality analysis to learn about our stakeholders’ expectations. In doing so, we identify the economic, social and environmental issues that are important to our stakeholders – and thus also to us.

We have established guidelines and principles for interactions with certain stakeholders, with a focus on compliance. For example, we have defined internal policies and review processes for patient relationships, interactions with healthcare stakeholders, and business partnerships.

We communicate regularly with our stakeholders through a variety of channels. For instance, we conduct stakeholder surveys and 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


Ethics Advisory Panel (MEAP); Digital Ethics Advisory Panel (MDEAP)


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

Healthcare systems

Collaboration with health agencies and other stakeholders, network meetings

Industry coalitions/Advocacy groups

Collaboration in working groups


Supplier surveys

Knowledge sharing


Annual General Meeting

Events for investors

Public agencies

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 World Environment Center (WEC) and 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 policymakers in a direct dialogue as well as through our work with industry coalitions. The major national and international industry associations in which we are members and also hold positions include:

  • The German Federation of Chemical Employers’ Associations (BAVC)
  • The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)
  • The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA)
  • The German Chemical Industry Association e. V. (VCI)
  • The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
  • National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
  • United Stated Chamber of Commerce (USCC)
  • Association of International Chemical Manufacturers (AICM)

Political contributions

Our interactions with actors in the political sphere focus on political dialogue, information exchange and open and transparent knowledge sharing. Our guidelines stipulate that our interactions and contributions must comply with all applicable laws and must never aim to inappropriately influence or compensate officials for political favors. Even if permitted by local law, we do not make contributions in the form of donations to or sponsorships of political parties or related organizations. Furthermore, we do not make donations to or sponsor holders of public office or candidates for such, nor do we make other types of financial contributions.

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.


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