Ladies and gentlemen,
The term “responsibility” originates from the Latin word “respondere”, which means to respond or reply. Today, companies are required more than ever to respond to certain questions: How are they contributing to society and the environment? How do they treat the people who work for and with them?
“Taking responsibility means responding to questions.”
We are deeply engaged in these questions. To us, they have always been part of our entrepreneurial approach. Responsibility is one of our six Values that guide our actions each and every day. We have thus been supporting the United Nations Global Compact and its principles since 2005, which cover human rights, labor standards, the environment, and anti-corruption.
In 2011, we refined our corporate responsibility strategy, which comprises three spheres of activity: people, products and the environment. Here are some select examples of our engagement:
- With our innovative , we are helping to resolve global challenges such as climate change and a energy scarcity. For instance, the innovative liquid crystals from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany enable computer displays and televisions to consume significantly less electricity. In addition to this, we are bolstering the health care systems in developing countries and emerging markets through a multitude of activities. As an example, we have developed a mini-laboratory to detect counterfeit medicines, thus facilitating access to health.
- Our engagement in climate protection represents one expression of our responsibility for the . We aim to reduce our direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, measured against the 2006 baseline. In order to reach this goal, we are instituting Group-wide measures through our EDISON program, such as the construction of a biomass power plant at our Goa, India site. Through the EDISON projects, we aim to prevent 64,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.
- One way in which we take on responsibility for people is as an employer. One of our primary focuses over the last several years has been to continually improve occupational safety through targeted programs. We promote workforce diversity and are aiming for a 25%-30% increase in the percentage of management positions held by women by 2016. We also demonstrate our social engagement through in Africa, which we are combating in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). Since starting our Praziquantel Donation Program in 2007, we have donated over 100 million praziquantel tablets to treat more than 28 million children. In 2012, we decided to increase the number of tablets donated tenfold in the medium term.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has been listed in the FTSE4Good sustainability index since 2008. In the 2012 Access to Medicine Index, we went up nine places to eighth place. As in the previous years, we have received various awards for both our innovative products as well as for our performance as an employer.
Corporate responsibility is part of our daily conduct and thus a fundamental prerequisite for our business success. Only a healthy company that operates sustainably can contribute as an employer, taxpayer and corporate citizen to a functioning society. Through our “” efficiency and growth program, which we announced at the end of 2011, we are ensuring that we can continue to do so also in the future.
In 2018, we want to be a company that is synonymous with innovation, quality and sustainability. A company that continues to be recognized for performance, efficiency and the career opportunities that it offers around the world. A company that is respected for its values, its culture, and for its constantly responsible conduct.
Since the company was founded nearly 350 years ago, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has had a solid tradition of taking responsibility in the long term and supporting sustainability. We will carry this tradition on and continue to respond to questions of responsibility in the future as well.
Chairman of the Executive Board