Dear Stakeholders and Friends of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,
The world is changing rapidly, presenting mankind with ever new challenges, among them climate change, an aging population, broad access to health, and the digitization of society. Solutions must be found for all these issues.
It has long been clear that no one single player can solve all the challenges of our times. The issues are too complex to be handled by any one group on their own, whether that be policy makers, industry, civil society, or international organizations. The only answer is for us to join forces.
We view ourselves as a partner in shaping a better future. We take responsibility. Through our technologies and products, we are making a significant contribution to solving many global issues. As a company, we strive for sustainable success, not merely to maximize short-term profit. And we know that success can only be sustainable if it is achieved responsibly.
Responsible governance is thus the compass that guides our day-to-day actions and constitutes an integral part of our Group strategy. Since 2005, we have been supporting the United Nations Global Compact and its principles, which cover human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, and anti-corruption. In 2014, we underscored our dedication to sustainable supply chains in the chemical industry by joining the Together for Sustainability initiative.
In order to make our corporate responsibility activities more effective, we defined three strategic spheres of activity in 2014, those being environment, health and culture.
We are dedicated to improving access to health and are committed to providing underserved populations with access to effective, affordable health solutions, health prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
For instance, we have taken up the fight against the tropical disease schistosomiasis. Thanks to the praziquantel tablets we donate to the World Health Organization, 54 million children have already been treated thus far. We'll be increasing our contribution to up to 250 million tablets per year and will continue the donation until schistosomiasis has been eliminated in Africa.In the 2014 Access to Medicine Index, we once more increased our standing, moving up to sixth place. This shows that we are on the right path, one that we will continue to follow.
In everything we do, we strive to minimize our negative impacts on the environment. Many of the products in our portfolio actively contribute to environmental protection and help our customers use less water, power and raw materials.For instance, we are continually developing new formulations of liquid crystals that require less display backlighting, which significantly reduces the power consumed by electronic devices.
Being an innovative, high-tech company, we know that science and culture inspire one another, that they both form part of a healthy society. We promote cultural projects and education around the world in order to foster a passion for music, literature and science.Take for example the Premio Letterario of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a literary award that we present once a year in Italy to writers who in particular have built bridges between science and literature. We also sponsor the Johann Heinrich Merck Award of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany for Literary Critique and Essay of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which is presented by the German Academy for Language and Poetry to authors who build bridges between literature and empathetic understanding. Building bridges between cultures is the focus of two literary awards that we grant in partnership with the Goethe Institut: the Kakehashi Prize of Merck Ltd. Japan, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in Japan and the Merck Tagore Award of Merck Ltd., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in India.
We will only be able to overcome the challenges of the next several decades if we - meaning policy makers, industry and society - join forces. This is the reason we're contributing the experience and expertise we have at solving global issues. The company has been taking responsibility for nearly 350 years and will continue to do so – now and in the future.
Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany