Facts & figures


Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Commitment, principles & goals

Our entrepreneurial approach as a conscientious, responsible company includes ethical conduct as well as a commitment to human rights and core international labor standards.

The Human Rights Charter listed under Principles 1 and 2 is the primary policy document on compliance with core labor standards within our company.

At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, it goes without saying that we treat all employees with respect, handling them fairly and in compliance with local statutes and regulations. We abide by the core labor standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO), especially with respect to the following issues: freedom of association; child labor; forced labor; discrimination; equal opportunity; compensation; working hours; occupational health and safety; and prevention of abuse and harassment. We furthermore regularly audit our facilities to ensure that these requirements are being met.

Occupational health and safety is governed by our Group-wide EHS Policy (Environment, Healthy and Safety). This policy is the basis for internal, Group-wide EHS standards, as well as for site-specific guidelines and directives on compliant behavior. Our guidelines are aligned to the Responsible Care Global Charter, which was instituted by the international chemicals industry. One of our primary goals is to reduce the number of workplace accidents. In 2010, we set the goal of reducing the Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR -  the number of workplace accidents resulting in missed work per one million man-hours) to 2.5 by 2015. After having once more exceeded this goal by the end of 2014 with an LTIR of 1.8, we set a new, more ambitious target: to reduce the LTIR to 1.5 by 2020.

We believe that workforce diversity nurtures innovation and better team performance. A good balance between different cultures, nationalities, and age groups as well as between male and female employees is conducive to our business success. We are therefore aiming to further workforce diversity and include all employees in company operations in the best possible way (inclusion). Increasing the proportion of women in management positions is important to us. We have thus set the goal of increasing the percentage of management positions (Global Grade 14+ as per the Towers Watson Global Grading System) held by women to 25%-30% by the end of 2016. In 2015, we endorsed the Equal Opportunity Charter of the German Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE), which underscores our commitment to fairness and tolerance in the workplace.

Taking action and gauging the results

In order to monitor and assess adherence to our Human Rights Charter both within our company as well as among our suppliers, we conduct the audits mentioned under Principles 1 and 2; we furthermore have a Speak-Up Line that allows employees to report compliance violations. In addition to this, we collate key indicators every year and publish them in our Corporate Responsibility Report.

  • Occupational health and safety: Occupational health and safety is an integral part of our Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) management system. Kai Beckmann, Member of our Executive Board, bears ultimate responsibility for environmental, health, and safety matters. The Group function Environment Health Safety Security Quality (EQ) is responsible Group-wide for our strategic alignment along with oversight of these issues, while the operational units at our sites are in charge of implementing procedures. In 2015, we started to implement an OHSAS 18001 group certificate for the production facilities of our Performance Materials business sector. By the end of 2015 this certificate covered nine out of 23 sites, including two sites from Sigma-Aldrich, a company that was acquired in November 2015. On top of that, we already have individual OHSAS 18001 certificates, or equivalent, for four other Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany facilities. For 2016, we are aiming to achieve OHSAS 18001 certification for additional sites.

    We provide regular training to educate employees and supervisors on potential accident risks and hazards. In addition to this, we bolster our safety culture by rewarding good performance at individual sites (e.g. our Safety Excellence Award for zero workplace accidents), and through best practice sharing at regional EHS forums. To continuously improve our EHS performance, we not only offer training and certification programs, but also conduct EHS audits throughout our company. Corrective actions as well as accidents and other incidents are reported across all production facilities. We use specific indicators to take monthly stock of our EHS performance.

    We also implement preventive occupational health and safety measures to protect our employees, efforts that are managed and carried out primarily at the local level. These include fitness activities, information on healthy nutrition, and early detection screening for diabetes or cancer.

    Data on occupational health and safety are collated and evaluated on a monthly basis and published in-house. In 2015, our lost time injury rate (LTIR - the number of workplace accidents resulting in missed work per one million man-hours) was 1.5. Despite our efforts to prevent incidents, there were unfortunately two workplace accidents resulting in fatalities in 2015. In the United States, one employee died in a car accident, while in Germany, one unfortunate employee had a fatal mishap involving a forklift.

    Our internal Safety Excellence Award, which recognizes production sites with no workplace accidents, was presented to 41 out of 61 production sites Group-wide.
  • Diversity management: The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) is responsible for promoting workplace diversity. In addition to this, we have a Diversity Council consisting of representatives from all our business sectors. This committee works to enhance and hone our diversity strategy, driving its implementation and monitoring progress. In order to foster diversity and inclusion within the company, we engage in numerous activities both Group-wide and at a local level. These include communications programs and special advanced training on topics such as leadership skills and self-marketing. Diversity and inclusion is also furthered by internal networks initiated by our employees, such as the International Community, the Rainbow Network for LGBT employees, and Women at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

    In 2013, 25% of the global management positions (Global Grade 14+) at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany were held by women, with 26% in 2014, thereby reaching our strategic goal of boosting this percentage to 25%-30%. We intend to increase this figure even further by the end of 2016. As of December 31, 2015, 27% of management positions (GG 14+) were held by women. People from 122 different nations work at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Only 26% of our employees are German citizens, and 72% work outside of Germany.
  • Monitoring the mica supply chain: We utilize mica sourced from the Indian state of Jharkhand as the primary raw material for the manufacture of effect pigments. Jharkhand is a region where child labor is very common. As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, we are actively fighting to end this practice. We require our suppliers to do the same and contractually prohibit them from utilizing child labor. In line with our general supply chain strategy, we have taken all measures needed to ensure that all suppliers comply with our requirements for mica procurement. We also support health and education projects in order to improve the social situation and living conditions of families in mica mining regions.

    More detailed information can be found under Suppliers.