We take on responsibility for the community in those areas where we can leverage our expertise. In particular, we support health, culture and education projects in the vicinity of our sites and in the countries where we operate. Moreover, we provide disaster relief in emergency situations.
Our approach to community involvement
Across all our facilities worldwide, we are deeply committed to supporting our communities. In selecting social projects, we choose initiatives that align with our strategic focus areas, namely health, environment, and education & culture.
We are particularly determined to facilitate access to health for people across the globe. To do so, we take a multi-pronged approach that includes numerous health projects aimed at supporting communities. In doing so, we apply our competencies, knowledge and experience in the health industry, joining forces with dependable partners to provide people the help they need.
We view education as a key component of culture – and vice-versa. Education can help us understand culture, but culture can also build a bridge to education; it can stimulate curiosity, nurture creativity and inspire scientific discovery. We therefore sponsor cultural initiatives and support a number of educational projects to spark a passion for science in the next generation. As part of these efforts, we deploy our expertise to encourage and inspire curious young people who share our passion for science and technology.
Our activities are intended to have a positive, long-lasting effect on the community, which is why we promote many long-term initiatives, an approach that strengthens our relationship with stakeholders and helps reinforce our social license to operate.
How we structure community support
Our Group function Corporate Affairs monitors our Group-wide community outreach and oversees a portion of our activities, including our Praziquantel Donation Program, the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) and the Deutsche Philharmonie sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. In addition to Group-wide efforts, our business sectors pursue their own projects such as our educational initiative SPARK. Moreover, since 2017 several of our health initiatives in low- and middle-income countries have been operating under the auspices of the Foundation sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a non-profit limited liability company. Furthermore, our regionally focused activities are planned and executed by our local subsidiaries, who choose for themselves the focus areas within our CR strategy that they would like to support.
The Merck family, too, has long been committed to philanthropic work. Since 2016, their activities have fallen under the umbrella of their Family Foundation, which takes on social responsibility by supporting projects that bring benefits to the people in the vicinity of our sites. This organization focuses on healthcare and education, promoting citizens' initiatives, development cooperation, intercultural understanding, and non-profit objectives. It cooperates with government and scientific institutions as well as nongovernmental organizations, and especially supports projects that our employees are privately involved in.
Our commitment: Principles for our community support
We align our projects with our Group Policy on Contributions to Society, which defines community involvement for our company along with the objectives we pursue. This policy also sets out roles and responsibilities, emphasizing that our activities should have a long-lasting, positive effect on the community. With this in mind, we focus our efforts on long-term projects.
This guideline provides our business sectors and subsidiaries with a framework for structuring their own respective activities.
Our community involvement in numbers
In 2017, our subsidiaries were involved in 250 projects, spending a total of around € 34 million. This figure does not include initiatives that primarily serve to market our products.
In 2017, more than 400 of our U.S. employees took part in the annual EMD Serono Community Service Day. Trading their working day to help out in the community, they volunteered at various non-profit organizations in the vicinity of Boston, MA (USA). Here they engaged in a number of activities, such as painting pictures on hospital walls, planting gardens, giving science lessons to more than 150 elementary school children, helping out at local soup kitchens, and sorting packaged goods at local food banks. In total, our people in the United States invested over 1,500 hours in the local community.
In 2017, our employees in Brazil also engaged in volunteer work to help Rio de Janeiro’s underprivileged inhabitants. Under our Community Action program, over 120 employees from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo donated their time to support local institutions and provide assistance for services such as free health exams, legal advice and cultural activities. For instance, local residents had the chance to undergo vision screening, with our company providing free eyeglasses to approximately 160 people with a visual impairment.
In Darmstadt, too, we view ourselves as part of the community and therefore contribute to a colorful, rich environment by supporting valuable ideas along with regional clubs and initiatives. In addition, we focus on promoting science education and cultural institutions.
Partnering with the Red Cross
We partner with the German Red Cross (DRK) in a bid to provide relief when disaster strikes. In 2017, for instance, we donated € 18,000 to provide aid to Yemen. This donation went towards the German Red Cross's efforts there, setting up health stations and providing clean drinking water and food. In addition to this monetary donation, we also supplied the local health stations with sterile gloves valued at more than € 21,000.
Our subsidiaries also make regular donations to local Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations. In the United States, for instance, our Life Science business sector donated more than € 80,000 in 2017 to help the victims of hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. The money was used to provide accommodation, food and medical aid.
Emergency relief following earthquake in Mexico
After the powerful earthquake in Mexico in September 2017, our subsidiary there donated 5,000 packs of Dolo Neurobion®, our painkiller for neuropathic pain, to the Fundación IMSS, an organ of the Mexican Social Security Institute. This foundation distributed the medicine among people who were injured by partially collapsed houses or falling pieces of furniture, as well as to the wealth of helpers who were suffering pain due to the great physical strain. Our company also donated various toiletries, with our employees in Mexico donating an additional half-truck load of food and toiletries. We covered the cost of transporting the items to the affected communities.