Our business activities converge with the interests of many people, which is why engaging with our stakeholders is particularly important to us. We aim to unite divergent interests as far as possible, as well as build and sustain trust. Through this dialogue, we communicate our decisions and actions transparently in an effort to ensure social license to operate.
Dialogue at various levels
Our key stakeholders include our employees, customers and business partners, patients, the Merck family, and our suppliers. We maintain continuous contact with them through a variety of channels, including stakeholder surveys, issue-specific dialogues, roundtable discussions, and information forums. We also engage stakeholders through our advocacy work and industry coalitions.
Regular stakeholder surveys
We regularly conduct surveys among our employees, customers and business partners, as well as other relevant stakeholder groups. We want to know which issues they consider to be of importance to our company now and in the future, along with how they rate our performance in addressing the individual issues. We also seek to understand their expectations of us as a responsible company. Our CR Report reflects the results of these surveys and presents the actions we’ve taken in response.
In November 2017, we conducted a Group-wide employee survey in 22 languages. Around 42,100 employees took part, representing an 84% response rate.
Our business operations in the areas of healthcare, life science and performance materials intersect the interests of various social groups, whom we engage via questionnaires, workshops and seminars, or even at major conferences. Our departments organize such forms of exchange at the local, national and international level, depending on the topic and degree of importance. Beyond this, we are also involved in industry networks and participate in symposia. In 2017, we intensified our efforts in the following areas:
Improving access to health: As part of our aim to improve access to health in low- and middle-income countries, we continuously engage various stakeholders through channels such as our Access Dialogues, which in 2017 focused on open innovation, intellectual property, and local supply chain challenges. Launched in 2013, this event series provides a platform for public and private sector stakeholders to exchange important information and share best practices pertaining to access to health. You can find more information under Access to health.
Sourcing mica responsibly: In November 2017, we attended the Delhi kick-off of the Responsible Mica program, which was launched in response to the 2016 Mica Summit. As founding members, we are committed to increasing the traceability of mica all along the supply chain and to improving the living conditions of the communities in the mining regions. At the event, members endorsed a five-year action plan that defines steps for establishing a responsible and completely traceable mica supply chain. Further information can be found under Mica supply chain.
Partnering with pioneers: We seek to engage with pioneers who look far into the future and develop cutting-edge technologies. To this end, we established the annual Displaying Futures symposium, which was held for the eighth time in 2017. Under the banner of “Digital Transformations“, we convened in Tokyo (Japan) to examine digital transformation from different angles and explore new societal trends. At this conference we asked ourselves how we could use our Performance Materials products to advance various ideas and serve as a source of inspiration. We also discussed how to guide research and development efforts onto the right track from the very beginning. Further information can be found under Sustainable product design.
Roundtables and informational forums
We have set up 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. In 2017, this forum mainly focused on the changes resulting from our ONE Global Headquarters initiative, particularly the new sewer system being laid by the City of Darmstadt and the future design of Frankfurter Strasse.
Advocacy groups and industry coalitions
We actively participate in the political process and advocate our views by engaging policy makers in a direct dialogue as well as through our work with industry coalitions. Below are several examples of major national and international industry associations in which we are members and hold positions:
- German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI)
- European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
- German Association of Research-based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers e.V. (vfa)
- European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)
- International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA)
Examples of positions held by members of our Executive Board include:
Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO:
- European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), President
- German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI), Board of Directors
- Deutsche Welle, Business Advisory Board
Udit Batra, Executive Board member and CEO Life Science:
- Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Board member
- Massachusetts High Technology Council (MHTC), Vice Chair
- University of Delaware College of Engineering, member of the Advisory Council
Kai Beckmann, Executive Board member and CEO Performance Materials:
- Federal Employers' Association for the German Chemical Industry e.V. (BAVC), President
- Darmstadt Rhein Main Neckar Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), Vice President
- Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD), Chairman of the Advisory Board
- Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA), Vice President
Walter Galinat, Executive Board member:
- German Chemical Industry Association e.V./Hesse Chapter (VCI Hessen), Chairman of the Hesse Chapter
- Trade Policy Committee of the German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI), member
- Board of Trustees of the Chemical Industry Fund (FCI) within the German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI), member
Belén Garijo, Executive Board member and CEO Healthcare:
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Board member
Marcus Kuhnert, Executive Board member and Chief Financial Officer:
- German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, member
- Deutsches Aktieninstitut e. V. (DAI), Board member
Involvement in initiatives
We collaborate with numerous civically engaged organizations such as the Goethe-Institute, the Joint Conference Church and Development (pharma dialogue) and the World Environment Center (WEC). Furthermore, we are also involved in initiatives and projects that share our interpretation of responsible entrepreneurial conduct. That is why we support, for instance, the Code of Responsible Conduct for Business and are members of the Chemie3 and Responsible Care® initiatives.
In general, we do not make donations in the form of financial contributions or services to political parties or related organizations. Donations to holders of political office or candidates for such, as well as to political initiatives, must always comply with the statutes in force in the recipient's country. This approach is stipulated in our internal guidelines. 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. Such donations are not made by or on behalf of the company; they are reported to the U.S. Federal Election Commission and publicly disclosed.