It is also imperative to show responsibility at the local level: In accordance with our values, we call upon all of our legal entities to assume responsibility for their local communities. After all, they foster an open dialogue with their neighbors and therefore know where Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany can make the most valuable contributions. The individual companies can orient their activities toward our Group-wide framework, which defines the following areas of focus for local engagement: health, education, environment, culture, and sports in the vicinity of our sites. In 2011 and 2012, the legal entities participated in more than 120 projects. These are often long-term projects that are sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany for multiple years. Numerous initiatives are either supported or even started up by employees. In 2011, 3,675 employees strengthened corporate engagement at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany by making donations or doing volunteer work for charitable purposes, and in 2012 6,987 employees did so.
Examples include constructing and running a hospital on the island of Baba Bhit in Pakistan, as well as sponsoring projects to help integrate disadvantaged youth in Brazil. The legal entities in India and China award scholarships that enable young people to receive a good education, which they could otherwise not afford without support. Employees at our legal entity in Guatemala are building houses for underprivileged people in collaboration with a charitable organization. In addition to this, we provide disaster relief; in 2011, this went to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan as well as the victims of the flooding in Thailand.