Merck has published its Sustainability Report for 2020.
The interactive online report comprehensively and transparently illustrates how the company is living up to its corporate responsibility and the progress the company has made towards achieving its goals.
“The pandemic is showing us in no uncertain terms that technological progress and the positive force of science create sustainable added value for society. At Merck, we are also contributing to the efforts to fight the virus,” says Stefan Oschmann, chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck. “As a science and technology company, we take on responsibility to find answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. It is clear to us that sustainable entrepreneurship and profitable growth are not mutually exclusive, but rather mutually dependent.”
Merck presented its new sustainability strategy in late 2020. The company has consequently embedded the topic as an essential element of its corporate strategy. With the new strategy, it is pursuing specific goals in the areas of science and technology, value chain as well as climate and the environment. In doing so, Merck also intends to make a clearly recognizable contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
In addition, the company has formulated interim targets to support the achievement of its environmental goals. By 2040, Merck aims to achieve climate neutrality. The company is thus planning to reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions and emissions from energy purchases (Scope 1 and 2) by 50% by 2030 compared with 2020. By then, company also intends to reduce indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the upstream and downstream value chain (Scope 3) by a total of 1 500 metric kilotons of CO2 equivalents. Moreover, Merck intends to improve its water efficiency and reduce the “Merck Water Intensity Score” by 10% by 2025 compared with 2019.
Pioneer in the fight against schistosomiasis
The 2020 Sustainability Report shows how Merck is developing products and technologies aimed at improving people’s lives. To improve the health of underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries, Merck is collaborating closely with numerous partner organisations. The company is developing integrated solutions, such as medicines, diagnostic procedures, technologies, and methods of infectious disease control, both against the tropical parasitic disease schistosomiasis and against malaria. In 2020, Merck donated approximately 226 million tablets to treat schistosomiasis in 30 countries. Moreover, the “Merck Open Innovation” initiative enables the exchange of intellectual property. This means medicines can be discovered more quickly for diseases that require a high degree of medical intervention. In this context, Merck is initially focusing on neglected tropical diseases.
To enable sustainable innovations, Merck has developed the Design for Sustainability (DfS) programme, for example. This is a comprehensive method to improve the sustainability of Life Science products by analysing various sustainability criteria.
Securing social, ethical and ecological standards
In 2020, Merck worked with approximately 60 000 suppliers in nearly 160 countries. As part of the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative launched by the chemical industry, the company is calling on its suppliers to be evaluated using self-reported information or audits. Evaluation criteria include environmental aspects, labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement.
The online tool DOZN makes it possible for the company to evaluate sustainable alternatives to various chemicals. The tool is also available to customers and creates new possibilities for sustainable product design. Users can evaluate their own products and processes and make more environmentally sustainable decisions regarding their development processes.
Environmental targets exceeded
Merck exceeded its environmental targets for 2020. Excluding the legacy Versum business, the company lowered its greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 25% relative to the 2006 baseline. A reduction of 20% was planned. Merck cut its water consumption at sites in water-stressed areas by 27% relative to the 2014 baseline; a reduction of 10% was planned. With respect to waste disposal, the company believes that it is well on track to lowering its key waste management indicator, the “Merck Waste Score”, by 5% by 2025. At the end of 2020, Merck had already achieved a reduction of 4.6%.
Merck clusters its community outreach activities under the heading “Our Good Deeds”. In 2020, 274 projects were carried out in 96 countries around the world. As part of this, Merck supports people in need in the vicinity of its sites and provides disaster relief. Last year, community outreach activities by Merck encompassed projects worth approximately € 54 million in total. In the fight against Covid-19, the company donated 2 million protective face masks to healthcare providers. In more than 30 countries, Merck teams initiated numerous donation campaigns, which collected several million euros in cash and goods.
View Merck’s Sustainability Report online here.