Stakeholder dialogue

Our business operations intersect the interests of many people, which makes continuous engagement with our stakeholders absolutely essential. We particularly engage with those people and groups who are impacted by our decisions and activities - or who help determine them. Our stakeholders include employees, customers, business partners, the Merck family, investors, regulatory agencies, associations, neighbors in the vicinity of our sites, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Our stakeholder engagement takes many forms, such as stakeholder surveys, issue-specific dialogues, informational forums, round table discussions, industry coalitions, and advocacy work. This exchange enables us to demonstrate how we live our Values, as well as to illustrate the corporate responsibility (CR) strategy we pursue. It also provides us an opportunity to express our appreciation for our stakeholders. We strive to sustain and build trust and – wherever possible – harmonize divergent interests. Our top priority is to ensure the company's acceptance within society.

Our stakeholders

Merck’s stakeholders (graphic)

Stakeholder surveys

We regularly survey our employees, customers, business partners, and other relevant stakeholder groups about the CR issues they consider to be important to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany now and in the future, asking them to assess our performance on these priority issues. We also wish to know the questions our stakeholders have regarding corporate responsibility at the company so that we can address them in our CR Report. Most recently, we conducted such a survey on our stakeholders in 2014 in conjunction with the materiality analysis for our 2014 CR Report, involving around 120 stakeholders from across 30 countries.

Issue-specific dialogues

In the course of our business activities, we deal with a wide range of issues and interface with various communities. In the process, our departments usually interact directly with stakeholders. Depending on the subject and whether the issue is of local, national or international relevance, this may take the form of workshops and seminars, or even roundtables held at major conventions. Beyond this, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is also involved in industry networks and participates in professional conferences.

For instance, in September 2014, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany partnered with the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the German Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE) and the German Employers’ Federation of the Chemical Industry (BAVC) to host a conference in Darmstadt (Germany) entitled “Deutschland braucht Chemie. Nachhaltigkeit – Voraussetzung für Wachstum und Wohlstand?” (Germany needs chemistry. Sustainability - a prerequisite for growth and prosperity?). Attended by more than 700 people, this sustainability conference was held as part of the "DA stimmt die Chemie" event series, a collaboration between the company and the Technical University of Darmstadt that is taking place from September 2014 to June 2015. In July 2014, we organized an expert workshop with representatives from the worlds of politics, business and society to prepare for the conference, which focused on the chemical sector's contribution to sustainable development. In addition to this, participants also discussed the definition of a company’s responsibility for its products, as well as the balance between ecology, economy and social responsibility.

Furthermore in the 2013-2014 period, we also hosted Access Dialogues  to engage industry representatives, international organizations, and other stakeholders on the topic of access to health. These dialogues focused on access to health innovations, the protection of intellectual property, and challenges posed by the supply chain in developing countries. Within our Capacity Advancement Program, more than 200 dialogue events have been held since 2012, which seeks to raise the profile of diabetes in Africa and Asia through education and support for the health systems there.

In October 2014, more than 100 health experts from Africa attended the company's Africa Luminary in Darmstadt. This conference focused on advancing medical capacities in the fields of diabetes, oncology and infertility, as well as optimizing supply chain integrity, pharmacovigilance, and the fight against counterfeit medicines. During 2013 and 2014, we also participated in various conferences on schistosomiasis and malaria, part of our commitment to fight neglected tropical diseases. Among these were the Harvard Symposium on Malaria and Tuberculosis in November 2014 as well as the eleventh Malaria Meeting in November 2013 in Aachen (Germany), which gave rise to a new partnership with Saint George’s University in the United Kingdom.

The life science business discusses sustainable business strategies within the Sustainability Stakeholder Advisory Group (SSAG ). In 2014, the life science business conducted a global customer service and usage survey; it held a stakeholder meeting with suppliers, distributors, customers, non-governmental organizations, and scientists in order to get their feedback on our sustainability strategy, as well as on the sustainability criteria that govern our products. We took this feedback and used it to define new criteria for our Design for Sustainability Program, integrating these criteria with our product development process. The new criteria included product recyclability and the availability of a recycling program.

Discussion and information forums

At our major sites, we have set up discussion and information forums for local residents. Through the public planning forum held annually at our headquarters in Darmstadt since 1994, we aim to provide residents with the opportunity to obtain information and discuss our development at the site. During the 2013-2014 period, we provided information particularly on our "Fit for 2018" transformation and growth program, as well as new developments resulting from our ONE Global Headquarters initiative in Darmstadt. We also discussed landfill remediation, groundwater issues, the daycare center, and visitor parking area remodeling, along with energy, communication and crisis management.

In expanding our biotech production facilities in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, we initiated a dialogue with NGOs and local authorities to ensure the greatest possible transparency during the entire project life cycle, from planning to completion. For the project, the company committed to applying high environmental and safety standards that exceed statutory requirements. Even after completing construction, we will continue to hold this annual meeting, which enables us to engage stakeholders in regular discussions as well as to verify that the stipulated measures are being properly implemented. In 2014, the meeting focused on the status of landscaping activities and updates to the mobility plan, as well as our water balance and water release performance.

Industry interest groups and advocacy work

We actively participate in the political process and advocate our views by engaging policy makers in a direct dialogue as well as by engaging in advocacy work.

Below are several examples of major national and international industry associations in which we are members and hold positions:

  • The German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI)
  • The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC  )
  • The German Association of Research-based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers e.V. (vfa )
  • The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA  )
  • The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA  )

Examples of positions held by members of our Executive Board  include:

Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board:

  • Federation of German Industry (BDI ), Vice President 
  • German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI), Vice President

Stefan Oschmann, Vice Chairman of the Executive Board:

  • International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), President 
  • European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), Vice President
  • Paul Ehrlich-Stiftung, Member of the Board of Trustees

Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board, CEO Healthcare:

  • PhRMA  (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), Member of the Board

Kai Beckmann, Member of the Executive Board:

  • Federal Employers' Association for the German Chemical Industry e.V. (BAVC), Member of the Board
  • Employers' Association for the Chemical and Related Industries in the State of Hesse e.V. (HessenChemie ), Member of the Board
  • Darmstadt Rhein Main Neckar Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK ), Member of the Board
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD ), Member of the Advisory Board

Bernd Reckmann, Member of the Executive Board, CEO Chemicals:

  • German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), Chairman of the Hessian Chapter 
  • Technology and Environment Committee of the German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI), Chairman
  • German Association of Biotechnology Industries (DIB), Member of the Board 
  • Board of Trustees of the Chemical Industry Fund (FCI) within the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), Member of the Board

Within the Chemie3 and Responsible Care® initiatives, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is also working in particular to develop and implement sustainability standards in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. On top of this, the company is active in numerous socially engaged organizations, such as the Goethe Institute, the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation, and the World Environment Center (WEC). We also participate in initiatives and projects whose other participants share our standards of entrepreneurial conduct. For instance, we support the “Code of Responsible Conduct for Business ”.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany does not make financial contributions to holders of or candidates for political office, political parties or related organizations. This is stipulated in our Code of Conduct. In the United States, EMD Political Action Committees (PACs) have been set up as a conduit for our employees to make donations in support of political candidates and organizations. These are not donations from the company, but rather from individual employees. The contributions donated are reported to the U.S. Federal Election Commission  and are fully disclosed.


Publication of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

In the United States and Canada the subsidiaries of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate under the umbrella brand EMD.

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