Strategy & management

Stakeholder dialogue

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.

Our principles

Dialogue at various levels

Our most important 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 questionnaires, issue-specific dialogues, round table discussions, and information forums. We also engage stakeholders through our advocacy work and industry coalitions.

Our stakeholders

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 Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany now and in the future, and how they rate our performance in addressing these issues. We also want to understand their expectations of us as a responsible company. Our CR Report reflects the results of these surveys and the actions we’ve taken in response.

In November 2016, we conducted a Group-wide employee survey in 23 languages. Around 42,500 employees took part, representing an 83% response rate.

Issue-specific dialogues

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 round tables held at major conferences. Our departments organize such forms of exchange – at the local, national or international level, depending on the topic and degree of importance. Beyond this, we are also involved in industry networks and participate in symposia. In the 2015-2016 period, we intensified our efforts in the following areas:

Access to health: As part of our aim to improve access to health in low- and middle-income countries, we engage various stakeholders in a continuous dialogue. With our Access Dialogue Series, we have created a platform from which public and private sector stakeholders can exchange important information and share best practices. Key issues in the 2015-2016 period were managing intellectual property and challenges in local supply chains. Furthermore, we deepened our exchange with important stakeholders and experts on and malaria. Further information on these dialogues can be found under Access to Health.

Mica sourcing: In February 2016, we attended the Mica Summit in Delhi, India, hosted by the Natural Resources Stewardship Circle (NRSC). The main topics discussed at the summit were transparency in the mica supply chain and improving the living conditions of the communities in the mining regions. As a follow-up to this dialogue, we are now involved in the NRSC’s Responsible Mica program. You can find more information under Suppliers.

New technologies: We seek to engage with pioneers who look far into the future and bring cutting-edge technologies to market. To this end, we established the annual Displaying Futures symposium, which was held for the sixth time in 2015 and the seventh time in 2016. At the 2015 symposium, experts of various disciplines from all corners of the world met in San Francisco, CA (USA) to discuss how innovative high-tech materials could be integrated into groundbreaking future technologies. In 2016, specialists from a range of industries convened at our global headquarters in Darmstadt to discuss the future of mobility. You can find more information under Sustainable product design.

Round tables and information forums

We have set up round table discussions and informational forums for local residents at our major sites. In Darmstadt, we have been holding an annual public planning forum since 1994 at which we discuss the development of our site with members of the city council, local authorities and the community. In the 2015-2016 period, the main focus of the forum was 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.

In expanding our biotech production facilities in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, we initiated a dialogue with NGOs and local authorities to maximize the project’s transparency. These annual meetings will continue to be held even after completion of the construction work. In 2016, key topics of discussion were the mobility plan and our wastewater treatment system, which was first tested in the same year.

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 also 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), Vice President
  • German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI), Board of Directors
  • Deutsche Welle, Business Advisory Board 

Udit Batra, member of the Executive Board and CEO Life Science:

Kai Beckmann, member of the Executive Board and Chief Administration Officer:

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

Walter Galinat, member of the Executive Board and CEO Performance Materials:

  • German Chemical Industry Association e.V. (VCI), Chairman of the Hessian 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), board member

Belén Garijo, member of the Executive Board and CEO Healthcare:

  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), board member

Involvement in initiatives

We collaborate with numerous civically engaged organizations, such as the Goethe-Institute, the Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation 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.

Political donations

We do 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, Political Action Committees (PACs) have been set up through which our employees can donate money to support political candidates and organizations. These donations are not made by the company, but by the employees. The contributions donated are reported to the U.S. Federal Election Commission and published.

People or organizations that have a legitimate interest in a company, entitling them to make justified demands. Stakeholders include people such as employees, business partners, neighbors in the vicinity of our sites, and shareholders.
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People or organizations that have a legitimate interest in a company, entitling them to make justified demands. Stakeholders include people such as employees, business partners, neighbors in the vicinity of our sites, and shareholders.