Science and technology are the keys to human progress. This is being demonstrated to us by the pandemic, which the world has been confronted with since last year. Globally, researchers are collaborating closely and vaccines have been developed in record time. This shows that technological progress and the positive force of science create sustainable added value for society.
At Merck, we are also contributing to the scientific community’s efforts to fight the virus. For example, we are supporting over 50 vaccine projects, 35 Covid-19 testing solutions and the development of more than 20 therapeutic options worldwide.
As a science and technology company, we take on responsibility for finding 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. That is why we embedded sustainability as a firm element of our company strategy last year. At the same time, we set ourselves ambitious goals: In 2030, we will achieve human progress for more than one billion people through sustainable science and technology. By 2030, we will integrate sustainability into all our value chains. And by 2040, we will achieve climate neutrality and reduce our resource consumption.
We are committed to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. In this context, we are focusing on those fields in which our business operations can make the most impactful contribution. These include "Good Health and Well-being" and "Responsible Consumption and Production." In addition, since 2005, we have been supporting the United Nations Global Compact and its principles in the areas of human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, and anti-corruption. We underscored this position by signing the "Statement from Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation" in 2020.
Our sustainability goals are ambitious. Yet we are already seeing promising results today. More than 1,100 of our Life Science products represent greener alternatives to conventional applications. For some of our solvents, we are already using non-food, renewable resources. For instance, we produce our solvent Cyrene™ from waste cellulose. We are also focusing on sustainable offerings in biotechnology. According to current projections, merely by optimizing the shipping properties of our ZooMAb® antibodies, we will be able to prevent the emission of around 75 metric tons of CO2 per year by 2025. Specially insulated, ice-cooled containers are no longer required to transport these antibodies, which are indispensable tools for a plethora of applications in medicine and research; they can instead be shipped and stored at ambient temperature.
To us, taking on responsibility also means learning from the experiences of the Covid-19 crisis. For example, this applies to the ways in which we work together. As part of our "Future Ways of Working" program, we developed principles in 2020 to improve future cooperation, for instance by applying new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, or by expanding our flexible working models. We plan to introduce these at all our sites around the world by the end of 2021 so as to enable many employees to freely choose when and where they work.
Beyond the boundaries of our company, we are dedicated to achieving fairer conditions, for instance in healthcare. Globally, people still do not have equal access to comprehensive healthcare, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Together with partner organizations around the world, we are coordinating numerous activities in order to improve the situation in the most disadvantaged countries. For example, since 2007 we have donated 1.3 billion tablets to the World Health Organization to fight the tropical disease schistosomiasis. Moreover, through our comprehensive strategy ranging from diagnostics to hygiene measures and awareness campaigns, we are working to ultimately eliminate this devastating disease.
Research and technological progress are the most effective means of overcoming the challenges facing humanity. In this report, you will find many examples of how we create long-term sustainable value through our business activities. In doing so, we seek to balance environmental, social and governance aspects – for us as a company, for our stakeholders and for society at large. We expect all our businesses to make a positive contribution. We see this task as our corporate responsibility. With conviction, each and every day.
Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO