Merck Sustainability Report 2021

Global Compact CoP

TAG overview

2021 UN Global Compact Communication on Progress

We have been a participant in the United Nations Global Compact since 2005. As a signatory to the initiative, we have committed ourselves to its ten principles, which cover key UN conventions on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. At the same time, the UN Global Compact calls on all participating companies to work to implement these principles within their own sphere of influence.

The following table summarizes the key actions we took in 2021 to advance the principles of the Global Compact.

UNGC Logo (Graphic)


UNGC principles


Key actions in 2021


Relevant GRI disclosures



Human rights

Principle 1:
Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.


  • Incorporated human rights and modern slavery into our “EHS StartUp!” training for new EHS managers
  • Offered e-learning courses on our Human Rights Charter and Social and Labor Standards Policy, targeted to all managing directors and senior leaders reporting directly to the Executive Board
  • Conducted webinars within the scope of the Security Academy meetings on human rights and modern slavery
  • Formalized review process to ensure fulfillment of safety-relevant human rights aspects at our sites through security audits
  • Participated in “TfS Talks” by sharing our conflict minerals approach
  • Adopted and published the Code of Digital Ethics
  • Offered a free-of-charge and anonymous whistleblowing channel, our compliance hotline, to report potential human rights violations


103-2, 412-1, 412-2


Principle 2:
Businesses should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


  • Supported the development of a training platform concept on sustainability management within the scope of our TfS membership
  • Conducted internal and external audits of suppliers on sustainability topics and collected self-reported information
  • Chaired the Responsible Mica Initiative


412-3, 414-1, 414-2


Labor standards

Principle 3:
Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.


  • Conducted internal audits on workplace matters covered in our Human Rights Charter, which are specified in more detail in our Social and Labor Standards Policy
  • Regularly included local employee representatives in company decision-making
  • Formalized review process to ensure fulfillment of safety-relevant human rights aspects at the sites through security audits


102-41, 402-1, 407-1


Principle 4:
Businesses should support the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor.


  • Conducted internal audits on workplace matters covered in our Human Rights Charter, which are specified in more detail in our Social and Labor Standards Policy
  • Published on our website the UK Modern Slavery Statement and our Australia Modern Slavery Statement, both endorsed by our Executive Board
  • Incorporated human rights and modern slavery into our “EHS StartUp!” training for new EHS managers
  • Conducted webinars within the scope of our Security Academy meetings on human rights and modern slavery




Principle 5:
Businesses should support the effective abolition of child labor.





Principle 6:
Businesses should support the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


  • Refocused our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy on the following priority areas: gender parity, culture and ethnicity as well as inclusion
  • Defined new DE&I targets for 2030: Achieve gender parity in leadership positions (2021: 36%); increase the proportion of colleagues in U.S. leadership teams who are members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (2021: 21%); increase the global share of nationals from Asia, Latin America, and MEA in leadership positions to 30% (2021: 16%)
  • Conducted a pay equity analysis
  • Joined the UN Target Gender Equality Programme
  • >Integrated the inclusion concept into our Human Resources programs and processes
  • Launched a tool to support the use of gender-neutral language in job advertisements
  • Ran a pilot project in the United States: Increased bonuses for successful referrals of qualified diverse candidates.
  • Offered trainings on unconscious bias Group-wide
  • Fostered diverse talent through mentoring, sponsoring and talent programs
  • Supported numerous local and global employee networks on diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Collaborated with Disability:IN


102-8, 202-1, 202-2, 401-1, 401-3, 404-1, 404-3, 405-1, 405-2, 406-1


Environmental stewardship

Principle 7:
Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.


  • Passed third-party ISO 14001:2015 audits at 13 sites
  • Performed 51 internal EHS audits, with all audited sites being rated as “good” or “satisfactory”.
  • Achieved a 9% reduction of our CO2 emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) in comparison with the baseline year 2020 amid operating business growth, thereby contributing to our target to lower CO2 emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) by 50% by 2030 compared with 2020.
  • Sourced 30% of our purchased electricity from renewable energies (2020: 27%), thereby contributing to our target to cover 80% of our purchased electricity with renewables by 2030.
  • Signed a renewable energy virtual power purchase agreement in the United States
  • Applied to join the Science Based Targets Initiative
  • Set new water management target: By 2025, lower the Water Intensity Score by 10% compared with the baseline year 2020.
  • Expanded the central wastewater treatment plant at the Darmstadt site (expansion to include a fourth purification stage).
  • Worked towards shrinking the environmental footprint of our waste by 5% by 2025, as measured by our waste scoring system, as compared with the baseline year 2016. In 2021, we achieved a 5.6% reduction (2020: 4.6%)
  • Took measures to ensure product safety (for instance REACH, GHS), plant and process safety, and transport and warehouse safety (such as internal EHS audits)


201-2, 301-1, 302-1, 303-1, 305-1, 305-2, 305-3, 305-6, 305-7


Principle 8:
Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.


  • Introduced bulk packaging designs for a subset of our Durapore® and Millipore Express® filter cartridges
  • Commercialized greener alternative products such as Cyrene™, our Stericup E filtration system and our microplastic-free functional filler RonaFlair
  • Utilized reusable and recyclable packaging, which we also offer to our customers
  • Offered sustainable mobility options to employees (such as “Jobticket” public transit passes and shared bicycles)
  • Installed at our global headquarters an extensive electric vehicle charging infrastructure, part of which is available to our employees for their own personal use


301 - 308


Principle 9:
Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


  • Leveraged DOZN™, our web-based tool for evaluating greener alternatives to various chemicals. We also provided this tool to our customers and partner universities.
  • Updated our “DfS: Development” approach to integrate sustainability aspects into the product development process
  • Integrated ESG criteria into R&D portfolio management
  • Developed sustainable products such as liquid crystal technologies, raw materials for natural cosmetics and “greener” alternatives to chemicals.
  • Reduced packaging materials and deployed more sustainable packaging as part of our SMASH Packaging sustainable packaging strategy
  • Continued to expand the recycling programs for our Life Science and Electronics customers


302-4, 302-5, 305-5



Principle 10:
Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.


  • Revised our risk matrix with a focus on bribery and corruption risks
  • Performed 84 internal audits on corruption-related risks
  • Provided employee training courses on topics such as anti-corruption, anti-trust, data privacy and healthcare compliance.
  • Expanded our training courses to comply with the Code of Conduct in healthcare-specific dilemma situations in all countries in which our Healthcare business sector operates and developed comparable training course for our Life Science and Electronics business sectors
  • Developed our anti-money-laundering program further by conducting a risk analysis
  • Offered a free-of-charge and anonymous whistleblowing channel (compliance hotline)
  • Formed partnerships and engaged stakeholders to coordinate and enhance anti-corruption efforts
  • Published annual EFPIA transparency reports


102-16, 102-17, 205-1, 205-2, 205-3, 415-1


Short for “Environment, Health and Safety”, this refers to environmental management, health protection and occupational safety throughout a company.
Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)
ESG represents an evaluation of a company’s collective conscientiousness for environmental, social and governance factors. An ESG score is compiled from data collected surrounding specific metrics related to intangible assets within the enterprise.
Short for “Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals”. This refers to an international standard system to classify chemicals. It covers labeling as well as safety data sheets.
ISO 14001
This international environmental management standard sets globally recognized requirements for an environmental management system.
Liquid crystals (LC)
A hybrid of a crystalline and liquid state. In general, molecules are perfectly arranged only when in a solid crystal state, in contrast to the liquid state, when they move around chaotically. However, liquid crystals are a hybrid of the two states: Although they are liquid, they exhibit a certain crystalline arrangement. Their rod-shaped molecules align themselves like a shoal of fish. In addition, they respond to the electromagnetic waves of light like tiny antennae. Therefore, such swarms of molecules can either allow specially prepared “polarized” light to pass through, or they can block it. This takes place in the pixels of liquid crystal displays. A similar phenomenon occurs in liquid crystal windows, which can provide shade against sunlight.
Managing director
This individual is ultimately responsible for ensuring that our subsidiaries, including R&D and manufacturing centers, comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including applicable internal guidelines.
Scope 1
This includes emissions that occur in our company, for instance by generating energy from fossil fuels or by releasing process-related emissions.
Scope 2
This includes emissions from purchased energy such as electricity, heat, steam, or cold.
This relates to all necessary measures and governance activities to detect, analyze, handle, and mitigate security- and crime-based threats to the company. It is integral to protecting both our employees and the tangible and intangible assets of the company.
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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