Merck publishes 2021/2022 Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Progress Report
Letter from our chief executive officer and president, Rob Davis
August 30, 2022
At Merck, we’re proud to use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. This is our purpose, and it anchors every decision we make. Although our global community has faced no shortage of challenges in recent years, our ability to navigate and respond to these difficulties with speed, agility and ingenuity has demonstrated the power of our purpose and has made our company stronger and more resilient. We’re excited and energized about the road ahead as we continue to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for people and communities everywhere.
An ongoing strength of our company has been our enduring commitments to operating responsibly and creating value for society. For more than 130 years, our global team has pursued environmental, social and governance (ESG) excellence. Today, our ESG approach helps propel and enable our business strategy in ways that make us a better company—and a better corporate citizen.
Our four ESG focus areas are 1) expanding access to health; 2) developing and rewarding a diverse, inclusive and healthy workforce; 3) protecting the environment; and 4) operating with the highest standards of ethics and values. We have specific goals in each area, and I am pleased to share our continued progress in this report, along with these critical highlights:
Expanding access to health
Merck has a long track record of making our medicines and vaccines accessible and affordable globally, and we began executing on a comprehensive supply and access strategy early on in the pandemic to accelerate equitable global access to our investigational oral antiviral COVID-19 medicine. Our approach has included investing at risk to produce millions of courses of therapy; tiered pricing based on the ability of governments to finance health care; entering into supply agreements with governments of approximately 40 markets worldwide; allocating 3 million courses of therapy for distribution through UNICEF to low- and middle-income countries; and granting voluntary licenses to multiple generic manufacturers and to the Medicines Patent Pool to make generic treatment available in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries following approvals or emergency authorization by local regulatory agencies.
Developing and rewarding a diverse, inclusive and healthy workforce
We’ve remained intensely focused on building a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Our team’s diversity fuels innovation, and we’ve made ambitious commitments to increase representation at all leadership levels with strategies to elevate historically underrepresented ethnic groups (UEGs). From 2020 to 2021, we grew our total UEG representation, including a 5 percent increase in senior management. We’ve also initiated several collaborations with external partners and joined key initiatives to ensure we continue to accelerate and expand our efforts in this area.
Protecting the environment and operating sustainably
In environmental sustainability, we made progress toward our climate action goals last year and are also developing the tools and processes needed to lower our company’s carbon footprint. We’re on track to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, and we’re working towards transitioning to renewables to meet our 2025 renewable energy target as well.
Operating with the highest standards of ethics and values
At Merck, we operate responsibly every day, with an unrelenting commitment to conducting ourselves according to the highest standards. Our code of conduct is at the core of our character, helping us to maintain our reputation as a trustworthy company. To that end, we maintain 100 percent compliance to regulatory requirements for active incident monitoring, risk/harm analysis and on-time notification of data breaches. We also foster a culture where employees are encouraged to speak up and ensure our ethics and values are represented in everything we do.
As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, Merck remains committed to improving our communities globally, engaging locally, and building sustainability across all our business operations. We continue to support environmental protections, human rights, labor protections, and anti-corruption efforts worldwide. In December 2021, we announced the issuance of our inaugural $1 billion sustainability bond, which will support projects and partnerships in our priority ESG areas and contribute to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to thank my Merck colleagues around the world for their unwavering dedication, creativity and passion for creating and sustaining societal value. And on behalf of Team Merck, I want to express my deepest and sincerest appreciation and thanks for your interest, support and partnership. We recognize that ESG is not a destination, but instead a journey. While we’re pleased with our progress, we know we have more work to do. We look forward to embracing opportunities, with all our internal and external stakeholders, that enable us to gain momentum, deliver on our commitments and make even greater strides in the years to come.
Very best regards,
Chief Executive Officer and President
Want to learn more?
Explore our 2021/2022 ESG progress report