We take responsibility every day – and have been doing so for nearly 350 years. This commitment is codified in our corporate strategy and values. Responsible conduct with respect to employees, products, the environment, and society is a fundamental prerequisite for our business success.
Strategy and management
Our corporate responsibility (CR) activities are steered by our CR Committee, which consists of representatives from our business sectors and relevant Group functions. Belén Garijo, Executive Board Member and CEO Healthcare, became chairperson of the committee in June 2016.
Mankind is confronted with global societal challenges such as climate impact, resource scarcity and insufficient access to health in low- to middle-income countries. We believe that we can help resolve these global challenges through our innovative healthcare, life science and performance materials products, as well as through responsible governance. Responsible conduct means looking, listening and doing better. We respect the interests of our employees, customers, investors, and society, and work to minimize ethical, economic and social risks, thereby securing our success. This is an integral part of our corporate strategy, which in turn underpins our CR strategy, the basis for the responsible governance we live each and every day. In realizing our corporate responsibility, we focus our resources on those areas where we can have the greatest impact. We pursue three strategic spheres of activity: health, the environment as well as culture and education. The focus here is always on securing the future of society and our competitiveness.
Health: In low- to middle-income countries, many people lack access to high-quality health solutions. We are applying our expertise here and joining forces with strong partners to develop solutions for patients locally. Our fight against the worm disease schistosomiasis in Africa is a good example.
Environment: We are constantly working to improve the sustainability footprint of our products and are furthermore helping our customers achieve their own sustainability goals. One example is the development of new liquid crystal technologies through which our liquid crystals reduce the power consumption of smartphone and tablet displays.
Culture and education: Cultural offerings inspire people and expand their horizons. Research and development throughout the world thus benefit from creativity, ingenuity, and enthusiasm. Cultural inspiration also opens people up to new ideas. It favorably influences society’s acceptance of science, technological progress and innovations. This is why we promote cultural initiatives and educational programs around the world.
We support relevant responsible governance initiatives. We are a member of the United Nations Global Compact and are committed to complying with the compact’s principles regarding human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, and anti-corruption. Moreover, we also live our corporate responsibility through our commitment to follow the guidelines of the Responsible Care Global Charter, an initiative of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). Responsible Care aims to drive continuous improvement and achieve excellence in environmental, health and safety, and security performance in the chemical industry. We were among the first companies to sign the revised version of the Responsible Care Global Charter in 2014. Furthermore, we are also a member of the Chemie3 initiative in Germany, a collaboration between the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the German Employers’ Federation of the Chemical Industry (BAVC), and the German Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE). As part of this globally unique alliance, the partners want to make sustainability a core part of the chemical industry’s guiding principles and to jointly drive the sector’s position within the German economy as a key contributor to sustainable development.
To us, corporate responsibility means taking action and listening. The dialogue with our various stakeholder groups is therefore highly important to us. These stakeholders include employees, business associates, the Merck family, investors, regulatory agencies, and associations. We also engage in this continuous exchange to create transparency and clearly demonstrate how we live the Merck values.
Thanks to good performance with respect to responsible and sustainable entrepreneurial conduct, we were again included in the FTSE4Good index in 2016. To be included in this leading international sustainability index, a company must demonstrate socially conscientious, ecological and ethical conduct. In 2016, we also maintained our good standing in other major sustainability indices. For instance, we were again included in the STOXX Global ESG Leaders index, as well as the Euronext Vigeo Eurozone 120 index and the Ethibel Sustainability Index (ESI) Excellence Europe. In autumn 2016, among the German blue-chip companies included in the DAX, we achieved tenth place in the Good Company Ranking published by Kirchhoff Consult.
Strategic sphere of activity: Health
Access to Health (A2H) is one of our strategic priorities. Through our A2H approach, which spans all our businesses, we aim to help improve sustainable access to high-quality health solutions for underserved populations and communities in low- and middle-income countries. Since we realize that access is a complex and multifaceted challenge with no one-size-fits-all solution, our programs and initiatives are tailored to global, regional and local needs. We consider partnerships, collaboration and dialogue to be key instruments in delivering sustainable results.
During his presidency of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) from 2014 to the end of 2016, Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, focused on the core topic of accelerating access to high-quality health solutions for people in low- to middle-income countries.
In November 2016, the Access to Medicine Foundation of the Netherlands recognized our efforts to improve access to health. In the 2016 Access to Medicine Index, Merck ranked fourth, moving up two places relative to 2014 and 13 places relative to 2010. Every two years, this index assesses the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with respect to their activities and initiatives to promote access to medicine in developing countries. The Access to Medicine Foundation praised us for our access goals, which have now been aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Through this ranking, the foundation also recognized our Access to Health (A2H) strategy, which is embedded in our core business and focuses on four areas known as the “4As”: Availability, Affordability, Awareness, and Accessibility. The Access to Medicine Foundation also praised our numerous access initiatives.
Availability entails the research, development and refinement of health solutions that address unmet needs and are tailored to local environments. Together with our partners, we are working to fight widespread diseases in developing countries. One example is the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium. Through this public-private partnership, we are working on a pediatric formulation of praziquantel to treat the worm disease schistosomiasis in children under the age of six. In 2016, the consortium launched a Phase II study in Ivory Coast. The objective of the study is to find the optimum dose of the new formulation. In October 2016, the consortium was furthermore awarded a prestigious research grant from the Japanese Global Health Innovation Technology Fund for the third time. Another example is our partnership with the Medicines for Malaria Venture, which seeks to develop new antimalarials. In 2016, we also launched a research collaboration with the University of Cape Town in South Africa to pursue the same objective. In addition to these efforts, our Healthcare and Life Science business sectors are currently developing a kit for malaria diagnosis based on the MUSE cell analysis system. This kit will detect and type the malaria pathogen as well as identify relevant immune cells in the event of a concurrent HIV infection. When used in insect repellents, our product IR3535®helps protect against infections transmitted by mosquito bites, such as malaria, yellow fever and the Zika virus. Products containing this active ingredient stand out due to their particularly good tolerability in young children and pregnant women.
We seek to address affordability challenges through our efforts to provide assistance to those people who are unable to pay for the health solutions they need. To tackle these challenges, we have taken a pro-access approach through our intellectual property initiatives and are engaging in equitable pricing strategies. We provide transparent information about our patents and patent applications on publicly available databases. Moreover, we are a member of WIPO Re:Search, an open innovation platform sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Through intellectual property and knowledge sharing, platform partners seek to accelerate early discovery for infectious diseases. In early 2016, our partnership with the University of Buea in Cameroon, which aims to repurpose compounds from our library to develop a treatment for onchocerciasis (also known as river blindness), received a research grant from the renowned Wellcome Trust of the United Kingdom. Furthermore, we are working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat the worm disease schistosomiasis in Africa. Through the Merck Praziquantel Donation program, we are donating Cesol®600 tablets containing the active ingredient praziquantel to WHO. Since the start of this program, more than 100 million patients – primarily school-aged children – have been treated. In total, we have donated more than 500 million praziquantel tablets to WHO since 2007. As a founding member of the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance, we are helping to eliminate schistosomiasis worldwide.
We help to raise awareness by empowering health workers, communities and patients with the appropriate tools, knowledge and skills to make informed decisions. For instance, we have been supporting the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) since 2012 in order to improve the safety and quality of biotech production. Through our Access Dialogues series, we are promoting discourse on access-to-health challenges with numerous public and private stakeholders. In 2016, the series focused on the supply chain. In India, we are working with various non-governmental organizations as well as the Indian Health and Family Ministry to support the Su-Swastha project, which is working to provide underserved rural populations with affordable health solutions and raise awareness on health issues. In 2016, the project had reached 26,129 people through 1,238 community meetings. The Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF), a non-profit organization funded by Merck, works to combat counterfeit medicines in developing and emerging countries. To date, the GPHF has supplied more than 795 Minilabs at cost to detect counterfeit medicines in more than 90 countries. Furthermore, through our Capacity Advancement Program (CAP), we are working to raise awareness and further the prevention of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer, as well as to address the issue of infertility.
We promote initiatives to strengthen supply chains and to develop localized health solutions in order to deliver and reach out efficiently at the point of care. We support training and knowledge sharing with our manufacturing partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America with the aim of strengthening local manufacturing quality standards. In India, we are cooperating with the non-profit organization known as Narmada Samagra. Our River Ambulance transports health workers and provides healthcare solutions to local populations living in the remote region along the Narmada River. In early 2016, we donated a new boat to River Narmada Samagra so that even more people can be reached in the future. Additionally, we are funding a health center that serves around 150 patients a month in Jharkhand, a state in northeastern India.
Strategic sphere of activity: Environment
Through our products, we are helping overcome global challenges such as climate impact and resource scarcity. At the same time, we are also helping our customers to reduce the negative impacts of their own activities and to achieve their own sustainability goals.
Performance Materials: Investments to boost sustainability
In 2016, our Performance Materials business sector made several large investments. In August 2016, we announced plans to invest € 15 million in the construction of a production plant for liquid crystal window modules in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. In doing so, we are pursuing the goal of leveraging our market and technology leadership in liquid crystals beyond their use in energy-saving displays. The manufacture of the switchable glass modules is to begin at the end of 2017. According to initial measurement results, our smart windows can cut the energy use of air-conditioned buildings by up to 40% and replace conventional shading solutions. We are thus helping builders to save resources and costs. These windows can be manually or automatically controlled to darken and provide sun protection – and to do so in a variety of colors. This technology is made possible thanks to the special properties of our liquid crystals, which in smart windows are combined with customized dyes. When a low electric voltage is applied, the liquid crystals allow electromagnetic waves (i.e. light) to be either absorbed and blocked (dark state), or to pass through (transparent state). Another variant can control the transparency of liquid crystal windows. If people want more privacy, they can switch to privacy mode, which turns the glass opaque. In contrast to competitive technologies, our long-lasting licrivision®materials switch in seconds and have high color neutrality. Architects and builders can customize the desired color to suit the setting.
Furthermore, we opened a new OLED materials production plant at our Darmstadt site in September 2016. With a total investment of around € 30 million, this is one of the largest single investments we have made at the Darmstadt site in recent years. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are semiconducting organic materials that luminesce when electric voltage is applied. They are particularly well suited for use in state-of-the-art displays and lighting. OLED displays provide brilliant colors and sharp images from any viewing angle and are highly energy-efficient. They are also thin and flexible, which enables entirely new shapes and opens up a broad spectrum of totally new applications.
For the semiconductor industry, we have developed a series of environmentally sustainable specialty chemicals and materials – including PFOS-free antireflective and photoresist coatings that contain no trace of dangerous chemicals.
In cooperation with our customers from the cosmetics industry, we are developing cosmetic formulations that meet strict sustainability criteria and align with the continuing trend towards more natural cosmetics. Many of our products meet the criteria defined by Ecocert, an independent organization representing high international standards for natural cosmetic raw materials.
Life Science: Reducing our customers’ environmental impacts
Within our Life Science business sector, the Design for Sustainability (DfS) program aims to reduce environmental impacts of devices and instruments, also through customers’ own use. Beginning with the concept stage, product teams identify potential environmental impacts in various product life cycle stages and opportunities to make improvements. A scorecard is used to assess product design in six focus categories: Materials, Energy & Emissions, Waste, Water, Packaging, as well as Usability & Innovation. As of December 31, 2016, we had achieved improvements in at least three of our self-defined sustainability criteria for 32% of our new Biomonitoring product developments and / or further developments.
In biopharmaceutical production, numerous products such as plastic bags and tubing are used only once and then disposed of. This is due, among other things, to the low risk of contamination posed by single-use products. Together with customers and recycling firms, our Life Science business sector is developing sustainable recycling programs. Our objective is to avoid incinerating the waste streams by offering recycling options so as to reduce the environmental impacts.
In addition, our Life Science researchers are developing innovative solutions in line with the “12 Principles of Green Chemistry” developed by chemists Paul T. Anastas and John C. Warner. The objective is to permit production that is as environmentally compatible as possible, and to minimize adverse effects on human health. Within the framework of Green Chemistry, researchers seek alternative, environmentally sustainable reaction media with higher reaction rates and lower reaction temperatures in order to make production more energy-efficient. With Dozn®, we have developed a Web-based analysis tool for Green Chemistry. To date, we have used the matrix to evaluate more than 40 products and improve them afterwards.
In 2016, we launched Cyrene™ onto the market. The solvent is based on renewable cellulose and is used, among other things, as an alternative to dimethylformamide. With Cyrene™ we help our customers in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries to lower the environmental impact of their production processes and make them safer. Joint research work with the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, United Kingdom, has proven the efficacy of Cyrene™.
Strategic sphere of activity: Culture and Education
Cultural promotion is a core element of our commitment to society, building on our centuries-old tradition of supporting art as well as culture and education. After all, culture nurtures characteristics that are essential to our business activities as a high-tech company: creativity, enthusiasm for new discoveries, curiosity, and the courage to transcend boundaries. Our cultural initiatives focus on music, literature and education.
The Deutsche Philharmonie Merck
The Deutsche Philharmonie Merck is our musical ambassador. We consider classical music to be the universal language that brings people together; as such, it is an important part of our culture. The concerts of this professional ensemble are highly popular, with around 23,000 people attending them per year. They represent an integral part of the cultural life in the vicinity of our Group headquarters in Darmstadt. Special events for children and adolescents are intended to make classical music more accessible to young people, as do partnerships with schools like the orchestra workshop we have held once a year since 2010. In 2016, the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck celebrated its 50th anniversary and, among other activities, performed a joint concert at the Frankfurt Jahrhunderthalle with Einshoch6, a Munich-based hip-hop band.
Literature can stimulate the imagination; it can alleviate fears and give courage. Literature can also address scientific issues, thus furthering a deeper understanding of science and research. Through our involvement, we want to help society better accept science and scientific progress. Furthermore, as an international company, we further writers who drive cultural exchange in our globalized world.
We grant and promote five literary prizes worldwide. Since 1964, we have been sponsoring the renowned Johann Heinrich Merck Award for Literary Critique and Essay, which is presented by the German Academy for Language and Poetry at its annual autumn conference. Worth € 20,000, this award went to writer and blogger Kathrin Passig in 2016. For 14 years, we have been sponsoring the Premio Letterario Merck in Italy. This award is worth € 10,000 and recognizes authors who build bridges between literature and science, thereby making them accessible to a wide audience. In 2016, the winners were Italian immunologist Alberto Mantovani and British writer, historian and naturalist Helen Macdonald. In India, Merck partners with the Goethe-Institut Calcutta to present the Merck Tagore Award. Worth 500,000 Indian rupees (around € 6,800), this literary prize is granted every two years to authors who have made a distinctive contribution to the cultural exchange between Germany and India. In 2016, psychoanalyst and writer Sudhir Kakar received the award. In Japan, we partner with the Goethe-Institut Tokyo to present the Merck Kakehashi Literature Prize. Worth a total of € 20,000, this award is granted every two years to contemporary works by German authors that are made accessible to a wider readership in Japan. In 2016, the prize went to writer Ilma Rakusa and her translator Fuminari Niimoto. In September 2016, Merck in Russia presented the first Merck Translation Award to Vladislava Agafonova (fiction), Kirill Levinson (non-fiction) and Alexandra Gorbova (children’s literature). Each winner received € 4,000 in prize money.
We view education as a key component of culture – and vice versa. Education can help us understand culture. But culture can also build a bridge to education; it can stimulate curiosity and nurture creativity. We therefore support educational projects at many of our sites by granting scholarships, for instance, or by sponsoring specific classes. To promote young scientists, Merck has hosted the renowned annual “Jugend forscht” science competition for the German federal state of Hesse every year since 1996. In partnership with the Technical University of Darmstadt, we inaugurated the Junior Biology Lab in autumn 2016.
The SPARK initiative was launched in early 2016. This volunteer program motivates employees from our Life Science business sector to share their knowledge with school students. In February and March 2016, 3,465 employees in 36 countries for the first time gave students exciting insights into the world of science, for example.
Responsibility for our products
The safety of our products is at the core of our corporate responsibility. When used properly, they must pose no risk to customers, patients, consumers, or the environment. Our goal is to ensure a positive benefit / risk profile for our products, which is why we regularly examine safety across their entire life cycle and continuously take steps to minimize risks. We provide patients, consumers and customers with extensive informational material so that they can use our products in a safe, responsible and proper manner.
Through our compliance policies for our Biopharma and Consumer Health businesses, we set standards for responsible marketing activities relating to our medicines. These aim to ensure that patients and healthcare professionals have access to the relevant information, and that patients receive effective treatment.
Safety of our chemical products
Numerous regulations are in place to ensure that chemicals pose no risk to humans or the environment. Compliance with these regulatory requirements is an important part of our work. Through our Group-wide Product Safety Chemicals policy, we have established global processes for defining, directing and implementing product safety, as well as the corresponding management structures. We incorporate all relevant national and international chemical regulations into our policies and guidelines and adhere to them. This includes the EU chemicals regulations REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) and CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures, EU GHS). Furthermore, we are committed to transparency. For instance, in line with the Global Product Strategy, an international initiative of the chemical industry, we provide our customers with product safety summaries for hazardous materials.
We are working to register all our chemical substances in accordance with REACH. We successfully completed registration phase I in 2010 and registration phase II in 2013. The next step, in phase III, is for us to evaluate and register all substances produced or imported in quantities ranging from one to 100 metric tons annually by the beginning of June 2018. This process now also includes substances from Sigma-Aldrich and is fully on schedule.
Safety of our healthcare products
Patient and consumer safety has top priority in everything we do. During the entire life cycle of our medicines and consumer health products, we provide patients, consumers and physicians with up-to-date risk-benefit evaluations. To this end, company experts process safety-relevant information from various sources such as clinical trials, adverse reaction reports and scientific literature. Ultimate responsibility for the safety of our biopharmaceuticals is borne by our Global Chief Medical Officer, with support from the Medical Safety and Ethics Board (MSEB). Our Global Drug Safety unit continuously monitors and evaluates the safety and risk-benefit ratio of our medicines worldwide (pharmacovigilance). For our Consumer Health products, this function is performed by the Global Product Safety unit. Overall responsibility for the safety of our over-the-counter products is borne by the Chief Medical Officer for the Consumer Health business, supported by the Safety & Labelling Committee (SLC).
For products in our Allergopharma business, we have developed comprehensive clinical efficacy and safety profiles that we continuously update. For the safety of our patients, we have established a global pharmacovigilance system that we are always working to enhance.
Quality of our products
Our goal is to provide customers and patients with high-quality brand-name products. Through our quality vision – “Quality is embedded in everything we do!” – we remind our employees of their responsibility across all business sectors, all Group functions and all levels of the company.
We source raw materials, packaging materials, technical products, components, and services from suppliers across more than 130 countries. Our basic expectations for suppliers and service providers include their compliance with fundamental environmental and social standards, which are primarily derived from the core labor standards of the ILO (International Labour Organisation), from the UN Global Compact, and from the Code of Conduct of the BME (German Federal Association for Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics). Our Group Procurement Policy and Responsible Sourcing Principles define our procurement practices and are integrated into our general terms and conditions. They therefore constitute the foundation of every sourcing transaction and procedure. Due to the growing significance of emerging markets as sourcing markets for Merck, we have reinforced our efforts to ensure adherence to our supply chain standards. At the end of 2014, we joined the Together for Sustainability (TfS) chemical industry initiative. Since then, we have been utilizing the supplier assessment and audit results shared among all member companies, who in turn abide by all restrictions stipulated within competition law. Through TfS, we currently have access to assessments for more than 670 of our most important suppliers. Since 2015, we have initiated around 400 TfS assessments. In addition, we have initiated 26 TfS audits since 2014.
Responsibility for our employees
Employees are crucial to the success of a company. They therefore play a central role in our business endeavors. In accordance with the Merck values, we live a culture of mutual esteem and respect. We seek to further our entrepreneurial success by recruiting, developing and motivating the most suitable employees, which is why we focus our employee strategy on talent development, compensation, and performance management. We furthermore strive to foster diversity among our employees (more information can be found under “People at Merck”).
Responsibility for the environment
In the manufacture of our products, we seek to impact the environment as little as possible. This especially includes efficiently conserving resources such as energy, water and raw materials while also continuously reducing our emissions and waste.
Environmental management system
In our Corporate EHS Policy, we have defined our principles and strategies for environment, health and safety. This policy is implemented through internal guidelines and instruction manuals on compliant behavior in day-to-day operations, such as the Merck Group EHS Security and Quality Manual. At all our sites, local EHS managers are in charge of operational environmental protection measures. These employees continually receive training and obtain additional qualifications. Since our businesses are constantly changing, our environmental management system must also remain flexible and adaptable. For this reason, internal and external audits are conducted on a regular basis to determine whether the ISO 14001 requirements are still being met. In 2016, we obtained an ISO 14001 group certificate for our environmental management system for the eighth consecutive year. This certificate covers 57 sites. Seven sites belonging to the recently acquired company Sigma-Aldrich are already certified to ISO 14001. Our spending on environmental protection, health and safety efforts totaled € 189 million in 2016, which also includes investments made during the year.
Focus areas: Energy efficiency, greenhouse
gas emissions, water
Climate impact and resource scarcity are key challenges facing society in the 21st century. As a responsible company, it is especially important for us to do our part. We have therefore set ourselves the goal of reducing total direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 (2006 baseline), irrespective of production growth. To achieve this goal, we have launched EDISON, a climate protection program that consolidates all our climate impact mitigation and energy efficiency activities. In 2017, we will continue investing in efforts to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through the approximately 270 EDISON projects initiated since 2012, we aim to annually save around 94 metric kilotons of CO2 in the medium term. In 2016, we lowered our greenhouse gas emissions by around 10% relative to the 2006 baseline, despite growth in our operating business. Our Life Science business sector is playing a major role in our efforts. In 2014, process optimizations resulted in a two-thirds reduction in our process-related emissions at our facility in Jaffrey, New Hampshire (USA). In 2015, we initiated a project to further cut emissions that is scheduled to end in 2017. Other projects are being planned. In 2016, we also successfully completed measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption at our site in Onahama, Japan. Because of its pigment production operations, this facility is one of the highest energy consumers of all Merck sites worldwide. For this reason, we switched the process steam generation for production to natural gas combustion, and the pigment kilns are now fired with natural gas. These changes are saving us roughly 3,200 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.30 KB EXCEL
Energy consumption 1
|Total energy consumption||2,058||2,108||2,158||2,256||2,253|
|Direct energy consumption||1,187||1,286||1,354||1,451||1,443|
|Liquid fossil fuels||104||114||115||104||30|
|Biomass and self-generated renewable energy||13||15||27||135||141|
|Indirect energy consumption||871||822||804||805||810|
|Steam, heat, cold||127||79||97||96||95|
CO2EQ EMISSIONS (EQ = EQUIVALENTS) 1
|Emissions in kt, Scope 1 and 2||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|Total CO2eq emissions||761||784||736||729||715|
|Direct CO2eq emissions||379||417||390||393||386|
|Indirect CO2eq emissions||382||367||346||336||329|
Energy management plays a key role in our efforts for sustainable energy efficiency and climate impact mitigation. Our production sites in Darmstadt and Gernsheim account for around 29% of our global energy consumption. In 2012, both of these facilities qualified for ISO 50001 – Energy Management System certificates, which were reaffirmed in 2016. Currently, 13 of our production sites have a certified energy management system. The results of the Carbon Disclosure Project likewise indicate that we are on the right path. In 2016, this independent non-profit organization ranked us among the top five companies in our industry in German-speaking countries. For the first time, we achieved the status of sector leader and, at fourth place, moved up two places relative to 2015. The Carbon Disclosure Project assesses companies in terms of their emissions reduction progress and climate impact reporting.
In addition to energy, we also focused on the topic of water in 2016. We systematically examined our sites to determine which ones have a high annual water consumption and are located in regions where water is scarce and thus an especially precious resource. At the beginning of 2016, we set the goal of implementing a sustainable water management system at sites with high consumption levels by 2020. At sites with relevant water use located in areas of high water stress, we are aiming to cut our water consumption by 10% by 2020 (2014 baseline).
Responsibility for society
We see ourselves as part of society – both at our individual sites and worldwide. Taking responsibility towards society is an integral part of our entrepreneurial approach. We believe that we can make an important contribution to society through our knowledge, our skills and our products.
Our social responsibility activities are primarily focused on those areas in which we have specific expertise stemming from our core businesses. We are thus engaged in health and environmental projects and furthermore support education, especially in the natural sciences. We provide disaster relief in emergency situations, particularly in those regions in which we operate.
Our subsidiaries are engaged in a wide variety of local projects. We have defined a general set of criteria for selecting projects, and the decisions concerning specific local projects are made by our subsidiaries. In 2016, we spent a total of € 43 million on community engagement activities. Our patient support programs, for instance the Erbitux®China Patients Assistance Program amounting to around € 153 million, are not taken into consideration here.