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Building a Sustainable Business for a Healthier World

By Brian Collett

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has donated 150 million tablets for treating a serious tropical disease in 26 African countries last year.

The company describes its program to fight schistosomiasis, a urinary and intestinal infection caused by parasitic worms, in its corporate sustainability report for 2017.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany reports that during the past 10 years it has given enough medication through the World Health Organization to treat more than 150 million patients, mainly schoolchildren.

It reinforced its efforts last year with the formation of the Global Health Institute with the aim of improving the health of under-served populations in developing countries.

As one of its projects the institute is now in a partnership with other bodies to produce treatments for schistosomiasis in children under six.

The company's community benefit work last year included a €5.1m investment ($6m, £4.5m) in educational and cultural activities. More than 2,500 employees volunteered nearly 14,000 hours to give science teaching.

Projects outlined in the report were pilots to train teachers and give them the tools to ignite their students’ enthusiasm for science. One was set up in India last year and others are due to follow in Chile, Kenya and Tanzania this year.

In some areas, the report says, the company provided solar lighting equipment, reducing energy use in air-conditioned buildings by up to 40 per cent. On the science side, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany offers more than 750 products meeting green chemistry principles and providing good environmental alternatives to conventional products.

The 2017 corporate responsibility report was the first by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to meet the requirements for a combined separate non-financial report laid down by the CSR Directive Implementation Act, which Germany implemented last year.

Petra Wicklandt, head of corporate affairs, said: “This CR report coincides with our 350th anniversary and underscores our focus on the dialogue with our partners who, just like us, see sustainability not just as an obligation but as a critical factor for our future success.

“From fighting the tropical disease schistosomiasis and manufacturing eco-friendly products such as organic photovoltaics to our school sponsorships, which are aimed at sparking young people’s interest in science, we cover a kaleidoscope of topics.

“The report gives external stakeholders a prominent voice, as well as actively involving its readers.”

Photo: Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany