Through our local research, manufacturing and sales operations; by purchasing products and services from numerous and diverse suppliers; and by investing in community infrastructure, we generate skilled-employment opportunities and market activity that directly and indirectly drive income and economic growth. Through our research activities, Merck contributes to local R&D capacity in the life sciences sector, which is critical to building national competitiveness in the 21st century. By granting licenses for our products and our technical know-how to small and medium-size companies, we contribute to their growth and to the local scientific knowledge base. Through our national and local tax payments, we help support government-financed pensions, health systems and local infrastructure.
As of December 31, 2011, Merck (including its Banyu subsidiary in Japan) had a physical presence in 80 countries, with 597 research, manufacturing, sales and administrative sites. In all of these locations, we recognize that our success depends in large part on our relationships and interactions with local communities, including elected officials, business and community leaders, charitable organizations, neighbors, educators, local media and our employees.
Merck aspires to having a positive effect on the communities in which we operate worldwide, and we recognize our responsibility toward those affected directly or indirectly by our operations and activities. We rely on local communities not only for our workforce but also for some of our suppliers and for our ability to do business. Through ongoing engagement and dialogue, we work to understand the concerns and needs of our communities, and we seek to respond by addressing local challenges in ways that build stronger communities and support the sustainability of our business.
We contribute to our communities in three key ways:
Underlying our community approach is our commitment to respect human rights. As a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, we are committed to protecting and promoting fundamental human rights not only within our immediate workforce but also within our broader sphere of influence, including within our local communities. Learn more about our commitment to protecting and promoting fundamental human rights.