An environmental materiality assessment identifies the issues that are important to the business, the community and the environment so the company can prioritize them for action.

Our materiality assessment involved conducting interviews with senior management in key business areas of Merck and gathering input from both internal and external stakeholders. We considered regulatory, reputational and supply risks as well as cost impacts.

The key areas identified by our environmental materiality assessment included:

  • Protecting water resources
  • Conserving energy and reducing GHG emissions
  • Reducing and reusing materials

The outcomes of this assessment led directly to the selection of our corporate environmental goals.

Our global operations include research laboratories and farms; manufacturing and packaging facilities; warehouse and distribution centers; a field sales force; and business offices. Most of our direct environmental footprint is associated with the resources and materials we use to discover and manufacture our products, as well as the wastes that are generated, treated and disposed of as the result of those activities.

Our products include prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and a diverse portfolio of consumer and animal health products. To ensure high levels of product safety for our customers, we use very pure ingredients in our manufacturing processes, which makes it more difficult to reuse and recycle key chemicals. We also use rigorous cleaning regimens. The discovery and production of vaccines and biologic therapies generally involve living microorganisms that require strict, sterile growth conditions and the use of highly purified water.

While we focus our environmental programs, goals and external reporting on the impacts of our own operations, we also recognize that the issues that are material to us are mirrored in our supply chain by partners who make products, chemicals, packaging components, and other materials and services that we consume to run our business. For more information on our supply chain, click here.

Last Updated August 5, 2013