Merck gave $1.2B to CSR initiatives last year

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ: Pharmaceutical giant Merck increased its total giving to $1.2 billion in 2010, up from $923 million the prior year, via philanthropic programs focused on health, education, and community involvement, according to its 2010 global corporate responsibility report.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ: Pharmaceutical giant Merck increased its total giving to $1.2 billion in 2010, up from $923 million the prior year, via philanthropic programs focused on health, education, and community involvement, according to its 2010 global corporate responsibility report.

Merck also reported that its facilities recycled and refused 277 million gallons of water last year. In addition, the company reduced its lost-time injury rate by 22%.

Merck released the 2010 version of the report today, emphasizing a new set of key performances indicators, said Brenda Colatrella, executive director of corporate responsibility at Merck, via email.

The pharma company pared down its previous set of more than 80 measurements to 36 key indicators for the 2010 report. The revised metrics were aligned under four corporate responsibility priority areas: access to health, environmental sustainability, employees, and ethics and transparency, said Colatrella.

“Our ongoing interaction with public health experts, policy makers, socially responsible investors, among others, help us to better understand those issues that are of utmost interest to our stakeholders and the expectations of companies like Merck,” she said. “In addition, our reporting is guided by a number of reporting guidelines and indexes, including the UN Global Compact, Access to Medicines Index, and Global Reporting Initiative."

Since Merck's $41 billion merger with Schering-Plough in 2009, the company has placed a greater emphasis on improving its reputation, CCO Adele Ambrose told PRWeek in March. The merger nearly doubled the size of its global communications team.

Merck updated its code of conduct in June, according to the report. It is also planning to disclose payments made to US-licensed physicians who perform certain consulting services for the company. Since 2009, Merck has voluntarily disclosed payments to US-based healthcare providers who speak on behalf of the company or its products.

Due to the 2009 merger, other year-by-year comparisons will not be available until next year, said Colatrella.

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