WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. -- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada, announced today that it has signed on to the CEO Water Mandate, an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices.
The commitment supports Merck's new global water strategy through which the company seeks to achieve sustainable water management within its operations and to minimize its impact on local water supplies, while also working to reduce the impact of water-related illness through its products, partnerships, advocacy efforts, and employee volunteerism. Merck's water strategy is part of its broader environmental sustainability priority, a key component of the company's approach to corporate responsibility.
'Access to clean water is critical to the world's health and our mission,' said Merck President and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier. 'As Merck grows, our business, customers and supplier networks are expanding into regions of the world where availability of clean water and sanitation are under pressure. We are committed to doing our part to help address this global challenge.'
An estimated 2.8 billion people live in areas of high water stress today, while 1.1 billion people - almost one-fifth of all humanity - lack access to at least a gallon per day of safe water. Unsafe and inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene cause approximately 3.1 percent of all deaths, totaling more than 1.7 million deaths annually.
In 2009, Merck used eight billion gallons of water. The majority of Merck's water use is for manufacturing process-related heating and cooling and pure water production.
Through its global strategy, Merck has publicly committed to:
- Reduce the company's operational water footprint
- Report publicly on the company's water use and goals
- Publicly advocate for good water policy
- Work to address water needs in local communities
- Engage the company's employees to be water stewards at work, at home and in their local communities
Merck has a global water reduction program that requires all of its major facilities to document how much water is coming into the site, how it is used, how much is reused and where it is discharged. Merck recently set new near-term water goals to reduce its 2009 use of water by 15 percent by 2015 and by 25 percent by 2020. The company is committed to disclosing its progress against this target annually through its non-financial reporting and through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water assessment.
About the CEO Water Mandate
The CEO Water Mandate recognizes that the business sector, through the production of goods and services, impacts water resources – both directly and through supply chains. Endorsing CEOs acknowledge that in order to operate in a more sustainable manner, and contribute to the vision of the UN Global Compact and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, they have a responsibility to make water-resources management a priority, and to work with governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to address this global water challenge. The CEO Water Mandate covers six elements: Direct Operations; Supply Chain and Watershed Management; Collective Action; Public Policy; Community Engagement; and Transparency. By signing, CEOs commit their respective companies to adopting and implementing a comprehensive approach to water management that incorporates the Mandate's six elements.
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com.
This news release includes 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health policies in the U.S. and internationally and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions.
Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck's 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).