Company plans to reduce water use and report progress annually
Merck, known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada, announced 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.
“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 the world population—lack access to at least a gallon per day of safe water. Unsafe and inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene cause approximately 3.1% of all deaths, totaling more than 1.7 million deaths annually.
In 2009, Merck used 8 billion gal 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; and
Engage the company's employees to be water stewards at work, at home and in their 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% by 2015 and by 25% by 2020. The company committed to disclosing its progress against this target annually through its non-financial reporting and through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water assessment.