Our suppliers are key partners in our product development and distribution. Like most companies, a large portion of our environmental impacts come from outside of our own business operations. Producing and transporting raw materials, as well as distributing, using and disposing of our products contribute significantly to our own impact.
While these impacts might not be directly in our control, we recognize the value of collaborating closely with our supply chain partners to share best practices, develop creative solutions to reduce our combined impacts and set mutually beneficial sustainability goals.
Our commitment to make our operations more sustainable extends throughout our value chain to suppliers, contract manufacturers and service providers. We are adopting a proactive approach to engaging with value chain partners to develop projects and processes that have sustainability and business benefits. Merck KGaA’s programs provide foundational standards in areas of human rights and working conditions, environmental compliance and many other topics essential to our commitment to operating responsibly.
As a Division, Merck’s Supplier Management and Procurement teams promote better, proactive management of key strategic suppliers. Corporate responsibility was incorporated in Supplier Management’s Guiding Principles from the beginning. Corporate responsibility, along with manufacturing efficiency, risk reduction, quality management and technical exchanges, will be on the agenda for supplier business meetings. Focusing on these elements is expected to lead to innovation and product differentiation.
Sustainability assessment questions are incorporated into the Supplier Risk Assessment and Business Continuity Planning process. Suppliers are directly engaged to seek out opportunities for projects to advance sustainability. Meetings with key suppliers resulted in the initiation of supplier projects to reduce energy consumption and waste reduction and planted the seed for further conversations on specific mutually beneficial projects.
Our basic expectations for suppliers and service partners include their compliance with fundamental environmental and social standards derived primarily from the ILO Core Labor Standards and the UN Global Compact, which include principles related to human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, and anti-corruption. Depending on risk potential, Merck KGaA conducts sustainability audits at selected suppliers in order to monitor compliance with our Code of Conduct and Social Charter.
We incorporate corporate responsibility into our procurement processes and contracts, and we are including opportunities with indirect suppliers. Efforts currently include contracts for green computing and office products, food services, janitorial green cleaning, sustainable landscaping, fleet vehicle fuel efficiency and supplier driven product recycling programs.
We expect our suppliers and service providers to comply with fundamental environmental and social standards. Merck KGaA refined its procurement strategies in order for its supply chain worldwide to adhere more closely to environmental, compliance and social standards, and to prevent violations. The Merck KGaA Responsible Sourcing Principles consolidate the requirements placed on our suppliers concerning responsible conduct.
Merck is committed to maintaining and increasing its partnerships with diverse suppliers. Through the collaboration of the Corporate Responsibility and Procurement teams, the organization is focusing on broadening opportunities for Women, Disabled, Veteran, Service-Disabled Veteran, Minority, HUB-Zone, and LGBT-owned businesses to partner with Merck. As part of this effort, Merck and EMD Serono recently became a corporate sponsor, with Board Leadership presence, of the Diversity Alliance for Science, a U.S. based non-profit organization whose mission is to support, mentor, and develop diverse small businesses in the Life Science industry. With corporate sponsorship from the majority of the top pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the organization is committed to identifying, developing and increasing spending with certified diverse suppliers and fostering relationships between those suppliers and the corporate, governmental, and academic entities who work in health research and development.