The Bright and Sustainable Future of Merck

As the light shines through the glass ceiling on the top floor of Merck’s Taoyuan facility, John Lee, managing director of Merck Group Taiwan, holds an online meeting. Though temperatures outside are rising, the inside remains cool. As the sun comes out from behind a cloud, the windows darken slightly to ensure the room is comfortably lit. This is because Merck in its Taoyuan and Kaohsiung facilities has installed its own breakthrough eyrise® dynamic liquid crystal windows, which can darken their tint in a second by regulating the sunlight coming into the room and maintaining a comfortable room temperature, and will help reduce energy consumption. 

This is just one of the technological innovations from Merck that make the future more sustainable for generations to come. With 355 years of history, Merck has remained focused on long-term development and sustainable operations – a focus centered on the goal of applying science and technology expertise to bring a lasting positive impact to humanity and the environment. 

The German multinational science and technology company operates in 66 countries with over 64,000 employees focusing on electronics, healthcare, and life sciences. With the scope of Merck’s operations spanning the globe, the company has identified three overarching goals for sustainability. Those goals are achieving human progress for over one billion people through sustainable science and technology and integrating sustainability in its value chains by 2030, and then achieving climate neutrality and reducing resource consumption by 2040.  

 “We believe sustainability can be best achieved by applying science and technology,” says Lee. “There is no need to comprise between economy and environment.” 

John Lee, Managing Director of Merck Group, Taiwan

Sustainable Science and Technology Solutions for the Electronics Industry 

To achieve these three goals, Merck is embedding sustainability through efforts from manufacturing to product development and societal contribution. The company is working towards realizing its global climate-neutral and resource-reduction ambitions by upgrading existing facilities and embedding the concept in new facilities. At the Taoyuan site, the company uses a smart manufacturing system for paper-free and zero-error operation and data-driven sustainability management. The newly invested Semiconductor Solution Mega Site in Kaohsiung will meet LEED green building  gold certification standards – the world’s most widely used green building rating system. And by localizing its production, the carbon footprint can be substantially reduced.  

Future technology is demanding faster and more powerful microchips. However, the advancement of semiconductors means more energy and water consumption, as well as chemical usage, are needed for the ever more complex manufacturing process. Merck uses its material expertise to develop green solutions to the chip-making process, such as environmentally friendly solvents for wafer cleaning and working with Micron to develop low global warming potential etch gases, to minimize environmental impact. The company has up to 1,400 green chemicals for a diverse range of applications.  

“Though Merck is a company working in so many areas of the world, we aim to realize our global ambition in Taiwan and help the Taiwan government reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” Lee says. “Another part of our global ambition is to also give back to the customers and the communities we serve.”  

Sustainability to Drive Human Progress 

Low birthrate and labor shortages have become challenges in Taiwan’s society. Merck has initiated several programs to help the situation, including shaping a family-friendly working environment and engaging students from the elementary level through to the post-graduate level, and piquing their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine).  

The youth-focused initiatives include an elementary-to-high-school science education project called SPARK. Merck collaborates with Tamkang University on the “Chemistry on the Go” program, where the company’s employees act as volunteers to teach science experiments at remote schools. Merck also joined the Taiwan Railways of Popular Science train program organized by the NSTC to bring science to every city in Taiwan. Promoting STEM education in Taiwan aims to raise awareness and prepare more Taiwanese talents to devote to the STEM industry, an area in which Taiwan is seeing the biggest talent gap.  

Aside from cultivating community development and sustainability, Merck also strives to nurture employees and their families. As one of the founding members of the Family Friendly Alliance in Taiwan, Merck has implemented initiatives to protect and safeguard the health of employees and ensure that they do not have to choose between career and family. 

With the “Future Ways of Working” initiative, Merck wishes to support their employees to have a well-balanced life. Employees can communicate with their line managers to find a suitable work schedule that allows them to fulfill their professional responsibilities without neglecting the responsibilities they have to their families.  

To protect female employees, Merck has also labeled its production site by potential health risk level using red, yellow, and green zones to warn expecting and breastfeeding mothers to avoid any potential risk to their children.   

“Health, safety, and sustainability is front-and-center of everything we do,” says Lee. “From our liquid crystal windows to our ‘Future Ways of Working’ policy, the future of sustainability for our company, our partners, our communities, and our employees, is now.”