Case Study

Supporting Merck’s due diligence journey over the long-term


Merck is a leading science and technology company with a diverse portfolio in the fields of healthcare, life science and electronics, employing more than 58,000 employees in 66 countries.

twentyfifty has been a long-standing partner of Merck since 2012, advising on Merck’s overarching human rights approach, supporting due diligence implementation across the business and identifying ways to respond to new and emerging social risk issues such as AI.

Engagement with internal and external stakeholders plays an important role in this work - ensuring that Merck’s approach aligns with international standards and societal expectations.

The challenge

Merck is a highly complex business, operating across the globe and managing around 60,000 suppliers. Bringing human rights and fast-moving sustainability issues to life across such a business is an ongoing process, requiring continuous learning and a focus on management systems and people alike.

Our approach

Our approach is grounded in the UN Guiding Principles on Business on Human Rights, tailored for the pharmaceutical industry and Merck’s business reality. We work iteratively with the client and key stakeholders, via cycles of continuous learning and improvement, to ensure our support reflects evolving human rights risks and the wider social sustainability agenda.

Through developing a robust relationship with our principal clients, we are also trusted to propose and integrate leading-edge social topics and innovative approaches within our work.


  • Supporting the set-up of a cross-functional working group which oversees human rights due diligence for Merck as a whole.
  • A risk analysis prioritising different human rights risks across countries and business units
  • Supporting the development and update of Merck’s Human Rights Charter, including a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process with external experts
  • A self-assessment at country level, to expand understanding of Merck’s global human rights profile
  • Conducting a Human Rights Impact Assessment in India, thereby, gaining deeper insights into particular human rights challenges and opportunities for Merck
  • Advisory reports on areas such as grievance mechanisms, AI technologies and ESG reporting
What our clients say
Maria Schaad, Head of Performance Aand Reporting, Group Corporate Sustainability, Merck

“We appreciate twentyfifty's strong technical expertise, which has helped us to evolve our due diligence approach to continuously stay ahead of the curve!”

Project details
Client Merck
Sector Technology & Industry
Services provided Embedding Due Diligence
Functions involved Corporate Sustainability, Procurement, Human Resources, Compliance, Security, Environment Health and Safety, Bioethics/Digital Ethics and Healthcare
Duration 10+ years
Key success factors

Technology Innovation

Stakeholder engagement

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