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Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent the international community’s plan of action for “people, planet and prosperity.”

On September 25, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes a set of 17 SDGs to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

We are committed to helping facilitate industry engagement and to identifying ways to work creatively to have an impact on people’s lives while achieving our company’s business objectives.

“We are honored to play a role in the global efforts to achieve the SDGs. Through our ongoing commitments to address important health challenges, we are mobilizing the best of our company to help save and improve lives around the world.”

Kenneth C. FrazierChairman and CEO

Throughout this site, you’ll see indicators in the left-hand column showing which SDGs are addressed on each page.

Our priorities

As a global health care company that is committed to improving health and well-being around the world, SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) is at the core of our business and is aligned with our mission to save and improve lives.

While we realize that all of the SDGs are essential to fostering sustainable development, we have prioritized eight global goals as those where we are positioned to have the biggest impact.

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For the eight SDGs that we have prioritized as those where we can make a difference, we have identified existing metrics that enable us to quantitatively demonstrate our progress in support of the global goals.

The United Nation (UN) has also identified subtargets for all of the global goals, against which corporate and governmental progress can be measured. There are 169 targets in all, but we have identified 11 targets for our priority SDGs that most closely align with our business.

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

SDG 3 icon: Good Health and Well-Being.

As a global health care company, we believe we have an important role and responsibility in improving access to medicines and vaccines, and in helping to reduce the burden of disease around the world.

UN Target 3.1: Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.

Progress on Target 3.12017 2018 2019
Women with improved quality of care through MSD for Mothers (cumulative)2,900,355 3,396,659 3,897,436
Women with access to modern contraception through MSD for Mothers (cumulative)3,775,907 4,038,980 6,014,185

For more information, visit the MSD for Mothers page.

UN Target 3.7: Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.

Progress on Target 3.72017 2018 2019
Women potentially reached in FP2020 countries14,066,477 6,900,000 11,983,000
Note: To learn more about the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) initiative, visit /.
1Number represents potential number of women who could be reached based on number of products provided.

For more information, visit the Women’s Health page.

UN Target 3.B: Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and noncommunicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries and provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines.

Progress on Target 3.B2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of countries where dedicated affordability solutions have been initiated1NR NR NR NR 40
People reached globally through product donation and patient assistance programs and partnerships 1, 2 (estimate in millions)NRNRNRNR404
Number of patents filed in low-income countries, as defined by The World Bank in its country and lending groups classifications (annual)1NR NR NR NR 0
Investment in patient- and provider-education programs (in millions)$80$80$90$115$102
NR: Not Reported
1New key performance indicators (KPIs) reported in 2019 to support our refreshed Access to Health Guiding Principles.
2Estimate includes product donations through our company's Office of Corporate Responsibility and Patient Assistance Program.

For more information, visit the Affordability page.

SDG 5: Gender Equality

SDG 5 icon: Gender Equality.

We regard global diversity and inclusion (GD&I) as a key business strategy to inspire, develop and unleash the potential of our people—holding ourselves to the highest standards of accountability for gender parity established by the United Nations—and knowing that progress for women will stall without sustained, proactive intervention.

UN Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.

Progress on Target 5.520152016201720182019
Women on the Board21%23%23%23%25%
Women in executive roles134%31%32%32%36%
Women in the workforce48%48%48%49%49%
New hires that were female50%51%49%51%50%
Note: Our company has publicly disclosed EEO-1 information since 1999. Our 2020 data is available on our Global Diversity & Inclusion page.
1“Executive” is defined as the chief executive officer and two structural levels below.

For more information, visit the Global Diversity & Inclusion page.

SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

SDG 6 icon: Clean Water and Sanitation.

Our business, suppliers, communities and customers all need access to clean water, and we are committed to managing the environmental impacts of our products throughout their life cycles—from discovery through manufacturing, use and disposal.

UN Target 6.4: By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

Progress on Target 6.42016201720182019
Total water use (million m3)20.7 19.6 20.5 20.3
Water use in extremely-high-risk areas (million m3)3.0 2.9 3.8 0.2
Water use in high-risk areas (million m3)3.4 3.0 3.0 3.6
By 2020, we will develop water conservation plans for sites in “high water risk” locations.
By 2025, we will maintain global water use at or below 2015 levels.

For more information, visit the Water page.

SDG 7: Affordable & Clean Energy

SDG 7 icon: Affordable and Clean Energy.

We believe the private sector has an increasingly important role to play to ensure that we meet the goal of access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all by 2030. We have made a commitment to reduce GHG emissions and other associated air pollutants by driving energy efficiency improvements and purchasing more electricity from renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar.

UN Target 7.2: By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Progress on target 7.22016201720182019
Purchased electricity from renewable sources11%4.9%14.1%25.4%
1We have defined “purchased electricity” as electricity sourced from external suppliers as well as renewable electricity that was generated and utilized on-site where we retained the renewable attributes or where we have obtained renewable attributes through contract.
By 2025, ≥50 percent of our purchased electricity will come from renewable sources.
By 2040, 100 percent of our purchased electricity will come from renewable sources.

For more information, visit the Climate Change & Energy page.

SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth

SDG 8 icon: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Our company is dedicated to actively promoting opportunities for people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, culture, age, disability, religion, gender identity, gender expression or veteran status.

UN Target 8.5: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.

Progress on Target 8.520152016201720182019
New hires that were members of underrepresented ethnic groups (U.S.)33%37%36%36%33%
Note: Our company has publicly disclosed EEO-1 information since 1999. Our 2019 data is available on our Global Diversity & Inclusion page.

For more information, visit the Global Diversity & Inclusion page.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production

SDG 12 icon: Responsible Consumption and Production.

Our product stewardship programs focus on identifying, and either preventing or minimizing, potential safety and environmental hazards throughout a product’s life cycle.

UN Target 12.4: By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed upon international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

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Progress on Target 12.4120152016201720182019
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) (MT)494455481495384
Sulfur oxides (SOx) (MT)4837373027
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (MT)455440380405418
Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) (MT)0.1 0.7 0.1 0.3 0.6
Note: Previously reported data have been restated per our methodology, which includes adding facilities that have been acquired and removing facilities that have been sold as operating sites.
1Data are estimated using conservative assumptions and factors, not measured or weighed.

For more information, visit the Air Emissions page.

UN Target 12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

Progress on Target 12.520152016201720182019
Operational waste sent to landfills and incineration28%30%29%33%26%
Hazardous waste generated (MT)30,34535,24635,65238,41339,674
Non-hazardous waste generated (MT)39,51137,35336,77435,51735,826
Note: Totals may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.
By 2025, ≤20 percent of our global operational waste will be sent to landfills and incinerators, and ≥50 percent of sites will send zero waste to landfill.

For more information, visit the Waste Management page.

SDG 13: Climate Action

SDG 13 icon: Climate Action.

We support science-based, international and national actions to address the challenges presented by climate change, including economic incentives for researching, developing and deploying low-carbon and renewable-energy technologies.

UN Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

Progress on Target 13.120152016201720182019
Scopes 1 and 2 GHG emissions (MT CO2e)1,416,9001,365,0001,258,9001,225,6001,168,900
Scope 3 GHG emissions (MT CO2e)5,586,3007,975,1006,586,1006,239,8006,595,500
Note: Tracking of all of our Scope 3 emissions began in 2014. In accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, prior-year data have been adjusted to add or remove facilities that have been acquired or sold. Adjustments also reflect changes in methodology to ensure consistency from year to year. Scopes 1 and 2 emissions are calculated using the market-based approach.
By 2025, we will reduce global Scope 1 and market-based Scope 2 GHG emissions ≥40 percent from 2015 levels.

For more information, visit the Climate Change & Energy Use page.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

SDG 17 icon: Partnership for the Goals.

Given the immensity of the challenge of discovering smart, sustainable ways to expand access to health care, especially in areas with limited infrastructure and resources, it is only by working with others that we can we make the strongest contribution.

UN Target 17.17: Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.

Progress on Target 17.1720152016201720182019
Health care workers trained through our major programs and partnerships (estimate)119,00032,00074,00067,00068,000
Investment in partnerships for activities that address underlying barriers to health, such as health-system strengthening and capacity-building (in millions)1$21$28$40$37$63
People reached through investment in partnerships, programs and impact investment that support health care capacity-building and address underlying barriers to access to health1 (estimate in millions)188293311357422
Total recorded volunteer hours280,585214,862114,903114,393136,014
1Represents investments by our Office of Social Business Innovation, including our Office of Corporate Responsibility, MSD for Mothers and our company’s Foundation.
22019 figures are based on employee self-recorded volunteer hours and volunteer hours communicated directly to the Office of Corporate Responsibility for certain countries. 2015 marked the first year in which volunteer hour reporting was based solely on employee self-reporting. Prior years included estimates for unrecorded volunteer hours.

For more information, visit the Social Investments and Supporting Our Communities pages.

SDG Index

While we have prioritized eight of the SDGs, our company is working toward all of the 17 global goals in some capacity. See below for links to information on our activities for each of the SDGs.

SDG 1: No PovertySocial Investments
SDG 2: Zero HungerSupporting a Sustainable Food Supply
SDG 3: Good Health & Well-beingAccess to Health Overview
Discovery & Invention
Medical Outreach Program
Infectious Diseases
MSD for Mothers
Women’s Health
Supporting Our Communities
Social Investments
Impact Investing
Product Stewardship
Air Emissions
Waste Management
SDG 4: Quality EducationProtecting Animal Health
Supporting Our Communities
SDG 5: Gender EqualityGlobal Diversity & Inclusion
Human Rights
Women’s Health
SDG 6: Clean Water & SanitationWater
Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
SDG 7: Affordable & Clean EnergyClimate Change & Energy Use
Environmental Sustainability Overview
SDG 8: Decent Work & Economic GrowthGlobal Diversity & Inclusion
Human Rights
Manufacturing & Supply
Sourcing & Supplier Relations
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation & InfrastructureManufacturing & Supply
Discovery & Invention
SDG 10: Reduced InequalitiesGlobal Diversity & Inclusion
Human Rights
Manufacturing & Supply
SDG 11: Cities & CommunitiesSupporting Our Communities
Medical Outreach Program
Impact Investing
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & ProductionEnvironmental Sustainability Overview
Waste Management
Manufacturing & Supply
Climate Change & Energy Use
Air Emissions
Sourcing & Supplier Relations
Product Stewardship
SDG 13: Climate ActionClimate Change & Energy Use

Policies & Positions
Supporting Our Communities
SDG 14: Life Below WaterPharmaceuticals in the Environment
Supporting a Sustainable Food Supply
Supporting Our Communities
SDG 15: Life on LandEnvironmental Sustainability Overview
Materials & Packaging
Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
Waste Management
Supporting Our Communities
SDG 16: Peace, Justice & Strong InstitutionsEthics & Values Overview
Corporate Governance
Human Rights
SDG 17: Partnerships for the GoalsWorking in collaboration with our NGO and corporate partners is critical to the work we do every day. On nearly every page of this site, we mention the organizations with which we work. While not a comprehensive list, most our major collaborators around the world are included.