MSD CSR initiative for Irish Cancer Society
In 2015, MSD Animal Health called on farmers across the country to join in on a cancer awareness initiative, painting their farm gates pink in support of the Irish Cancer Society. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

MSD thinks beyond business to make a positive impact

29 Mar 2017

CSR is an integral part of many companies. Ger Brennan, managing director of human health for MSD Ireland, gives us some insight into the pharma giant’s global community work.

At MSD, we recognise that we have a responsibility to contribute to society, the environment and our customers. Indeed, employee-led CSR is at the heart of our business, influencing how we operate, how we engage and how others view us.

As a nationwide employer, we focus on making a real contribution to the communities in which we operate, and our employees embrace that responsibility wholeheartedly. We have a range of community, workplace and environmental CSR programmes across all of our sites, and our teams are actively engaged in numerous volunteering initiatives around the country.

Neighbour of Choice

At the local level, across our five sites, we have an ambitious grants programme known as Neighbour of Choice, which supports local charities and organisations, and has been doing so since 2011. Our ambitious programme of activities with local community groups involves projects that enhance the environment, support education and contribute to the local business economy, such as the Friends of Marymount and South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association.

Another key initiative that we are delighted to be supporting is the Irish Cancer Society’s Volunteer Driver Service. Cancer is an issue that affects almost every family in Ireland at some stage, and this service provides transport for cancer patients to and from their hospital chemotherapy treatments. MSD is committed to sponsoring the facilitation of this important initiative, which involves more than 1,000 drivers around Ireland dedicated to easing the strain of travel on cancer patients.

STEM Skills for Success

Another initiative at MSD is the highly successful STEM Skills for Success. This programme, on which we’ve partnered with Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI), aims to equip the next generation with digital skills and get them excited about a potential career in STEM.

Since 2012, 34 primary and secondary schools across Ireland have participated in this joint initiative, which is delivered by MSD volunteers from our sites and uses teaching materials developed by JAI.

The great thing about this programme is that students are able to acquire practical information, advice and hands-on experience, which provide them with the know-how to fulfil their potential and succeed in a STEM-focused workplace.

MSD for Mothers

Global programme MSD for Mothers is an exciting initiative that focuses on improving maternal health. With more than 50 projects taking place in more than 30 countries, and a budget commitment from MSD of $500m, this 10-year programme focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth.

This hugely ambitious programme is all about helping to end preventable maternal mortality and expand women’s access to affordable, quality care.

What it all means

MSD has been consistently ranked as one of the top five CSR contributors in Ireland, according to Business in the Community Ireland.

It’s all about thinking beyond the business. Not only do CSR initiatives motivate our staff – who volunteer across a number of different activities – but our activities impact positively on the wellbeing of the wider community.

By Ger Brennan

Ger Brennan is managing director of human health at MSD Ireland, and associate vice-president of global marketing. Brennan joined MSD in 2010.

Interested in paying it forward? For just €5000, your company can sponsor a group of young people or a disadvantaged group to attend Inspirefest 2017, Silicon Republic’s international sci-tech event. Find out how to sponsor here.

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