The just published summer edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review profiles an amazing example of Corporate Social Responsibility: Merck for Mothers. Its mission is quite simple: no mother should die while giving life.
Merck for Mothers is not a charitable or corporate philanthropic program. It is not an employee volunteer program. Nor is it one of corporate governance. Instead, it is a rare corporate initiative for social change of great magnitude.
Global healthcare and pharmaceutical company Merck has pledged $500 million over ten years, along with research and development for medical innovations, and collaboration with non-profits and NGOs to attack one of the most complex global health issues, women dying in childbirth. You can see their video here. It is difficult to watch at first. I encourage you to keep watching as it builds hope that this initiative, through its various expert partners, will succeed.
Last year Merck ranked 53 on the Fortune 500 list. The company has the financial and political muscle to pull off change at this scale. Yet small businesses don’t need Merck’s balance sheet to do the same. Companies of any size can create collaborative partnerships, seek expert ideas and dedicate a portion of their work to making a tangible social difference. Merck for Mothers outlines the keys for success, starting with a commitment from corner office leadership. The CEO or company president will be the one to clearly define the vision, set goals for success and rally the organization behind the mission.