Human Health


This paper is about how production ,consumption and how the whole industrial system affects human life and the environment at large .This will be related to how some issues to do with health are explored and covered in Annie Leonard’s ‘Story of Stuff.’ Some of the areas that are incorporated include business economic and marketing. The paper also focuses on some of the corporate social responsibility measures that companies can put in place to ensure that the environment is not polluted and human health is catered for.


Here is a brief background information that is related to the topic of discussion in this research. One interesting pattern that was noted by this research is that our economic and industrial systems seem to be undermining than serving our ecological sustainability and to some extend social equity. This pattern is worth examining because it does affect our lives directly .This investigation is of great importance because it, in many ways, will help people to clearly understand why preservation of the environment and good health is important, it will also highlight how industrial production can be beneficial with out necessarily polluting the environment.

The paper will analyze some of the aspects of industrial production of medicines and drugs, consumption and related aspects like medication affects our health. Annie has taken almost two decades doing nothing but investigating and doing research, organizing on matters that relate to environmental health and other related issues like production and consumption. She has been to close to forty (40) countries, visiting hundreds of industries and factories where a lot of our stuff is manufactured and dumped.

She Witnessed first hand some of the horrendous effects and impacts of over-consumption and under- consumption all over the world, Annie is dedicated to transforming and reclaiming our industrial systems. She is the Director of “The Story of Stuff Project”. This paper focuses on some of the other areas of sustainable production in relation to human health and consumption  with an aim of coming up with ways of addressing some of the hidden social impacts and environmental problems that the current systems of producing , using and disposing stuff in our daily life.

A back ground to my industrial business of choice Merck

One of the main areas that Annie talks about in “story of stuff” is how companies can help in making the environment  friendly other than just caring about production. Corporate Social Responsibility is an area that many industries need to focus on to ensure that they impact positively on the environment and help in improving the health of human beings. My business entity of choice is Merck. Merck merged recently with another company called Schering-Plough; together they formed a new company. At the moment they are world’s second-largest pharmaceutical products company. They are also world leaders in as far as animal care and consumer goods are concerned. The two, Merck and Schering-Plough are well known to be working hard to improve the health of people in the world.

Their researchers have consistently engaged in studies aimed at coming up with modern ways of treating and preventing diseases .first they discovered vitamin B1, the very first vaccine for measles and antacids for treating cholesterol. Their researchers have also actively participated in the development of products aimed at improving animal health including antibiotics. key stakeholders that are perceive to have a bona fide interest in the Merck company's ways of handling and managing the environment include the company management which aims at not disappointing their esteemed consumers who they through their organizational values promised to improve their quality of life and providing quality products. The others include the scientists who are to carry out the research and of course the world wide community which use their products.

Corporate Social Responsibility Pyramid

Annie in her story of stuff recommends some of the activities that are environment friendly which I find closely related to what Merck Company does. Merck has quite a number of the key economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities which they tirelessly aim at fulfilling. Being a global pharmaceutical   company, Merck in the year 2008 came out clearly to emphasize their corporate responsibility in a report in which they reiterated their commitment to the basics of good corporate management and governance in respect to accountability, transparency and other vital ethical and acceptable business practices.

According to Waymer (2009) its understandable that most businesses during tough and hard economic times, are normally tempted to get in to some weird parochial business practices but Merck believes that good business practices are important. They are dedicated to doing what’s right even when things are tough. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics all that companies should be interested in is doing what makes business sense.

Some of Merck's main corporate responsibility activities which they, as an organization, believe will greatly impact on the company’s progress and help improve performance includes five main areas of priority which are critical to their business. The five  main areas of priority that the company identified includes 158 metrics which  also include three brand new metrics that focus on the company’s campaign dubbed  anti-counterfeiting  and other aspects of the company’s sales & marketing endeavors. Merck makes use of other several external legal frameworks and guidelines to inform the scope of their reporting. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this includes the guidelines for Global Reporting initiative, the Millennium Development Goals, ensuring that each and every human being gets access to medicines and the United Nations’ Global Compact.

According to Fetzer and Aaron (2010) the economic implications of these ethical and philanthropic measures for instance minding the well being of consumers at the expense of the company may be a bit discouraging in the sense that it may increase expenditure thus making the company to incur more expenses. This is likely to be a short term problem because after a long while consumers will get to understand the organization’s concept of minding about their social welfare through the philanthropic gestures and their social wellbeing and hence become loyal to the company, that loyalty will in the long run increase consumer base making the company to realize even bigger profits.

Organizational Values

Merck’s organizational values fundamentally aimed at improving and preserving human life and also animal health .Their actions are aimed at being successful in achieving all their goals. Merck value their ability to providing services to everyone who can benefit from using their goods and services. Providing long term satisfaction to consumers is also one of their major concerns, and to achieve this they are committed to high level of integrity and adhering to the ethics.

According to Galambos and Vagelos (2006) Merck is highly responsible to its customers, employees and their families, to the environment and to all the societies they serve across the world. In discharging their responsibilities, they ensure tat they stick to the ethics to ensure that professionalism prevails. While dealing with the various segments of society, they ensure that transparency prevails all the time. According to Trevino and  Nelson(2010) some of their other values include their dedication to high level excellence in carrying out scientific research which is aimed at improving the quality of life and both human and animal health. Merck strives to identify some of the very critical concerns and needs of consumers. All their resources are devoted to meeting all those needs.

The decision to proceed with the drug project and not to proceed with the drug development best fits with the company's declared organizational values and its principles of profitability because, first of all for Merck to stay afloat, they have to make profits by doing works that make consumers experience satisfaction and promote humanity. To achieve all this they have to maintain a financial position which can invite investments in leading research. Merck’s ability to excel depends on quit a number of factors which are inline with their core values for instance ,the integrity, value for skills , knowledge, high level  diversity and teamwork  among employees. To achieve all this, Merck has to create a conducive environment where mutual respect, teamwork and encouragement are brought together. In a bid to ensure that all this is achieved they reward commitment and high performance of their employees.

Stakeholder Impact and Trust

If the drug development failed and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the harm to the company and its stakeholders will not be justifiable because the company committed itself to ensuring that they improve the quality of lives of their consumers. If at all Merck decided not to pursue development of the new drug, this will have far reaching implications to their relationships with their stakeholder. This will for instance put in jeopardy the relationship between them and the scientists who had shown desire and commitment in the development and hence breathing some of their organizational value and commitment on trust and proper leadership. In promoting human health, transforming and even reclaiming both our economic and industrial systems to ensure that they serve the ecological sustainability I would come up with policies that focus on safe means of producing our stuff and disposing the waste materials or even the by products during production in a better way that is safe to human beings (Leonard and Conrad 2011).

If I was the CEO of Merck and the final decision on this risky new drug development was mine I would lobby within the company’s top management to ensure that the development of the new drug goes on because if anything that is the manifest objective of the company‘s supervisory board which among others included expertise, diversity and internationality .Making new discoveries and developing new drugs can greatly boost the image of the company. I would apply factor analysis to scrutinize the various possibilities and comfortably state my opinion to the board of trustees, employees, and media without fear of contradiction or criticism.

In conclusion ,it should be known that Merck is accompany of international repute and serving its customer is a major concern and a priority and it is still committed to serving its esteemed customers and at all costs ensuring that they provide better services to improve the quality of lives of the consumers of their products. By these the company heavily invests in innovative research which are aimed at coming up with medical products and other products that are safe to human health.


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