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<In October of last year, Merck Electronics CEO Kai Beckman (right) visited Korea and visited Merck Korea’s Sihwa plant with Woo-kyu Kim, CEO of Merck Korea.>

Merck Korea has significantly expanded the number of environment·safety experts at domestic semiconductor·display production plants (facilities). The position of chief safety officer (CSO) will also be newly established, and various environmental and safety standards will be strengthened. As the business sites to be managed by Merck Korea expanded through mergers and acquisitions (M&A), a system was established to meet Merck's own standards as well as global environmental·safety standards.

Merck Korea recently established CSO position and made it a representative level to oversee the environment·safety of korean facilities. Merck Korea has 11 business sites in Pyeongtaek·Sihwa·Anseong·Banwol·Ulsan and others. The number of people in charge of environmental safety has been increased from one to two for each facility. Recruitment of relevant personnel was carried out and changes were made to the operation of the organization.

Merck Korea's intensive investment in environment·safety is largely influenced by recent M&A. When Merck acquired Versum Materials in 2019, they secured a plant in Versum Materials Korea that produces domestic special gases and semiconductor materials. In order to raise the existing environment·safety management system to the level of Merck, they hired additional related personnel and set out to establish environment·safety standards. An official from Merck Korea explained, “Merck’s environmental·safety standards are more strict and higher than those in Korea or Europe, so additional measures were needed.”

Merck Korea is also in the process of taking over the chemical division of Mecaro. In last August, Merck decided on M&A to strengthen their semiconductor material business, such as precursors. When the acquisition of Mecaro’s chemical division is completed, Merck Korea will have two more business sites to manage. Additional demand for environment·safety related personnel is expected.

They also respond to the environmental·safety requirements of recent semiconductor·display material customers. This is because domestic manufacturers, which are Merck Korea semiconductor·display material customers, are strongly implementing environmental·social·governance (ESG) activities, including safety standards. As all of their customers must meet global ESG requirements, the purpose is to establish solid environmental·safety standards from the supply chain.

As Merck's domestic investment expands, the scope of environment·safety investment is expected to expand. Merck decided to invest 600 million EUR (about 800 billion KRW) in the Korean market for three years starting this year. Acquisition of Mecaro's chemical division is also part of this investment. As there is still a lot of extra investment left, it is expected that further steps such as hiring additional personnel and expanding facilities will continue.

By Staff Reporter Dong-jun Kwon (