Merck partners with Schull’s Riley to provide free period products to staff

April 15th, 2022 10:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

Elaine Kennedy and Martin McAuliffe of Merck Cork with Lauren Duggan, Riley. (Photo: Adrian O’Herlihy)

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SCHULL-based sustainable period product company, Riley, is providing free period products for workers at science and tech company Merck.

Provision of free period products was approved by management as a diversity and inclusion initiative to acknowledge the biological needs of colleagues.  It was important for Merck to source toxin and chemical-free, eco-friendly products for health, wellbeing and sustainability improvements and the company are delighted to support a local business.

This new initiative aligns with one of Merck’s four enterprise priorities, which is to think and act sustainably by doing business with an impact while creating societal value.

Site director Martin McAuliffe said:’Key elements of our partnership with Riley is they are locally based, their products are toxin and chemical free and are environmentally friendly.

‘Embedding Merck’s “think and act sustainably” ethos in all our decision making is key and our partnership with Riley is an example of how the Cork site is living these priorities.

‘We are also proud to be the first manufacturing site in Ireland to work with Riley to introduce free period products for our colleagues.

‘My hope is that this will act as a catalyst for other employers to provide these products for their employees.’

With the average period pad containing an approximate plastic content of 90%, Riley sought to create an eco-friendly alternative that wouldn’t harm the planet.

All of their products are made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, which means there are no added chemicals or toxins.

The majority of packaging is compostable, and the tampon applicators are bio-based and made from sustainable sugar cane.

Riley is also committed to fighting period poverty in the developing world with €1 from every box sold going to providing period products to young girls in Kenya as well as funding doctor-school visits.

Lauren Duggan from Riley said: ‘Our mission at Riley is ultimately to improve women’s lives. We believe no person should have to exclude themselves from the activities of daily life, work or education during menstruation due to lack of access to products, or using unsuitable period products.

‘We are thrilled to be partnering with Merck, a progressive business that values the health and wellbeing of all its employees, as well as the health of the environment.

‘It’s wonderful to see a manufacturing site of this size taking the initiative in supporting colleagues.’

The products are now available in bathrooms across the site with talks ongoing to introduce the initiative in other Merck sites nationally and globally.

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