Designing raw material supply chains sustainably
Our suppliers play an important role in our efforts to conserve resources. During our training sessions, we cooperate with our suppliers to develop strategies for reducing emissions and discuss the use of secondary materials. As a member of various raw material initiatives, we are also contributing to improving the environmental footprint of important raw material industries.
Conserving valuable raw materials
Much of the environmental impact of vehicle manufacturing comes not from our own facilities but from our upstream supply chains. The extraction and treatment of metallic raw materials in particular can have negative environmental consequences. Besides, metallic raw materials account for a very large share of a vehicle’s total weight. That is why we also demand that our suppliers comply with environmental regulations, and we provide them with the necessary know-how in this area. In this way we are contributing to the conservation of valuable resources and to a secure long-term supply of raw materials for our production processes.
How we promote resource conservation in the supply chain
Our procurement units are jointly responsible for the Daimler Supplier Network cooperation model, and they strive to ensure that the materials we need are procured responsibly.
Our Supplier Sustainability Standards define our requirements for working conditions, human rights and business ethics, and environmental protection. For example, they call for the use and further development of technologies that conserve water and energy, the implementation of strategies for reducing emissions, and the reuse and recovery of resources. These standards also regulate our handling of hazardous substances. Chemicals and other materials that could pose a threat if they are released into the environment must be identified. A hazardous materials management system must be set up in order to safely handle, transport, store, recover or reuse, and dispose of such materials.
We also expect our suppliers of production materials to operate with an environmental management system that is certified according to ISO 14001, EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) or other comparable standards. The same also applies to suppliers of non-production materials, depending on their risks. As part of our risk analysis process we check whether suppliers have environmental certificates. If this process shows that a supplier does not have a certified environmental management system, the supplier is given two years to set up such a system and have it certified.
We receive internal and external complaints about possible violations of environmental regulations in our supply chain through our BPO whistleblower system.
Measures for conserving resources
As part of our sustainability business strategy, we have set ourselves the goal of decoupling our resource consumption from our growth. To this end, we are working with a large number of contractors along our supply chain. For example, we conduct training courses for our suppliers and actively participate in various raw material initiatives.
Dialog and qualification measures at Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans
We offer our suppliers comprehensive training courses on topics related to sustainability. Environmental topics also play a central role in these courses, especially the use of currently available environmental management systems.
In addition to general topics, in our training courses we also address current developments. In the course of a risk analysis, we have identified steel and aluminum as especially important materials within the context of climate protection and resource conservation. We need large volumes of these materials in order to produce vehicles; at the same time, their extraction and processing consume large amounts of energy. However, both of these materials can be successfully recycled, and at the end of their respective life cycles they can be reintegrated into the overall manufacturing process. In 2019 we talked to our suppliers about CO2 emissions and the use of secondary materials and discussed potential measures and goals. We mainly talked with suppliers to our body-in-white production areas. In addition, we defined polymers and batteries as focal areas at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Commitment to raw material initiatives at Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans
As part of our commitment to the sustainable procurement of raw materials, we participate in a variety of raw material initiatives. In addition to the area of human rights, these initiatives deal with environmental issues, with a particular focus on aluminum and steel resources.
Responsible Steel Initiative
Steel accounts for the largest proportion of material used in automobile construction. It is also the world’s biggest raw materials industry. The production of steel is very energy-intensive, and as a result it is responsible for a large proportion of the CO2 emissions generated during the production phase. The Responsible Steel Initiative is increasing transparency in the supply chain by developing a certification system. This system defines requirements for the responsible use of resources such as water and energy and calls for the smallest possible environmental impact of wastewater, airborne emissions, and waste in the steel production process. The requirements in the certification system have been defined cooperatively by a number of stakeholders including Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Aluminium Stewardship Initiative
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative was developed in order to define worldwide standards along the entire value chain of aluminum and to promote the conservative use of resources. The “Responsible Aluminium Standard” combines ethical, environmental, and social aspects. Its focal areas are greenhouse gas emissions, airborne emissions, wastewater, and waste, as well as water and biodiversity. In some bidding procedures we require the suppliers to already be certified according to this standard.
How we assess the effectiveness of our management approach