Resource conservation

Environmentally friendly and resource-conserving production

Along with fuel economy and emissions during vehicle operation, the processes used to manufacture our vehicles also play a key role in determining their environmental compatibility. For this reason, we work on continuously making production more efficient – for example by reducing waste, utilizing closed-loop water systems, and recycling batteries from electric vehicles.

Conserving resources, reducing investment related and operating costs

GRI 103-1

GRI 301-1

Conservation of resources, including everything from water to energy and raw materials, is crucial for reducing the ecological footprint of our manufacturing operations. Increasing our energy efficiency not only reduces our consumption of fossil fuels but also lowers energy consumption as a whole and thus the CO2 emissions produced at our plants. The improvement of recycling processes and reduced consumption of raw materials at our sites have the potential to reduce waste. We are also striving to reduce water consumption.

Resource-efficient production helps to cut ongoing costs such as those for the procurement of water and energy and for wastewater discharge.

In order to boost resource efficiency, sometimes buildings and facilities have to be modernized and existing processes have to be optimized. For this reason, very ambitious resource-efficiency targets are often associated with investment-related costs that are juxtaposed to the company’s profitability targets. As a result, we always have to compare the resource conservation potential with factors such as land usage, the cost of a new building or the modernization of production facilities, and many other influencing factors.

Besides climate, immission, water, and soil protection we also see it as an important task to protect biological diversity around our locations and to promote and maintain them. The decline of biodiversity is a continually growing global problem that can be caused, among other things, by the extensive exploitation of resources, the increase in pollutant emissions, and the environmental impact of industrial production. There are projects for fostering biodiversity at many Daimler AG facilities in Germany, including our plants in Sindelfingen, Gaggenau, Mannheim, Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg, as well as at international locations such as Iracemápolis (Brazil) and Samano (Spain).

How we are reducing resource consumption in production

GRI 103-2

GRI 303-1/-2

Our commitment to the environment is an integral component of our business strategy. For this reason, we have established environmental management systems at our manufacturing locations. In doing so, we are aiming to achieve efficient, high-quality production processes that are also environmentally compatible, safe, and in conformity with the law.

In addition, our Environmental Management Manual defines a standardized Group-wide framework for our environmental management systems. We are currently updating this manual, which describes our environmental and energy guidelines in detail and presents the key environmental protection provisions that are relevant to the Group.

Environmental risks prevention

GRI 303-1

Compliance with the internal and external environmental protection requirements and the plants’ reporting obligations is regularly checked as part of the environmental management activities at our production facilities. One of the key parameters is legally compliant operation in the areas of waste management, air emissions, soil/groundwater pollution, wastewater discharge, and the utilization of materials. In the event of any relevant environment-related incidents, we document them and take necessary measures to eliminate possible damage. The management systems are monitored by external auditors as part of the certification process (ISO 14001, EMAS, ISO 50001) and by internal environmental risk assessments (environmental due diligence process).

Already in 1999, we developed a methodology for assessing environmental risks at our worldwide production locations (environmental due diligence) as a tool for preventing risks to the environment and making them transparent worldwide. Since then we have employed this method both internally at all production locations in which the Group has a majority interest, as well as externally in connection with our planned mergers and acquisitions. We have a standardized process in place for inspecting and assessing the Group’s consolidated production sites every five years.

The results are reported to the plants and their executive management. In addition, we annually monitor the extent to which our recommendations for minimizing risks at the locations have been put into practice. The objective of our environmental risk assessments is to ensure that we meet high environmental standards at all of our production locations around the world.

Since 2000 we have conducted four complete rounds of risk assessment at the Daimler production plants of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Trucks, and Daimler Buses. The fifth round of environmental risk assessments began in 2019. Apart from a small number of new risk aspects that we integrated into the individual theme areas in 2014, our environmental risk assessment methods and tools have remained unchanged. In this way we ensure that the results are comparable with those of the previously completed assessments. In 2019 we evaluated the production locations operated by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division.

As part of our preventive measures against environmental risks, we also evaluate possible risks related to the water supply and the disposal of wastewater. The results showed that none of our plants are subject to very high water-related risks. This was the result of an in-house analysis we conducted with the help of the leading online tool in this area, the WWF Water Risk Filter. Only one of our facilities had a water scarcity risk of 3.8 on a scale from 1 (no risk) to 5 (very high risk). All of our other facilities have, at most, a medium risk.

5.1 Assessment of environmental risks

Responsibility for resource conservation at the plants

The main responsibility for ensuring that resources are used efficiently is borne by the respective divisions, such as Mercedes-Benz Cars. The targets of each division are laid down by the respective management bodies, which regularly report to the management boards of the divisional companies and the Board of Management as a whole. This is derived from the system of targets that we have defined in coordination with the Board of Management as part of our sustainable business strategy.

Our targets

To enable us to achieve a CO2-neutral energy supply beginning in January 2022, our first step is to avoid and reduce CO2 emissions. To this end, we are instituting measures such as systematically increasing the energy efficiency of production, switching to the procurement of exclusively green electricity, expanding the photovoltaic systems at our plants, and optimizing the supply of heat. Only as a last step, starting in 2022, will we offset unavoidable CO2 emissions by conducting high-quality projects involving the purchase of first-rate CO2 certificates (Gold Standard CERs).

We also pursue the strategic corporate objective of continuously reducing resource consumption per vehicle and increasing resource efficiency. More specifically, we have set ourselves targets for water and energy consumption as well as for the waste for disposal per vehicle. Our resource conservation goals for the area of production between 2013/2014 and 2030 are currently being finalized for the truck and bus divisions.

Measures for resource-efficient plants

GRI 103-2

Reducing energy and water consumption and producing less waste while recycling more materials: We employ a variety of measures in order to make the production of our vehicles as environmentally compatible as possible. This holistic approach is enabling us to gradually reduce the environmental footprint of our manufacturing operations.

Boosting energy efficiency

GRI 302-3/-4

In order to reduce energy consumption in production, we are employing highly efficient ventilation and lighting systems as well as efficient process technologies such as new generations of robots and painting technologies. However, continuous improvements in ongoing operations and the smart management of halls and production facilities are also playing a part. One example of that is the production-oriented deactivation of machines during breaks in the manufacturing process.

At Mercedes-Benz Cars, we reduced the energy consumption per vehicle by 10 percent between the base year (average for 2013/2014) and the reporting year 2019. The results show that we are within our target range, which foresees a 43 percent reduction between the base year and 2030. At the Vans unit, we are striving to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent between the base year and 2030. In 2019 this reduction had reached 7 percent. The specific energy consumption in the Trucks & Buses unit was reduced by 3 percent.

Further information about energy efficiency and our energy management systems (as well as specific examples from the reporting period) can be found in the chapter On the road to CO2-neutral production

Using water efficiently

GRI 303-1/-2/-3/-4/-5

We achieve reductions in water consumption by closing our water systems as much as possible. This is done by treating process water, for example, and by using closed-loop cooling systems instead of open ones. Additional reductions are achieved by using water-conserving fittings in sanitary facilities as well as new highly efficient production processes.

New car painting facilities, for example, are increasingly using dry instead of wet separator technologies. In the painting process, solvents and overspray, which arise during painting and must be separated in a controlled manner to protect the environment, are not separated from the airstream by means of a spray of water, but are instead absorbed with the help of rock dust. Further reductions are made possible by innovative industrial cleaning processes such as the use of lasers for spot cleaning.

We have also implemented water-conserving measures for the rain test, which is used to check the water resistance of all new vehicles. At some of our production locations we use a biological water treatment process that functions without any biocides. As a result, the wastewater contains fewer harmful substances. The volume of water that is purified by this method can be reused about three times more often.

Wastewater from our production processes and sanitary facilities is either channeled to local wastewater treatment and disposal facilities according to local regulations or pretreated and purified at our own sites. We also have biological wastewater plants at a number of our locations. Any risks that might result from contamination of the rainwater at a factory site are minimized in line with the provisions of an internal standard.

At Mercedes-Benz Cars, we reduced the water consumption per vehicle in the reporting year by 7 percent relative to the average for 2013/2014. That has brought us closer to our reduction target of minus 33 percent by 2030. At the Vans unit, we are striving to reduce water consumption by 28 percent between 2013/2014 and 2030. In 2019 we achieved a decrease of 12 percent. The specific water consumption in the Trucks & Buses unit was reduced by 17 percent.

Reducing waste volumes

GRI 306-2/-4

We want to reduce the volumes of waste generated in our production as much as possible. As part of this effort, it is important to ensure transparency concerning the waste value streams in the production process and to correctly separate the various types of waste. For example, in Europe we classify different types of waste according to waste key numbers, and we treat and dispose of them according to specific regulations. We generally work with licensed and regularly certified waste disposal companies to ensure the professional disposal of our waste materials. Furthermore, we minimize the amount of waste resulting from new or optimized production processes, such as clippings, sands, filter media, and slurries.

At Mercedes-Benz Cars we have reduced the volume of waste for disposal per vehicle in the reporting period by 25 percent compared to the base year (average for 2013/2014). That puts us right on track to reaching our reduction target of minus 43 percent by 2030 compared to 2013/2014. At the Vans unit, we are striving to reduce waste for disposal per vehicle by 33 percent between 2013/2014 and 2030. In 2019 the specific waste or disposal per vehicle decreased by 31 percent.1 The volume of disposable waste per vehicle in the Trucks & Buses unit was reduced by 89 percent.2

In the area of logistics, we are taking additional measures such as optimizing packaging materials and utilizing multiple-use load carriers. For example, at our plant in Aksaray (Turkey) we have improved the packaging of engines and transmissions for transport. Before the switch, the engines and transmissions were transported in one-way containers made of wood. These have now been replaced with multiple-use steel load carriers that can be reused for a long time. Through this measure we are saving packaging materials equivalent to 3,200 trees annually.

Waste reduction in catering

We are also working to raise our employees’ awareness of the topic of waste reduction, for example by doing away with single-use plastic at our plant catering facilities. The Group’s catering company in Germany, Daimler Gastronomie GmbH, provides around 40,000 employees with food and beverages daily at eleven locations in 30 staff restaurants and 66 company-owned shops. In 2019 Daimler Gastronomie focused on implementing a sustainable packaging strategy throughout Germany that consisted of replacing all single-use plastic items provided to customers buying take-out food and beverages. Plastic straws, for example, were abolished and customers buying take-out food were provided with wooden cutlery, paper bags for sandwiches, and sustainable bowls for soups and stews.

Thanks to these measures, Daimler Gastronomie has already reduced its plastic waste by 43.2 tons (compared to 2018). Another measure of this sustainable packaging strategy consists of creating more attractive multiple-use coffee cups and reducing or completely eliminating single-use coffee cups. In addition to implementing this packaging strategy, Daimler Gastronomie is also reducing the volume of foods on the menu that are associated with the unnecessary generation of CO2. Through its “Energy Source” line of vegetarian and vegan dishes and the “Awareness Day” initiative, Daimler Gastronomie is continuing to shrink its CO2 footprint.

Training sessions on environmental protection

We conduct training courses at all of our locations. The important content of our training courses includes waste and hazardous materials management, water pollution control, wastewater treatment, emergency management in case of environmentally relevant malfunctions, and the environmentally friendly planning of plants and workplaces.

Legal requirements regarding the content and frequency of training courses must be complied with in some cases. These may differ depending on the location. In Germany, the corporate environmental protection unit offers annual training courses for qualifying local officers responsible for immissions management, water protection, and waste management.

In the reporting year the training programs at Daimler locations included mandatory training courses for new managers and newly appointed energy coordinators in the areas of production, logistics, and quality control, as well as intensive training courses for production engineers. In addition, courses focused on energy were regularly conducted at the production units and informational events were incorporated into works meetings.

Resource-conserving battery production

To manufacture electric vehicles, we need drive batteries that use lithium-ion technology. The production of these batteries requires the intense use of resources and energy. To achieve improvements in this area, in the future we will use a climate-neutral battery production process and promote battery recycling.

Nature conservation and biodiversity

GRI 304-3

Our internal recommendations for promoting biodiversity include practical tips for creating semi-natural habitats at our locations. They encourage the active promotion of biodiversity and greater consideration of this topic when construction work is being planned, as well as the implementation of corresponding measures. For example, at our locations we have created insect hotels and nesting aids for local birds, set up hotels for wild bees, and created greening for roofs, facades, and dry stream beds as well as rock gardens and flowering meadows. We have transformed green spaces around our plant in Gaggenau and the Daimler Trucks plant in Rastatt into biotopes. For a number of years now, the German environmental organization NABU has provided advice, support, and documentation for our successful programs benefiting local flora and fauna. Marginal strips of land and previously little-used plots of ground have also been renatured at many other locations.

On June 5, 2019, World Environment Day, we officially opened a green area covering 19,000 m² on the grounds of the Mercedes-Benz Global Logistics Center in Germersheim. On this area, which had previously lain unused, 149 trees, 805 shrubs, 680 perennials, and 500 species of grass were planted. The planners made sure to include a wide variety of local species. The staggered flowering of different species ensures that insects can find nectar to feed on throughout the year. The apprentices at the logistics center also worked on this project, building an insect hotel and nesting aids for birds and bats on the center’s grounds. The project, which originated in an employee workshop, is making an important contribution to biodiversity at this location. Including the employees early on in the shaping of this project has created a symbiosis between a creative atmosphere for work and leisure and semi-natural biotopes.

How we assess the effectiveness of our management approach

GRI 103-3

The goal set by the Cars division for its specific waste volume in the period until 2022 has already been almost reached ahead of schedule. According to the current forecast, we will not quite reach the goal for our specific energy consumption by 2022. We have therefore intensified our work on this project. According to current knowledge, the goal for our specific water consumption in the period until 2022 can be reached. We continuously update our comprehensive reporting database on these projects.

Energy requirements for products and services

GRI 302-5

The electricity consumption per car has increased slightly by comparison to the prior year. This is due to the decrease in production volume at Mercedes-Benz Cars. At Trucks & Buses, the electricity consumption per vehicle increased also, despite implemented energy efficiency measures, due to a decrease in production volume. At Mercedes-Benz Vans, electricity consumption per vehicle decreased.

If the number of vehicles produced decreases, this does not mean that energy consumption will lessen to the same degree. That is because the production plants have a base load of energy consumption that is independent of the number of vehicles that are currently being produced. For example, they have to ventilate, heat, and illuminate the production halls and keep the dryers in the paint shops at a constant temperature.

Besides, not all production facilities can be switched into standby mode during breaks in production. As a result, we always use up to 70 percent of the energy required for full capacity utilization, no matter how many vehicles are manufactured during production days. We intend to continuously reduce this proportion in our newly built plants.

1 The reduction amounts to 23 percent if a reclassification of the disposable waste (according to the Daimler Group environmental guidelines) at a location outside Germany in 2017 is subtracted. As a result, the goal for 2030 is currently being reevaluated and will be readjusted if necessary.

2 One of the reasons we achieved this high rate of reduction was the reclassification of foundry sands at our plant in Mannheim, which have been used since 2017 for sealing landfills.

Energy consumption (in GWh)
GRI 302-1

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total

10,940

10,895

11,340

11,607

11,287

Water consumption (in 1,000 m3)
GRI 303-3

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total

14,966

15,104

14,014

14,381

13,486

Waste by disposal method (in 1,000 t)
GRI 306-2

 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Non-hazardous waste for disposal

74

86

82

40

28

Non-hazardous waste for recovery (without scrap metal)

269

223

239

318

303

Scrap metal for recycling

866

828

858

877

830

Hazardous waste for disposal

47

21

15

10

10

Hazardous waste for recovery

71

71

75

82

79

Total

1,328

1,229

1,269

1,328

1,249

Provider/Privacy

Daimler AG Mercedesstraße 120
70372 Stuttgart
Germany
Tel.: +49 711 17 0
E-Mail: dialog@daimler.com

Represented by the Board of Management: Ola Källenius (Chairman), Martin Daum, Renata Jungo Brüngger, Wilfried Porth, Markus Schäfer, Britta Seeger, Hubertus Troska, Harald Wilhelm

Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Manfred Bischoff

Commercial Register Stuttgart, No. HRB 19360
VAT registration number: DE 81 25 26 315