Changing Lanes

Transparent supply chains

Daimler has approximately 60,000 direct suppliers, many of which have sub-suppliers, which in turn may have their own sub-suppliers and so on. The result is a highly complex global network that develops dynamically. We establish transparency with the help of blockchain technologies, for example, in order to ensure that we can identify risks and address them when we need to. Blockchain technologies link digital data sets by means of encryption. Here, all participants in the supply chain can retrace the integration, transfer, and confirmation of information at any time, even as confidential information remains protected.

We require the raw material suppliers we cooperate with to meet high environmental and social standards — in the area of cobalt mining, for example, all the way back to the mine. An important step for Mercedes-Benz suppliers in this regard involves signing the Ambition Letter in which they pledge to supply CO2-neutral products in the future. Battery cell production is energy-intensive and therefore has an effect on the CO2 balance of electric mobility.

But it takes more than just the minimization of environmental risks to achieve sustainability in the supply chain, which also needs to be free of potential human rights violations. Our approach here is "using leverage before withdrawing". This means that instead of simply withdrawing from places with human rights issues, we can often do more to help people in these places by staying and establishing working conditions that ensure respect for human rights. In the future, for example, we plan to only use battery cells that are made of raw materials from certified mines. We are also involved in numerous raw materials initiatives that promote greater transparency and the application of more stringent climate, environmental, and human rights standards.

A large number of new regulations and laws are now being planned and implemented as well. The Due Diligence Act is expected to be passed soon in Germany, for example. Other countries are working on sharpening their regulations, and new EU-wide due diligence legislation is also planned. We support such progress, but we also believe that regulations must be aligned with one another in order to avoid a patchwork situation on the international level. In addition, the people affected must benefit from the measures, and it must be possible for companies to implement them without suffering a competitive disadvantage.

Our holistic approach to supply chains enables us to make an effective contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 4 (Icon)
  • SDG 8 (Icon)
  • SDG 12 (Icon)
  • SDG 13 (Icon)
  • SDG 17 (Icon)

Every company needs to examine its value chain in order to determine the impact it has on human rights. Obviously, no automaker can solve all of the problems alone. Nevertheless, automakers have a responsibility to help shape change — especially in the pandemic, which has been particularly hard on groups that are already vulnerable.

Laura Curtze (Photo)

Laura Curtze Head of the Human Rights & Labour section at the
German Global Compact Network (DGCN)

Bon Pasteur (Photo)
Since 2019, Daimler has been supporting the charitable organization Bon Pasteur, which is seeking to improve the lives of more than 19,000 people in the Kolwezi mining region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by 2022. Daimler has made more than one million euros available to support this cause.
Raw materials (Photo)
Ore (Photo)
24 risk raw materials identified More

Daimler has identified 24 risk raw materials that are now being closely examined to determine their impact on human rights.

Terre des Hommes (Photo)
A partnership with the NGO Terre des Hommes in Jharkhand, India aims to enable children who live near mica mines to attend school. The associated project also provides financial support to the children’s families.

What we do here needs to help people locally

For me, sustainability means keeping an eye on the consequences of our actions — not only for the environment but also for society. Respect for human rights is a particularly important issue to me. That’s because the key challenges here exist mostly in those places where we have very little influence and control, and this applies both to Daimler as a global company and to me as a consumer. Complex value chains develop very dynamically, which means it’s not always easy to identify and address human rights risks. So it’s all the more important for us as an automaker to take active measures to help improve things — and this is exactly what we are doing at Daimler. We are committed to ensuring that certain regulations and standards relating to human rights are complied with not only at our locations but also to the greatest extent possible in our supply chains, and we are developing the processes and measures that are needed. Specifically, this means that we use our Human Rights Respect System to implement the principles defined by the United Nations and other organizations. This approach, which we developed ourselves, makes it possible for us to systematically address human rights violations in our supply chain and at an early stage. Ultimately, what we do here needs to help people locally.

Marc-André Bürgel (Photo)
Marc-André Bürgel

Marc-André Bürgel is the Head of Social Compliance at Daimler AG. He has been supporting human rights campaigns since he was a teenager.

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Daimler AG Mercedesstraße 120
70372 Stuttgart
Tel.: +49 711 17 0

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: Bernd Pischetsrieder

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