We are committed to a sustainable and future-oriented society
Mobility has always moved people. It stands for freedom, independence, and economic growth. However, mobility is not just transportation, as it also connects people and cultures all over the world, and thus contributes to the creation of a more open society.
As a company we are part of society as a whole. We can only be successful if we operate in an environment where people can lead a good life as they see it. In particular a high level of education and a high degree of economic and social stability are crucial for this. That is is why we are cooperating with our employees to create a sustainable society that will remain viable in the future.
Through our social commitment, we want to make tangible contributions to the common good at all our locations around the world. All of these activities are part of our WE CARE WE DO WE MOVE corporate citizenship program, which helps to support our company’s sustainable business strategy.
How we are assuming social responsibility
A large part of our worldwide social commitment consists of donations to non-profit institutions, the sponsoring of socially beneficial projects, and the personal involvement of our employees. The donations and sponsorship committee of the Board of Management manages these activities. The Daimler and Benz Foundation, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, and the Daimler Foundation are responsible for additional socially beneficial projects, which they manage autonomously.
Throughout the Group, Daimler makes donations and sponsors projects in line with the criteria and standards of our donation and sponsorship policy. This policy was last updated in July 2019. It stipulates that all of the Daimler Group’s donations, sponsorships, and marketing partnerships have to comply with the applicable national and international laws, meet ethical standards, and correspond to the Daimler Group’s values. Irrespective of whether cash or non-cash donations are involved, the contract award process has to be transparent in all cases. Other corporate policies, such as our Integrity Code, have to be complied with as well. In addition, we take the UN Global Compact Principles as a guide for the implementation of our donations and sponsorships.
We create transparency by recording all of the Group’s donations and sponsorships worldwide in a centralized database. Moreover, we regularly inform our employees about the applicable policies and alert them to possible risks connected with donations and sponsorships.
We are building on these three pillars of our social commitment
WE CARE WE DO WE MOVE — this encompasses our corporate citizenship activities worldwide. WE CARE, because we take on responsibility by means of our sustainable business strategy. WE DO, because we actively promote the common good. WE MOVE, because we can move the world forward. At our locations throughout the world, we address current tasks that are derived from the needs of the respective society.
In accordance with our sustainable business strategy, our social commitment primarily promotes projects and activities related to our core business, because this is where we can make the biggest contribution. We also encourage our employees to get involved in socially beneficial projects, help improve the social environment in the communities where we operate, and initiate aid projects worldwide.
Our commitment rests on three pillars: “With our employees,” “For our communities,” and “Around the world.”
Pillar 1: With our employees
The ProCent initiative is an example of our employees’ commitment to society. In this initiative, our employees can donate the cent amounts of their monthly paychecks. Daimler then matches these amounts and puts them into a fund for the support of socially beneficial projects. We have supported around 1,500 projects since the initiative was launched in 2011. More than €10 million have been authorized in the initiative to date. At a central platform, employees can suggest projects that should receive money from this fund.
In 2020 these projects included “Was-essen-bei-Krebs,” which is a joint project of the non-profit organization Eat What You Need (an alliance that promotes appropriate nutrition for cancer patients) and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Hospital in Munich. “Was-essen-bei-Krebs” is a nutrition platform that provides scientifically sound answers to cancer patients’ nutritional questions and helps them cope with everyday problems.
We encourage our employees to actively participate in socially beneficial projects through our “Social Days,” the “Day of Caring,” and other hands-on campaigns such as “Give a Smile.” During the reporting year we were able to conduct these activities to only a limited extent, due to the covid-19 pandemic.
For over ten years, Daimler has staged the “Give a Smile” campaign, in which employees fulfill the Christmas wishes of children and teenagers from socially disadvantaged families. We were able to hold this campaign once again in 2020 under the changed conditions by adhering to strict safety and hygiene standards. At 17 locations in Germany, our employees filled around 6,400 packages for children and teenagers from socially disadvantaged families in the respective regions. The campaign was conducted digitally at the locations in the greater Stuttgart area. For the first time, employee donations to nine different aid organizations in the region helped to make the Christmas wishes of the children and teenagers at the respective organizations come true. The employees donated a total of over €90,000.
Pillar 2: For our communities
We conduct a wide variety of projects that support social development at our locations throughout the world. In view of the severe effects of the covid-19 pandemic, our local activities focused on appropriate assistance measures during the reporting year.
For this purpose, we set up a dedicated task force that was in constant contact with the Group’s crisis management team. The task force enabled us to provide quick and non-bureaucratic assistance in the form of mobility, protective equipment, and medical aid in Germany and abroad. In addition, we used our social media channels in order to raise people’s awareness of this topic.
Providing support through mobility during the crisis. We provide non-profit organizations, medical facilities, and health authorities with vehicles that can be used to transport patients, for example, as well as to supply quarantined individuals or to transport tools and protective equipment. As an example, the Group subsidiary EvoBus has given DRK-Rettungsdienst Heidenheim-Ulm gGmbH a converted bus for the transport of intensive-care patients.
Providing protective equipment. Throughout the world, medical and social facilities need protective equipment such as respirator masks, protective clothing, and face masks. We have donated protective equipment above all to government institutions such as health authorities, which then distributed the items to hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other facilities. This equipment includes disposable respirator masks, protective clothing, and face masks, some of which were produced by Daimler AG itself (by means of injection molding and 3D printing). Some of these products meet the requirements of medical certification systems.
Providing medical assistance. In order to provide direct medical assistance, paramedics from Daimler’s plant medical service voluntarily worked for Stuttgart’s rescue service.
In another measure, our Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team worked together with University College London to develop and produce breathing aids. Information about the design of the breathing aids as well as about the specific materials, tools, and equipment that were used to make the prototypes is made available to other companies and research institutes free of charge on the Internet.
We were also active in India: Mercedes-Benz India donated money and goods to the government to offer rooms for up to 1,500 patients at short notice and equip hospital wards. Thanks in part to this help, it was possible to complete the temporary hospital in Chakan (Khed) in the district of Pune in next to no time.
Using communication channels, sharing information: In line with the motto of “spread the word, not the virus,” we used the reach of our social media channels to provide scientifically sound information from health authorities about the covid-19 pandemic in a targeted manner.
Getting children and teenagers enthusiastic about STEM subjects. For Daimler as an automotive pioneer, it’s important that children and young people get enthusiastic about technology, engineering, and natural sciences at an early age.
More curiosity — more future: This has been the motto of the “Genius — Daimler’s young knowledge community” STEM education initiative for more than ten years. The abbreviation STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Genius conducts workshops to get children and teenagers enthusiastic about technology at an early age. It also provides teachers with instruction materials and organizes digital further education measures for teachers. These courses address topics related to the future of mobility.
In 2020, for example, Genius responded to the covid-19 pandemic by providing teachers, children, and parents with digital instruction materials and interesting reports on its YouTube channel. In addition, it supplied selected experiments from the Genius Box, which is an ideas toolkit for elementary schools. These measures enabled children and teenagers to increase their knowledge and become enthusiastic about STEM subjects.
Pillar 3: Around the world
Our social commitment does not end at national borders, because Daimler AG initiates aid projects worldwide and helps people lead their lives autonomously, independently, and without financial hardship. In this way, we want to do our part in improving the prospects of future generations.
We take on responsibility worldwide for the prevention of child labor. In addition to supporting the existing Bon Pasteur project for combating child labor in Congo’s cobalt mines, we teamed up with the NGO Terre des Hommes Netherlands in 2020 in order to prevent child labor in the vicinity of the mica mines in Jharkhand, India.
Mica is the main raw material for the pigments in our vehicle paints, where it creates a shimmering effect, for example. We mainly procure mica from the state of Jharkhand in India. This is one of the poorest regions in the country. The literacy rate and the number of children who go to school are much lower than the national average. Child labor is still very common in this region.
To rectify this situation, Daimler and Terre des Hommes Netherlands are also working together with three regional aid organizations: Bhartiya Kishan Sangh, the Jaago Foundation, and Rashtriya Jharkhand Seva Sansthan. We are employing a variety of measures in this effort. Among other things, we are conducting information campaigns to make people aware of children’s rights. We are showing families alternative sources of income and training them in agriculture, for example. In addition, we are enabling children to attend school and improving their learning conditions, for instance by giving them access to libraries. We are also strengthening local institutions and working together with media in order to make child labor a political issue. This project will initially run until 2022.
Replanting mangroves for the benefit of people and the environment. Mangrove forests are among the most resilient ecosystems in the world. They play an important role in protecting coastal areas against flooding. These forests also serve as carbon sinks and thus fulfill an important function in stabilizing the global climate. In addition, they contribute to biodiversity and to ensuring the food supply and income of people in the southern regions of the world.
However, many mangrove forests have suffered from overuse in recent years and been destroyed. As a result, we are supporting a project of the Global Nature Fund for the protection and restoration of mangrove forests in southern Asia (India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives).
This project aims to restore the forests and thus contribute to climate protection and create alternative sources of income for the local population, e.g. ecotourism and the trade with shrimp. To make this possible, mangroves are grown in tree nurseries, incorporated into sustainable aquaculture systems, and reforested. The project also includes training courses in environmental protection, agriculture, fishery, and vegetable cultivation.
Making children more aware of traffic safety. We promote greater safety for children in road traffic through our international “MobileKids” initiative. This project is therefore not only targeted at children, but also at adults and schools. We provide a comprehensive range of information and instruction materials to enable children to move around safely in road traffic.
Foundations offer support worldwide
Our foundations support projects around the world related to science, research, technology, education, instruction, and sports.
Laureus Sport for Good Foundation: Motivating children and teenagers with the help of sports
For more than 20 years, via the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation we have been helping children and teenagers to overcome violence, discrimination, and disadvantages and encouraging them to take control of their lives and to set and attain goals. In doing so, we are relying on the power of sports to bring people together and motivate them. This is because sports mobilize the masses and greatly strengthen the sense of camaraderie. Differences in religion, skin color, gender, and place of origin lose all significance.
Laureus has been able to help more than six million children and teenagers since its establishment in 2000. There are now over 234 Laureus projects under way in more than 40 countries.
One of the projects sponsored by Laureus is Yuwa in India, which aims to provide girls and young women with education, self-confidence, and leadership skills and thereby protect them against violence. The participants in Yuwa play soccer every day and regularly take part in team competitions. Many of the older girls also serve as coaches at Yuwa. This enables them to earn money and thus promotes their independence. Yuwa also offers a complete school education in English for girls. In this way, the project helps young women to escape the ubiquitous poverty and violence in the region and shape their own futures.
Daimler and Benz Foundation: Promoting young scientists
The Daimler and Benz Foundation supports multidisciplinary scientific dialog and interdisciplinary research projects. The foundation’s scholarship program supports outstanding young scientists from all disciplines. During the reporting period, it supported 24 postdocs and assistant professors with management experience; it also awarded twelve new scholarships. Using a variety of support measures, the foundation investigates research topics that are relevant for the future. It also stages several lecture series in order to make science more visible and accepted in the public eye.
Daimler Foundation: Promoting scientific research
We want to promote scientific research independently of economic interests. To this end, we established the Daimler Foundation as an unincorporated foundation within the Donors’ Association, which is a joint initiative of companies and foundations that provides comprehensive advice, networking, and support in the areas of education, science, and innovation. The Daimler Foundation focuses on three areas: structural problems in research and teaching; engineering sciences; and international and scientific cooperation. Since it was founded in 1993, it has helped establish 27 endowed professorships and assistant professorships in Germany and abroad.
How we assess the effectiveness of our management approach
In the year under review, we spent around €54 million on donations to non-profit institutions and the sponsorship of socially beneficial projects. This amount does not include our own foundation activities and projects that we ourselves initiated. The money for the donations and sponsorships is distributed as follows among the various areas:
- Social issues and community: 80 percent
- Art and culture: 3 percent
- Education: 12 percent
- Science/technology/environment: 5 percent
- Political dialog: 0 percent
We supported around 1,500 projects worldwide.
We evaluate the effectiveness of our social commitment in a variety of ways. Among other things, we monitor the projects and regularly hold dialogs with the partners and the people concerned. Reports about the current state of a project as well as annual reports and agreed-upon key figures enable us to determine how a project is progressing. In selected cases, we go onsite to check and assess the project results and the effectiveness of the support measures.