Integrity and Compliance
We firmly embed integrity into our corporate culture
The automotive industry is undergoing radical change. New fields of business are developing, and they are requiring companies to reorient themselves. Meanwhile, new technologies are raising new questions — both ethical and legal. Moreover, the covid-19 pandemic has led to profound changes all over the world. In such times of change and uncertainty, value-based action matters more than ever.
We are convinced that Daimler will only remain successful in the long run if we fulfill not only our financial responsibilities but also our responsibility to society and the environment. Our stakeholders also expect us to behave in an ethical manner and to follow applicable laws and regulations.
Integrity is therefore a central element of our corporate culture. For us, this involves more than just obeying laws. We also align our actions with shared principles, which particularly include fairness, responsibility, respect, openness, and transparency.
How we make integrity a part of our daily business activities
At Daimler, integrity, compliance, and legal affairs are combined into a single executive division. The Integrity and Legal Affairs division supports all of our corporate units in their efforts to embed these topics in our daily business activities.
Our Group-wide Integrity Code is our shared standard of values and defines the guidelines for acting with integrity. It is binding on all employees of Daimler AG and our controlled Group companies. Employees from a variety of corporate units all over the world have helped to formulate the Integrity Code. It is available in ten languages and includes, among other things, regulations concerning regulations concerning corruption prevention, the handling of data, product safety and compliance with technical regulations. For our employees the Integrity Code is available in the Enterprise Rules Database as well as on the intranet, along with all of the key information, including FAQs, points of contact, and contact persons.
In our Integrity Code we have also formulated a special set of requirements for our managers: We expect them in particular to serve as role models through ethical behavior and thus to offer guidance to our employees.
Our Integrity Management unit is responsible for promoting and enhancing integrity within our company and creating a shared understanding of integrity. The goal is to avoid possible risks due to unethical behavior and thus contribute to our company’s long-term success. The Head of Integrity Management reports directly to the member of the Board of Management responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs.
These contact persons help employees who have integrity-related questions
The Infopoint Integrity is the central point of contact for employees of Daimler AG and the Group companies when they have questions concerning acting with integrity. The Infopoint works togehter with experts for legal and HR issues, data protection, compliance, as well as diversity or sustainability. It either provides direct support or connects employees with the appropriate contact partner.
A global network of local contact persons for inquiries regarding integrity, compliance, and legal issues is also available to our employees. The network evaluates the inquiries that are made and, if necessary, initiates the appropriate measures.
In addition, we expanded the Integrity Network during the reporting year. The Integrity Network consists of employees from the individual companies, divisions, and functional divisions of the Daimler Group, and communicates regularly in order to permanently embed integrity into daily business operations. This network also develops and implements concrete measures, which range from dialog events and content and inspiration for management communication to training courses.
We heed the voices of our employees
In 2020 we initiated a variety of measures aimed at embedding integrity even more deeply into the Group. The starting point was the results of the online employee survey “Big Picture Integrity,” which we had conducted throughout the Group in 2019 in order to evaluate our culture of integrity. The results showed that we have laid a good foundation for a culture of integrity at Daimler.
During the reporting year, the focus was on helping managers conduct the follow-up activities for the results of “Big Picture Integrity.” Online sessions supported the managers in interpreting the results and deriving follow-up activities from them. To help them perform this task, they were provided with the Integrity Toolkit. This contains modules that help managers bring integrity to life in daily business and promote discussions about it. The integrity network has also addressed the findings of the employee survey in order to initiate additional measures for the individual divisions and functions of Daimler AG.
The survey results are also directly relevant to our management remuneration system.
To gain an impression of current attitudes toward the culture of integrity at our company, we conducted an Integrity and Compliance Pulse Check in 2020 as a Group-wide random sample survey that provides representative results. The overall positive results show that we have again made process in the ongoing development of our culture of integrity.
Strengthening ethical behavior by means of communication and dialog
We conduct ongoing knowledge sharing and an open dialog with our employees to ensure that integrity will remain embedded in our company’s daily business over the long term. For example, during the reporting year we continued to regularly inform employees about our Integrity Code and its significance for our daily business activities. We have also regularly addressed the topics of integrity, compliance, and legal affairs in our internal media, such as brochures and films.
Our employees can also access the Integrity Toolkit via the Daimler Social Intranet. The Toolkit contains formats for dialog events, tools for self-reflection, case studies, and further information about the topic of integrity.
We also set great store by face-to-face discussions. In 2020 we once again conducted a variety of dialog events with employees at all levels of the hierarchy and with external stakeholders. We conducted all of these dialog events virtually because of the protective measures in force due to the covid-19 pandemic.
With respect to the pandemic, one of the focal points of our communication measures in 2020 was on the associated challenges for ethical behavior. This communication also took place using a variety of digital formats. For the current time of crisis, we also created a new dialog format known as “Das Fundament – Auch in schwierigen Zeiten das Richtige tun” (The foundation — Doing the right thing even in tough times). It supplements the Integrity Toolkit and can be used by all employees in person and in virtual situations. It aims to address the challenges of the “new” daily business operations openly and at an early stage and to overcome them with mutually agreed-upon rules and values.
All of the employees in administrative areas regularly attend a mandatory web-based training about integrity. Because managers serve as role models, they perform an especially important task with regard to integrity, compliance, and legal matters. In order to support them as much as possible in their role, the training program also includes a special mandatory management module.
How we assess the effectiveness of our management approach
Our company’s success largely depends on a permanent and reliable commitment to integrity. We are therefore consistently working on our understanding of integrity and refining it further. Moreover, we continually review our own actions. Employee surveys such as the “Big Picture Integrity” and the “Integrity and Compliance Pulse Check” play a key role in this regard. The feedback we receive from our employees serves as a yardstick as well as a compass. We find out where we stand with regard to our commitment to integrity, and the findings enable us to develop and implement specific measures. In addition, since 2012 our integrity management has been extensively supported by the external Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility and further developed on the basis of its ideas. During the reporting year, a workshop was once again held with external stakeholders at the “Daimler Sustainability Dialogue” in order to address selected aspects of our Integrity Management.