Resource conservation

Resource-efficient vehicles

Strategy and concepts

Decoupling resource consumption from growth

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The global economy is growing, and the demand for mobility is increasing. These trends are accompanied by intensified resource consumption that can be detrimental to the environment and society. For example, in many cases the extraction and further processing of primary raw materials is energy-intensive and leads to the emission of pollutants into water, soil and air. No less important is the fact that the use of natural resources also harbours social risks. A fair distribution of raw materials, secure access to clean drinking water, and preventing the violation of human rights in the course of raw material extraction are only a few of the problematic issues.

Today the vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz Group mainly consist of materials such as steel, iron, aluminium and plastic. These materials are expected to be still available in sufficient amounts in the future. However, natural resources are required for their production. We want to keep this consumption of natural resources as low as possible. Our scrap aluminium, for example, is recycled and reused among others in our vehicles via the material cycle. We are also continuing to work on creating completely closed cycles in this area. This will not only conserve valuable resources but also reduce CO2 emissions, because large amounts of energy are needed for aluminium smelting.

Battery-electric drive systems are a key stage on the way to achieving CO2 neutrality. The expansion of electric mobility is causing changes in the requirements for specific raw materials. Examples include cobalt and lithium as well as nickel, graphite, manganese and copper in varied amounts. We evaluate these raw materials in comprehensive raw material assessments in order to counteract potential risks for the environment and human rights. In addition, we have a long-term supply strategy for all of the raw materials that we procure directly or indirectly. In the case of critical raw materials, the strategy focusses on in-depth research into substitution technologies and on ensuring raw materials are responsibly procured.

Moreover, we have invested in resource-efficient technologies and production processes for batteries for several years, and we are working on further decreasing the use of critical materials. For example, cobalt accounts for less than 10 per cent of the cathodes of the battery cells in the EQS. This is a much lower amount than in the previous battery generation. Our objective is to dispense with materials such as cobalt altogether by using post-lithium-ion technologies with new material compositions. Our holistic battery strategy also aims to further optimise recyclability and implement the related measures.

As a result, the Mercedes-Benz Group’s vision is to transform its entire value chain into as closed a cycle as possible. One of the ways to do this is to return our production waste and end-of-life materials to the material cycle. The same applies to the batteries from electric vehicles, which still contain a great deal of valuable materials. The recycling and reuse of these and many other raw materials is the focus of our current strategic activities and will remain so in the future. It’s equally important and necessary to integrate our suppliers even more closely into our processes — for example, through dialogues and clearly defined targets. We are also actively engaged in various initiatives that, among other things, have set themselves the goal of reducing the resource consumption of important raw-material industries.

Resource use

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At the Mercedes-Benz Group, the units that are mainly responsible for resource conservation are vehicle concepts, vehicle development, procurement, production planning and production. We make decisions concerning these areas in the specialist committees responsible for the respective model series. These committees consist of the respective subsection representatives and expert groups such as those dealing with specific groups of materials.

Decoupling

Decoupling (Graphic)

Corporate management is always involved in fundamental decision-making regarding design concepts, manufacturing technologies and the utilisation of materials. When making such decisions, the management takes multiple factors into account. These include costs, resource-efficient technologies, the use of alternative materials such as secondary materials and renewable raw materials and the potential for industrialisation. During this process, the company’s management examines to what extent the results of development can be transferred to large-scale industrial production, for example with regard to the use of raw materials.

Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans consumes around 4.5 million tons of raw materials each year to manufacture its products. Some of these substances can be categorised as scarce or critical. We focus especially on the continuous reduction of the amount of these raw materials that is needed per vehicle. To this end, we are already using the “Design for Environment” approach during the vehicle development stage. This means that we design our vehicles to be as resource-conserving and environmentally friendly as possible over their entire life cycle. The cornerstones of this approach are life cycle assessments, lightweight engineering, the use of and recycling.

Materials — use of metals & non-metals

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Materials — use of metals & non-metals (Graphic)

Making life cycle assessments

Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans makes life cycle assessments to determine the environmental compatibility of its vehicles. We systematically examine a vehicle’s environmental effects throughout its entire life cycle — from the extraction of raw materials and vehicle production to product use and recycling. In order to evaluate its resource efficiency, we take a number of additional factors into account, such as the medium-term and long-term availability of raw materials, acceptance by the public and the vehicle’s various social and environmental effects and risks. We also use life cycle assessments in our development work, to evaluate and compare different vehicles, components and technologies.

Material composition EQS 450+1

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Material composition EQS (Graphic)

1 WLTP: EQS 450+ combined electrical consumption 19.8-15.7 kWh/100 km, CO2 emissions 0 g/km; Electricity consumption was determined on the basis of Regulation 2017/1151/EC.

Identifying critical raw materials

Several types of raw materials that are needed for the production of electric vehicles are associated with certain risks. In order to better assess how critical the use of a raw material is or can become, Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans teamed up with partners from industry and science in 2015 to conduct the ESSENZ research project. The result has been a holistic approach that our engineers are already following in the early phases of vehicle development. The use of the ESSENZ method is based on the life cycle assessment methodology, which makes it possible to systematically analyse the environmental effects of a vehicle along its entire life cycle. The ESSENZ approach not only examines the geological availability of a raw material but also takes socioeconomic factors and social and societal risks into account.

Resource conservation along the supply chain

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The supply chain plays an important role in our efforts to conserve resources. Mercedes-Benz Group AG wants to decouple resource consumption from economic growth. To achieve this goal, it is relying on the support of its suppliers. With their help, we want to continuously increase the proportion of secondary and renewable materials in our vehicles.

We also expect our suppliers of production materials to operate with an environmental management system that is certified according to ISO 14001 or EMAS. Depending on the specific risks, this also applies to suppliers of non-production materials, such as painting services. If 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. If this is not done, the supplier may be excluded from receiving new orders. We also request that our suppliers adhere to the Supplier Sustainability Standards and the associated environmental aspects.

In view of this, Mercedes-Benz AG carried out a risk analysis in 2018 that identified steel, aluminium and plastics as especially important materials. We need large volumes of these materials for the production of our vehicles, and their extraction and processing also consume large amounts of energy and resources. In 2020, Mercedes-Benz AG defined secondary material targets for these resources for Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans and incorporated these targets in all contract award requirements.

Measures

Battery development

Batteries are a key component of electric mobility. At the Mercedes-Benz Group, experts from a variety of disciplines deal with all aspects of this storage technology, ranging from fundamental research to production maturity.

We have invested in resource-efficient technologies and production processes for batteries for several years. Moreover, we are continuously working to optimise the current lithium-ion battery. Here we are pursuing two goals: we want to steadily reduce the use of critical materials such as cobalt in our batteries, and we also want to only procure battery cells containing cobalt and lithium from audited mines. For example, our suppliers will procure raw materials for battery components exclusively from mines that have been audited in accordance with the Standard for Responsible Mining of the .

We are working hard to develop low-cobalt or cobalt-free technologies that conserve our resources. The production of the batteries also plays an important role in the holistic assessment of the value chain. As a result, Mercedes-Benz Group AG has signed agreements with two strategic battery cell suppliers, stipulating that it would only procure CO2 neutral battery cells from 2021. Our holistic battery strategy also aims to further optimise recyclability and implement the related measures.

New technologies enable us to consistently reduce the consumption of raw materials while maintaining long ranges. This is impressively demonstrated by our VISION EQXX technology vehicle. Moreover, the Mercedes-Benz Group is conducting research on next-generation alternative battery systems with the aim of shortening development cycles, improving the energy density of our batteries and reducing charging times.

The Mercedes-Benz Group is systematically expanding its research and development activities so that new technologies can be used in series production as early as possible. For example, we are steadily increasing our expertise regarding the technological evaluation of materials and battery cells.

However, we also rely on strong partnerships and cooperative ventures. For example, we are cooperating with the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) to drive forward the development of current and future battery technologies, which will be used in many Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the years ahead. In cooperation with Sila Nano, we are working on increasing the energy density of lithium-ion batteries. We want to achieve this goal by increasing the proportion of silicon in the anode. In November 2021, we also formed a partnership with Factorial for the development of solid-state battery technology. In this partnership, the two companies want to jointly develop cutting-edge battery technologies that range from the cell and the modules all the way to the integration in the vehicle battery. The first prototype cells are to be tested in 2022.

Moreover, the introduction of a modular battery architecture in the EQS already enables our customers to adjust the energy content and thus the range to their needs. We will continue this strategy for the upcoming compact and mid-range automobile platform.

Recycled and renewable raw materials

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The closing of material cycles and the use of renewable raw materials are key measures for the responsible utilisation of resources. In order to achieve these goals, the Mercedes-Benz Group uses resource-efficient technologies and production processes. We are also increasingly using secondary materials and renewable resources in our vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz has set itself the target of increasing the share of secondary raw materials in its car fleet to an average of 40 per cent by 2030. Since 2005, Mercedes-Benz has also ensured transparency concerning which products secondary raw materials are used in. We use environmental certificates (360° Environmental Check) that are open to public view for this purpose. Among other things, these certificates show which components are partly made of resource-conserving materials.

Use of recyclates

Mercedes-Benz uses many components made of recycled materials in its products, depending on the specific vehicle variant and the technical requirements.

One example of this is the all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQC (EQC 400 4MATIC: NEDC: Combined electrical consumption: 21.9–19.4 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km)1. Customers can order this vehicle with seat cover textiles made of 100 per cent recycled PET bottles. A total of 43 major components that are mostly made of plastic, such as wheel arch linings and underbody panelling, have been replaced with recycled materials. This also applies to a multitude of small parts such as pushbuttons, plastic nuts and cable fasteners. Altogether, we manufacture components with a total weight of 36.9 kilograms partly from recycled materials.

The EQS contains over 80 kilograms of components made of resource-conserving materials. In May 2021, the Hamburg plant began series production of an injection-moulded load compartment cavity for the EQS. It marked the first time that this component was manufactured from such materials for the EQS. An innovative hybrid injection-moulding process (SpriForm) is used to make the component, 60 per cent of which consists of recyclates. Moreover, polypropylene plastic (PP) can be easily recycled, which conserves resources. In the new E-Class, 80 per cent of the bottom of the load compartment cavity is to be made of recyclates.

In May 2021, we switched the floor coverings of the EQS to , a new recycling yarn. It consists of regenerated nylon and is made from waste nylon, such as old fishing nets, fabric remnants from mills, and carpets. It has the same properties as nylon made of new raw materials. By using regenerated nylon, we are reducing CO2 emissions and also closing material cycles.

In order to further promote the creation of a circular economy, we also teamed up with UBQ Materials in 2020. This Israeli startup turns previously non-recyclable household waste into a filler for plastics. This substitute material for plastic is completely recycled and recyclable. It will soon be used for the series production of various plastic components such as cable ducts.

In May 2021, UBQ Materials and Mercedes-Benz AG received the Sustainability Award in Automotive 2021 in the “Best Startup” category. The two companies received the award for their joint work on the development of sustainable car parts. The Sustainability Award in Automotive honours companies whose products, processes and initiatives have a positive and holistic influence on the sustainability of the automotive industry and make a major contribution to at least one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The use of recycled materials is also receiving increased political support. For example, the European Commission has supplemented the European End-of-Life Vehicles Directive 2000/53/EC with the European plastics strategy, which requires more recycled materials to be used in vehicle production. Ever since 2000, our specifications for new Mercedes-Benz cars have required a minimum proportion of components containing recycled materials. This proportion varies depending on the vehicle’s model and series.

In order to further promote the use of recycled materials, the Mercedes-Benz Group is encouraging its experts to share information with one another and with suppliers of automobile components and recyclates. Before contracts are awarded and during the joint design of components, suppliers of the Mercedes-Benz Group have to present newly developed recycled materials and determine whether it is possible to switch components to the use of recyclates. Technical issues can be directly discussed.

Use of renewable raw materials

The Mercedes-Benz Group can also reap many benefits from the use of renewable raw materials. By using them we can reduce the weight of components. Moreover, their CO2 balance is almost neutral when their energy is recovered, because only as much CO2 is released as was absorbed by the plant during its growth. Last but not least, renewable raw materials help to reduce the consumption of fossil resources. We utilise a broad range of renewable raw materials such as hemp, kenaf, wool, paper and natural rubber.

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class shows how many components can be partially manufactured from renewable raw materials. For the interior we developed a microsandwich material that is reinforced with natural fibres in many components. It is used in the map pockets in the door trims, in the tensioning part of seat backrests and for the rear shelf. This material weighs 40 per cent less than a comparable conventional component. The lower weight leads to a decreased need for primary energy along the vehicle’s path from production to use and finally to the end-of-life phase. Moreover, the material, which is made of natural fibres, is very break-resistant and thus contributes to vehicle safety.

Another example is the SUSTAINEER, which is based on the eSprinter. This technology platform has underbody panelling made of recycled polypropylene, scrap tyres and the filler UBQ, which, in turn, is manufactured from recycled household waste. These panels are recyclable and biodegradable. In addition, they contain no formaldehyde and can be coated to make them waterproof. All of the wood elements are FSC®-certified. This means that the wood comes from sustainably managed forests.

Lightweight engineering

Intelligent lightweight construction can reduce the weight of a vehicle without compromising our high standards of safety and comfort. This means that we need to select the right materials. Component design and manufacturing technology also play an important role. At 35 per cent, the bodyshell accounts for the biggest share of the total weight of a car with a conventional drive system. This is followed by the suspension at 25 per cent, the comfort and safety equipment at 20 per cent and the engine and transmission at 20 per cent. Thus the most effective approach is to focus on the vehicle’s bodyshell.

Aluminium is especially ideal for lightweight construction because it is light, stable and has other positive properties. For the bodyshell, the Mercedes-Benz Group is increasingly using aluminium alloys for exposed automotive panelling (bonnet, wing, roof, boot lid) and reinforcement components (inner part of the bonnet, roof reinforcements).

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers a look at what can already be achieved with a holistic lightweight construction concept. It makes the vehicle up to 65 kilogram lighter than the predecessor model. The bodyshell is produced by means of an aluminium-steel hybrid construction process. Mercedes-Benz has significantly increased the percentage of aluminium in this process compared to that of the predecessor model; all of the components except for the main floor now consist of aluminium. By comparison with the predecessor model series, the bodyshell of the new S-Class is 30 kilograms lighter. The brand has also paid particular attention to the topic of . As a result, weight-optimised and aerodynamic aluminium rims that can further reduce fuel consumption are now available for the S-Class.

Production materials: Cooperation with the suppliers

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Mercedes-Benz AG is continuously cooperating with its suppliers to develop materials and alloys that contain as high a proportion of secondary materials as possible in order to reduce the use of primary materials. We are also involved in a dialogue with them in order to prevent other sustainability-related risks. For example, we explicitly oppose all forms of illegal deforestation.

Aluminium

Aluminium is not only lightweight but can also be recycled many times without a loss of quality. Moreover, its recycling process requires only about five per cent of the energy that would be needed to produce new aluminium. That’s why Mercedes-Benz AG is making increased use of this light metal and is working together with its suppliers to create aluminium alloys that contain a proportion of scrap. For example, we developed aluminium alloys that contain recycled scrap aluminium from sources such as end-of-life vehicles, façade panels or packaging — known as end-of-life scrap. At the same time, they also meet the high standards for properties such as crash resistance, durability and corrosion resistance that Mercedes-Benz AG requires for alloys used in structural die-cast components. The body of the upcoming Mercedes AMG-SL contains selected cast components made of such a secondary aluminium alloy. This reduces the CO2 emissions from aluminium production by more than 90 per cent. In addition to the increased use of recycled aluminium, Mercedes-Benz AG also ensures that the primary material is sustainable. For example, suppliers of the European foundries and press shops will only be awarded contracts in future if the primary aluminium used comes from sources certified by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) — i.e. if it has been certified according to the ASI standard from the mine to the rolling mill. Moreover, we are already procuring CO2-reduced material for our foundry in Mettingen.

Steel

Mercedes-Benz AG is working together with its steel suppliers to make the steel supply chain more sustainable. In doing so, we are consciously focussing on the avoidance and reduction of CO2 emissions rather than on offsetting carbon emissions.

In 2021, Mercedes-Benz became the first automaker to participate in the Swedish startup H2 Green Steel (H2GS). As the startup’s preferred partner, we want to launch CO2-free steel in a variety of vehicle models from as early as 2025. This will be another important step in the direction of CO2 neutrality. H2GS produces CO2-free steel by using hydrogen and electricity from exclusively renewable sources. By way of comparison, the conventional blast-furnace process generates on average more than two tons of CO2 for every ton of steel produced.

Since 2020 we have been procuring steel from the US manufacturer Big River Steel. Through the use of recycled scrap steel and renewable energies, this steel reduces the CO2 emissions from steel manufacturing for Mercedes-Benz products by more than 70 per cent compared to the conventional blast-furnace process.

Since 2021 Mercedes-Benz has also been procuring more environmentally friendly flat steel products from Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH. CO2 emissions have been decreased by more than 60 per cent compared to the conventional steel production process. This significant CO2 reduction is achieved through the use of almost 100 per cent scrap metal in an electric steel-melting shop.

In 2021 we also formed a partnership with the Swedish manufacturer SSAB AB for the delivery of CO2-free steel for our products. Together the partners are already laying the groundwork for putting green steel into vehicles as soon as possible. The first prototype body parts made of CO2-free steel are already being planned this year.

Leather

Mercedes-Benz clearly positions itself against all forms of illegal deforestation. We request from our suppliers that the supply chains of the products that we procure from them do not cause any kind of illegal clear-cutting and do not threaten or destroy high conservation value forests. This is also specified in our awarding requirements.

During the reporting year, we entered into a dialogue with all of our leather suppliers in order to identify sustainability-related risks (e.g. illegal deforestation) and where necessary promote the implementation of improvement measures. In addition, all of our leather suppliers have confirmed in writing that their leather comes from cattle that live outside the regions Amazônia, Cerrado, Pantanal, Gran Chaco, Mata Atlântica and Chocó-Darién in South America, where the danger that they graze on illegally cleared forest areas is very high. Only a small percentage of the leather in our supply chains comes directly from Brazil. We are currently examining various measures for addressing risks related to the procurement of leather from Brazil.

We take information about violations of our requirements seriously and investigate them.

The circular economy

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The overarching goal of the is to maintain the value of products, components and materials as long as possible. This basic principle has also been embedded in EU legislation since 2015. The Mercedes-Benz Group too is increasingly depending on measures that promote the circular economy. In doing so, we employ a . The top goal is to avoid waste. In order to reach this goal, we are working to extend the service life of all vehicle components — for example, by using especially long-lasting materials. We are also using resources efficiently and reducing the use of raw materials that are only available in limited amounts. Only then do we move down the hierarchy of waste to measures for reusing various components and parts and for recovering materials by means of recycling.

Reuse — new life for used parts

The Mercedes-Benz Used Parts Center (MB GTC) is an important element of the recycling chain for keeping raw materials within the business cycle. This captive specialist enterprise was founded in 1996 and dismantles more than 5,000 vehicles each year, ranging from end-of-life automobiles to preowned vehicles and vehicles that have been wrecked in an accident. Our experts inspect the used parts, which have to meet the same high quality standards as new components. They are then sold to workshops and end customers so that they can be used for .

Used parts that do not pass the strict quality inspections are not reused as spare parts. If that is the case, we aim to regain important materials such as copper from wires, gold from connector contacts and platinum and rhodium from . In addition to precious metals, many components also contain aluminium and iron scrap, glass (panes) and plastic. Even used tyres can be reused as in road construction.

Remanufacturing — value retention for prolonging life

In remanufacturing, the Mercedes-Benz Group reconditions used vehicle parts in order to subsequently reuse them. In the process, the used Mercedes-Benz genuine parts for cars, vans and trucks are reconditioned in such a way that their functionality, safety and quality correspond to those of a new part. The vehicle parts are only recycled when they can no longer be reused in a vehicle.

Remanufacturing makes it possible to avoid waste, conserve raw materials and reduce energy consumption. A calculation certified by TÜV SÜD shows that remanufacturing a Type NAG2 transmission saves about 215 kilograms of CO2 and 3,074 MJ (854 kWh) of energy compared to a new part.

Re-utilisation of high-voltage batteries

The lithium-ion battery is the centrepiece of the electric vehicle. However, the production of the battery requires a great deal of energy. Besides, lithium-ion batteries contain a number of valuable raw materials such as lithium and cobalt. For this reason, the Mercedes-Benz Group strives to reuse batteries before they are recycled. Reprocessing a used battery consumes much less energy and raw materials than producing a new one. And every reprocessed battery reduces the volume of waste, because it forestalls the production of a new battery to meet the demand for spare parts or other applications.

Defective batteries are reprocessed for reuse in vehicles. Because of our high quality standards, this is the fate of most of the batteries that are sent to our central reprocessing plant in Mannheim. After being reprocessed in line with the requirements of series production, the batteries’ function and quality are closely inspected.

Batteries that are no longer suitable for reuse in a vehicle — for example, because of a reduced capacity — can be reused in a stationary energy storage unit. This is how we improve the life cycle assessment of electric vehicles while also contributing to the establishment of a sustainable energy industry. Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH, based in Kamenz, Germany, is a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz AG and responsible for the development of such innovative energy storage solutions. It uses the automotive battery technology that is employed in the electric and hybrid vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and smart. By creating stationary energy storage units, Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH and its partners from the energy industry are, in a sense, taking batteries out of electric vehicles and connecting them to the grid. The spectrum of Mercedes-Benz Energy’s large-scale storage systems ranges from and black starts (ramping up a power station independently of the grid) to the uninterrupted supply of electricity. The company especially focusses on second-life applications and spare-part storage units. Many energy storage units of this kind, with a total capacity of more than 95 MWh, are already operating in Germany.

The first second-life battery storage system went online in Lünen, Westphalia in October 2016. Battery systems that have yet to be installed in electric vehicles, and have instead remained in stock as spare parts, can also be used as energy storage units. The energy storage units in Hanover and Elverlingsen are examples of this. Moreover, a partnership agreement for the use of stationary energy storage systems for hydroelectric power plants was signed in December 2020 by Mercedes-Benz Energy and ANDRITZ Hydro GmbH, a subsidiary of the international technology group ANDRITZ AG.

In addition to various large-scale projects, Mercedes-Benz Energy has, since 2020, been offering a flexible container storage system, the Mercedes-Benz energy storage unit. The electricity supply of Factory 56 in Sindelfingen demonstrates a use case for this energy storage solution. A pilot plant of this system at Factory 56 was the first innovative direct-current system to be installed at a Mercedes-Benz facility to feed electricity directly into the plant’s direct-current network without any inverters and losses. A stationary energy storage unit consisting of vehicle batteries with a total capacity of 1,400 kWh is connected to the direct-current system. It can also store solar energy and release it on overcast days. The hall is also supplied with electricity purchased from renewable energy sources.

Recycling — keeping the end in mind from the very start

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When developing products, the Mercedes-Benz Group keeps the circular economy in mind from the very start, and it prepares a recycling concept for each new vehicle model. This process includes analysing all the components and materials to find out how suitable they are for the various stages of the recycling process. As a result, all Mercedes-Benz car models are 85 per cent recyclable in accordance with ISO 22628. They also comply with the European End-of-Life Vehicles Directive 2000/53/EC, which specifies that 95 per cent of the materials in cars and vans with a gross vehicle weight of up to 3.5 tons have to be capable of being reused or recovered.

Mercedes-Benz recycles drive batteries

Once it is no longer possible to recondition or reuse a battery, it is recycled in order to recover valuable raw materials. Today we are already able to go far beyond the recycling quotas that are prescribed for drive batteries by the battery law. The battery housings, the cables and the busbars can be recycled without any difficulty. Recycling the battery modules, which contain most of the valuable materials, is somewhat more complicated. The processes already exist, but they still need to be further developed so that the valuable raw materials can be recovered in as pure a state as possible.

Removal of workshop waste with MeRSy

Removal of workshop waste with MeRSy (Graphic)

The basic goal is to increase recycling rates even further. The vision is to use the old batteries of today as a “raw materials mine” for the batteries of tomorrow. In order to reach this goal, Mercedes-Benz is involved in the research and development of new recycling technologies and promotes their establishment on the market. We are cooperating with specialised partner companies to further optimise the recycling process, and we are also participating in sponsorship and research projects.

The number of batteries to be recycled will rise steadily as electric vehicles increasingly penetrate the market. In view of the life cycle of electric vehicles, we expect significant amounts of recyclable material to become available in the 2030s. To enable this potential to be used as effectively as possible, we plan to build a battery recycling factory at our location in Kuppenheim. Our aim is to create and secure recycling capacities and the related expertise. The production launch is scheduled for 2023, depending on the results of our promising talks with the authorities.

Effectiveness and results

The effectiveness of our management approach

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In its management approach to resource conservation, the Mercedes-Benz Group aims to increasingly decouple resource consumption from sales growth. To this end, we have defined the guidelines in our vehicle specifications and introduced the corresponding measures. The goals and guidelines are being observed within the framework of the Mercedes-Benz development system. Mercedes-Benz is currently cooperating with the development unit and with procurement to optimise the related processes and the data quality.

Results

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Waste material created during the maintenance or repair of our vehicles is collected and recycled via MeRSy — Mercedes-Benz Recycling System, our system for the management and disposal of workshop waste (uninstalled vehicle parts, liquids and spare parts packaging). During the reporting year, MeRSy collected a total of 23,700 tons of uninstalled vehicle parts, 2,200 tons of liquids and 4,900 tons of packaging and forwarded them for recycling.

1 Electricity consumption was determined on the basis of Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008.

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Mercedes-Benz AG Mercedesstraße 120
70372 Stuttgart
Germany
Phone: +49 7 11 17-0
E-Mail:
dialog@mercedes-benz.com

Represented by the Board of Management: Ola Källenius (Chairman), Jörg Burzer, Renata Jungo Brüngger, Sabine Kohleisen, Markus Schäfer, Britta Seeger, Hubertus Troska, Harald Wilhelm

Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Bernd Pischetsrieder

Court of Registry: Stuttgart; commercial register no. 762873
VAT ID: DE 32 12 81 763

Recyclate

Recyclates are secondary raw materials that are recovered during the recycling of plastics that were disposed of at least once previously. They are subsequently used to manufacture new products.

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Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA)

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) was created in response to the global demand for socially acceptable and environmentally compatible mining. IRMA provides independent inspections and certifications according to a comprehensive standard for mined raw materials. The standard covers the entire spectrum of risks associated with the effects of industrial mining.

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Tufted velour

In the automotive industry, floor mats are inserted in the footwell of vehicles. These mats are made of either textiles or rubber. Textile floor mats are typically made of polypropylene, polyamide or polyester fibres. They are available as tufted velour, needle felt or non-woven fabric mats. We primarily use tufted velour for our Mercedes-Benz cars. Tufting is a technique for the production of high-quality interior linings for automobiles.

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Unsprung mass

The unsprung mass refers to the components of a vehicle that are affected by direct impacts on the carriageway. These components include the tyres, rims, brakes and wheel bearings.

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Circular economy

The circular economy is an approach in which existing materials and products are used, repaired, reused or recycled for as long as possible in order to extend their life cycle. This minimises waste and the need for primary raw materials. The circular economy is seen as the counter-model to linear economies, in which materials and products are often only used once. In a circular economy, the later recycling of the processed materials is already considered during a product’s design phase.

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Waste hierarchy

A waste hierarchy defines the various approaches for handling waste and prioritises them. The most important measures are those that are especially environmentally compatible. The EU’s Waste Framework Directive defines the following five hierarchy levels:

  1. Prevention
  2. Preparing for reuse
  3. Recycling
  4. Other recovery, especially incineration for the generation of energy and use as a filling material
  5. Disposal

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Fair-value-based repairs

Fair-value-based repairs are a repair solution that accords with a vehicle’s age and thus its current value. Such repairs employ used — and thus cost-efficient — Mercedes-Benz parts.

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Catalytic converter

Catalytic converters are used for exhaust treatment in combustion-engine vehicles. They can greatly reduce pollutant emissions.

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Aggregate

Aggregates are materials that are added to a mixture in order to have a positive effect on their properties. For example, crushed natural or artificial rock is used to make concrete and asphalt.

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Peak loads

Peak loads occur in power grids, for example, when energy demand suddenly increases steeply for a short period of time. In order to meet this demand and ensure that supply is uninterrupted, more electricity has to be fed into the grid at short notice. This can be done by means of battery storage devices, for example, or by pumped-storage electrical power stations.

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