Social commitment

Corporate citizenship

Strategy and concepts

Donations and sponsorships

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An important 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 controls these activities. The Daimler and Benz Foundation, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Mercedes-Benz Foundation are responsible for additional socially beneficial projects, which they manage autonomously.

Throughout the Group, we select donation recipients and sponsorship projects in line with the criteria and standards of our donation and sponsorship policy. This policy was last updated in May 2021. It stipulates that all of the Mercedes-Benz Group’s donations and sponsorships have to comply with the applicable national and international laws, meet ethical standards and correspond to the Group’s values. The contract award process is designed to be transparent for both performance in kind or in cash. We observe our corporate policies and 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 centralised database. Moreover, we regularly inform our employees about the applicable policies and alert them to possible risks connected with donations and sponsorships.

Our approach

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In accordance with our sustainable business strategy, within the framework of our social commitment we primarily promote projects and activities related to our core business. We also encourage our employees to become involved in socially beneficial projects, and to help improve the social environment in the communities where we operate and initiate aid projects worldwide. In spite of the covid-19 pandemic, our employees acted on their social commitment while adhering to the applicable safety and hygiene regulations.

Our corporate citizenship activities are based on three pillars: “With our employees”, “For our facilities” and “All over the world”.

Measures

With our employees

The ProCent initiative is one example of our employees’ commitment to the common good. In this initiative, our employees can donate the cent amounts of their monthly pay cheques. We, then match these amounts and put them into a fund for the support of socially beneficial projects. In 2021, ProCent already celebrated its tenth anniversary. We have supported around 1,600 projects since the initiative was launched. Donations worth more than €11 million have been authorised by the initiative to date. Our employees recommend socially beneficial projects, that should receive money from this fund.

ProCent Focal points of support1,2

ProCent promotion highlights (Graphic)

1 These data encompass Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Mercedes-Benz AG and Daimler Truck AG.

2 These data have been adjusted due to the spin-off and hive-down of the Daimler commercial vehicle business as an independent company, nonetheless, they still contain minor uncertainties as adjustments for combined locations and units can first be made in financial year 2022.

In 2021, the regional projects receiving support included the Association for Social Psychiatry in Reutlingen, assisting them during the relocation process and the construction of a new nursery, which offers people with mental illness a valuable employment offer and contributes to the development of career prospects. On an international level, the ProCent donations were used, for example, within the association Hosanna Institut du Sahel Deutschland e.V. to purchase storage accumulators ensuring power supply of a maternity hospital in Niger.

We also encourage our employees to actively participate in socially beneficial projects themselves through our Social Days and the Day of Caring. For example, employees from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Mercedes-Benz Mobility Korea joined up with local brand partners and dealers in autumn 2021, to collect garbage from the streets, sidewalks and bushes in the vicinity of their offices and had it disposed of professionally.

In another example, employees from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Canada acted as green ambassadors in the Green Micro Challenge. They organised virtual workshops and gave their colleagues tips they could apply in their daily lives to reduce their CO2 footprint, avoid plastic waste and conserve water and electricity.

For more than ten years, we have staged the Give a Smile campaign, in which employees fulfil the Christmas wishes of children and teenagers from socially disadvantaged families. We continued the action in 2021 while maintaining the covid-19 safety and hygiene measures. Our employees at more than 30 locations in Germany have packed packages or donated money. The gift packages and the financial contributions went to aid organisations in the direct neighbourhood of the company locations. We brought large smiles to the faces of numerous children and teenagers by fulfilling their Christmas wishes.

For our facilities

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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, an important focus of our local activities since 2019 has been on corresponding assistance measures. For example, Mercedes-Benz India delivered many cash and non-cash donations to local aid organisations and healthcare facilities. With the help of these donations, hospitals severely affected by the pandemic in cities such as Pune were able to mitigate the acute shortages of ventilators. In Germany, one of the organisations we supported was the Bürgerstiftung community foundation in Stuttgart, which organised a “well come back” campaign for the children returning to school after the summer holidays. Together we organised activities to express appreciation and respect to the children for their perseverance during the pandemic and to reinforce the social bonds between them. Among other things, we facilitated group outings to climbing parks, theatre workshops, hikes and sports competitions.

After violent protests in South Africa in mid-2021, Mercedes-Benz South Africa Ltd., Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Daimler Trucks and Buses joined together to bring assistance to people in distress. With a donation of 1.5 million rand (more than 87,000 Euro) they financed food aid in the South African provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. In addition, their employees helped to directly distribute food packages to 3,000 vulnerable families.

Getting children enthusiastic about natural sciences and technology

The Germany-wide STEM educational initiative Genius — The young knowledge community from Mercedes-Benz was founded ten years ago. Genius conducts workshops to get children and young people enthusiastic about technology at an early age. Corporate topics such as driving simulators and testing grounds are adapted for specific target groups.

Among other things, the initiative sends “junior reporters” into our operations. In 2021, the young reporters covered the topic of sustainable mobility in several articles. They gathered impressions on site, interviewed experts and looked behind the scenes.

Genius also provides teachers with practical digital instruction materials and organises further education measures for teachers in Germany. These courses address topics related to the future of mobility. Employees serve as Genius ambassadors in these courses and in technology workshops at our locations.

German Arts Sponsorship Award received

In May 2021, we were honoured with the Arts Sponsorship Award for our many years of support for the “BachBewegt!” project by the Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy and the business newspaper Handelsblatt. The award recognises innovative projects financed by companies’ promotion of culture. BachBewegt! is a long-term music appreciation project of the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart that we have been supporting since 2015. Its purpose is to bring music to children and teenagers in the Stuttgart region.

Emergency aid for flood victims

After the catastrophic floods in Germany in July 2021, we donated €1 million to the German Red Cross and Stiftung Technisches Hilfswerk (Federal Agency for Technical Relief Foundation). In addition, our national subsidiaries in Belgium and the Netherlands supported local aid organisations. The funds were spent locally in the flooded areas in order to provide people with basic necessities and help to rebuild the devastated areas. We also gave time off from work to employees in the crisis areas who were directly affected themselves or who worked with the Federal Agency for Technical Relief or voluntary fire brigades. The company also provided Mercedes-Benz special-purpose all-terrain vehicles.

Around the world

Our social commitment does not end at national borders, because we initiate aid projects worldwide and help people lead their lives autonomously, independently and without financial hardship. In this way, we want to do our part to improve the prospects of future generations.

For example, during the reporting year Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Turkey launched the ONE CUSTOMER, ONE TREE initiative as a reaction to the devastating forest fires in Turkey. Between January and August 2021 an area of more than 177,000 hectares, including wide swathes of forest, was destroyed. As part of the initiative, for each new customer in 2021 the company donated a tree seedling to the TEMA Foundation for the protection of natural habitats. By the end of the year, a total of 700 trees had been planted. We thus made a small contribution to restoring the country’s forests and advancing climate protection.

We are also taking on responsibility for preventing child labour all over the world. For example, we have cooperated with the Bon Pasteur organisation since 2019 and are supporting its activities in Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this mining region, the main metal extracted is cobalt, an important component of the lithium-ion battery cells we install in our electric cars. There is an increased risk of human rights violations and child labour in the mines and in the entire local processing chain. The goal of the project is to create viable alternatives to working in the mines and ensure secure livelihoods. The project also protects and promotes the basic human rights of the residents of the communities within the cobalt mining region. In the reporting year the focus was on creating alternative livelihoods and new sources of income — for example, through the development of sustainable agriculture. Among other things, we provided the materials and organised personnel for the establishment of a fish farm. We also invested in educational and healthcare services for children, as we had done in previous years. To this end, we created a network of social workers, teachers, psychologists and caregivers who take care of the children in Kolwezi and support them with age-appropriate programmes.

In 2020, we also entered into a partnership with the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Terre des Hommes Netherlands in a campaign to prevent child labour in the mica mining region 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. It is one of the poorest regions in the country. The literacy rate and the number of children who go to school are much lower here than the national average. Child labour is still very common in this region.

To combat this situation, Mercedes-Benz and Terre des Hommes Netherlands are working together with the regional aid organisation Jago Foundation. 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 areas such as agriculture. In addition, we are enabling children to attend school and improving their learning conditions by giving them access to libraries, for example. We are also strengthening local institutions and working together with media in order to make child labour a political issue. In addition, a special focus of the project in 2021 was on the effects of the covid-19 pandemic. The project teams distributed sanitation supplies to families and provided children with access to digital learning programmes.

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 fulfil an important function in stabilising 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 or have been destroyed. As a result, we are supporting the SAIME (Sustainable Aquaculture in Mangrove Ecosystems) project of the Global Nature Fund for the protection and restoration of mangrove forests in southern Asia (India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives).

This project aims to restore the forests and thus contribute to climate protection as well as creating alternative sources of income for the local population, e.g. ecotourism and the shrimp trade. In the course of the project several approaches to solutions were developed, such as integrated mangrove aquaculture. In this type of aquaculture, mangrove trees are directly planted in the shrimp ponds in order to take advantage of various positive synergy effects. The trees stabilise the dykes, protect the ponds from flooding and offer shade. The falling leaves also provide feed for the shrimp. The trees enhance the biodiversity of the shrimp farm. The supporters of SAIME have already raised more than 100,000 mangrove seedlings in five tree nurseries and planted them in the approximately 50 pilot farms. The pilot farms, which in turn are used for training sessions and as a source of inspiration for the smallholders of the surrounding region so that this method can become more widespread.

Contemporary art from Europe

“Diversity United – Einheit durch Vielfalt” was the slogan of the opening of an exhibition of contemporary European art on the grounds of Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport in the summer of 2021. The project, which was organised by the Foundation for Art and Culture in Bonn, presented works by approximately 90 artists from 34 European countries until the closing of the exhibition in October 2021. The themes featured in the artworks included the European dialogue and the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic. We supported the project through our sponsorship and by organising various activities in the exhibition area, including a talk about the role of contemporary art by the foundation’s chairman, Professor Walter Smerling.

Making children more aware of traffic safety

We promote greater safety for children in road traffic through our international MobileKids initiative. The project is directed not only at children but also at adults as well as schools and other educational institutions. By providing a comprehensive range of information and instruction materials, we’re helping to teach children how to move around safely in road traffic. This traffic safety initiative celebrated its twentieth anniversary during the reporting year.

Worldwide foundation activities

Our foundations support projects all over the world in the areas of science, research, technology, education, instruction and sports.

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation: Supporting children and teenagers

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 this effort we are relying on the power of sports to bring people together and motivate them. That’s because sports mobilise people and strongly promote a sense of community. Differences in religion, skin colour, gender and place of origin lose all significance.

Laureus has been able to help more than six million children and teenagers since it was established in 2000. There are now over 250 Laureus projects under way in more than 40 countries. One of them is the Boxgirls Kenya project, which was a finalist in the competition for the Laureus Sport for Good Award 2021. Through boxing the project aims to reinforce the girls’ self-awareness and their self-confidence.

Strengthening science

The Daimler and Benz Foundation supports multidisciplinary scientific dialogue and interdisciplinary research projects. The foundation’s scholarship programme supports outstanding young scientists from all disciplines. During the reporting period, 24 postdocs and assistant professors with management experience, were supported and also 12 new scholarships have been awarded. 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.

Mercedes-Benz Foundation: Promoting scientific research

It is important to us promoting scientific research regardless of economic interests. To this end, we established the Mercedes-Benz Foundation (formerly Daimler Foundation) as an unincorporated foundation within the Donors’ Association, a joint initiative of companies and foundations that provides comprehensive advice, networking and support in the areas of education, science and innovation. The Mercedes-Benz Foundation focusses 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 to establish 27 endowed professorships and assistant professorships in Germany and abroad.

Areas of knowledge that are receiving support

Funded scientific fields (Graphic)

Effectiveness and results

The effectiveness of our management approach

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We evaluate the effectiveness of our social commitment in a variety of ways. Among other things, we monitor the projects and regularly hold dialogues with our partners and the people who are receiving support. 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 on site to check and assess the project results and the effectiveness of the support measures.

Results

We evaluate our commitment by looking at the reactions on public and in-house platforms. We use suitable data analysis tools for this purpose.

During the reporting year, we spent around €50 million1,2 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 initiated ourselves. The money for the donations and sponsorships is distributed as follows among the areas:

  • Social issues and community: 74 per cent
  • Education: 14 per cent
  • Science, technology, environment: 10 per cent
  • Art and culture: 2 per cent
  • Political dialogue: 0 per cent

Donations and sponsorships

Donations and sponsorship (Graphic)

We supported a total of about 1,740 projects worldwide.

1 These data encompass Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Mercedes-Benz AG and Daimler Truck AG.

2 These data have been adjusted due to the spin-off and hive-down of the Daimler commercial vehicle business as an independent company in December 2021, nonetheless, they still contain minor uncertainties as adjustments for combined locations and units can first be made in financial year 2022.

Effective social commitment

Commitment with impact (Graphic)

Provider/Privacy

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