Sustainability as a driver of change
The Mercedes-Benz Group aims to create value that is sustainable – economically, ecologically and socially: This is one of the core principles of the Group. It applies not only to the Group’s own products and manufacturing locations, but also to the entire upstream and downstream value chain. It has translated this approach in its sustainable business strategy, with which it firmly embeds sustainability considerations in the daily business activities. In this way, the Mercedes-Benz Group intends, among other things, to fulfil the demands and expectations of its stakeholders — i.e. customers, employees, investors, business partners, non-governmental organizations and society as a whole.
One of the most important transformation goals at the Mercedes-Benz Group is decarbonization, which the Group has made a firm component of its sustainable business strategy. At Mercedes-Benz Group, this goal is reflected in “Ambition 2039” and the “Electric Only” approach. By the end of this decade, Mercedes-Benz intends to be all-electric wherever market conditions allow.
The Mercedes-Benz Group at a glance
The Mercedes-Benz Group AG is the parent company of the Mercedes-Benz Group and has its registered office in Stuttgart. With effect from 1 February 2022, Daimler AG changed its name to Mercedes-Benz Group AG. As well as Mercedes-Benz Group AG, the Mercedes-Benz Group is made up of all subsidiary companies over which the Mercedes-Benz Group AG can exert a direct or indirect controlling influence. The Mercedes-Benz Group AG determines the strategy of the Group, is its controlling body and, as the Group parent company, is responsible for legal, regulatory and compliance functions worldwide.
The Mercedes-Benz Group markets and sells vehicles and services in almost all countries of the world and has some 30 production sites in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Africa.
The brand portfolio of Mercedes-Benz Cars includes, along with the Mercedes-Benz brand, the brands Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes-EQ. The Mercedes me brand offers access to the digital services of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Mercedes-Benz Vans is a full-service provider in the van sector. The Mercedes-Benz Mobility business division supports sales of the Mercedes-Benz Group’s automotive brands around the world through tailored mobility and financial services. Mercedes-Benz Mobility is also active in the field of innovative mobility services.
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Research and development expenditure Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans
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Areas of action and the foundations of sustainability
The Mercedes-Benz Group acts in line with the sustainable business strategy adopted by the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG in 2019 with the agreement of the Supervisory Board. Sustainability topics are thus an integral part of the business strategy.
The Mercedes-Benz Group has set itself ambitious goals and defined six strategic areas of action for reaching these goals. The strategic goals are based on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — especially SDGs 8 and 9 and 11 to 13 — among other factors. In addition, they take into account recognized international frameworks, the requirements of the external and internal stakeholders and global trends. Group-wide areas of action and areas of responsibility, as well as business-specific targets, processes and measures are derived from this analysis. The Mercedes-Benz Group undertakes periodic materiality analyses. It uses these as the basis for a discussion of the current fields of action and an assessment of the need for updates.
The Mercedes-Benz Group has also formulated strategic ambitions for each of the six areas of action:
- Climate protection and air quality: Plans call for the Mercedes-Benz new vehicle fleet to be CO2-neutral on the balance sheet across the entire value chain by 2039 and to no longer have any relevant impact on NO2 levels in urban areas by 2025.
- Resource conservation: The Mercedes-Benz Group wants to decouple resource consumption from business volume growth.
- Sustainable urban mobility: The Mercedes-Benz Group wants to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in cities through its leading mobility and transport solutions.
- Traffic safety: The Mercedes-Benz Group is working to make its vision of accident-free driving a reality as it develops automated driving systems while also taking social and ethical issues into account.
- Data responsibility: The future of the Mercedes-Benz Group consists of sustainable, data-based business models. With these business models, it focuses on the needs of its customers and the responsible handling of data.
- Human rights: The Mercedes-Benz Group has assumed responsibility for respecting and upholding human rights along its automotive value chain.
The Mercedes-Benz Group has defined three enablers, or principles, that are crucial for achieving success in the six areas of action: integrity, people and partnerships.
- Integrity: In order to firmly anchor integrity in all areas, the Mercedes-Benz Group considers two crucial aspects: first of all, by establishing adequate structures with appropriate policies and processes, the organisation is able to provide the foundation for all parties to act with integrity. Secondly, the Group focuses on putting each employee individually in a position to understand the concept of integrity and thereby to act ethically and sustainably.
- People: As an attractive employer, the Mercedes-Benz Group promotes the diversity of its workforce and provides the necessary skills to master the challenges of digitalisation.
- Partnerships: The Mercedes-Benz Group enters into partnerships with social and political players in order to achieve the goals of the sustainable business strategy against the backdrop of the ecological and social challenges of these times. The Group’s principles for political dialogue and advocacy provide the basis for responsible and reliable action within these partnerships.
Six fields of action and three enablers
Areas of action
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, the United Nations defined a blueprint for worldwide sustainable development. This includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through their innovation and investment power, businesses play a decisive role in achieving these goals – which the Mercedes-Benz Group actively embraces.
In order to assess its corporate performance with regard to the 17 SDGs, the Mercedes-Benz Group conducted an SDG analysis together with the analytical experts of TruCost in 2020. This involved examining the positive and potentially negative impacts of its business activities on the SDGs.
In addition, the Mercedes-Benz Group identified those UN Sustainability Goals that entail the greatest opportunities and risks for itself.
The Mercedes-Benz Group uses the results to make an even greater contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals through its correspondingly aligned business activities. To this end, the Mercedes-Benz Group is focusing on the areas in which it can create the greatest value. One example of this is the “Electric only” approach.
The following SDGs are the focus of the work of the Mercedes-Benz Group:
SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth: The Group develops and implements a risk-based management approach to respect and protect human rights in its own business units as well as in the supply chain – through this, the Mercedes-Benz Group supports the implementation of humane working conditions. Through its production and large procurement volume, the Mercedes-Benz Group also creates employment all over the world.
SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Digitalisation and electrification – with these, the Mercedes-Benz Group is shaping the sustainable mobility of the future and contributing to greater safety and climate protection, for example. It is also able to demonstrate the potential of digital innovations for society.
SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities: The Mercedes-Benz Group is making a contribution to sustainable mobility in densely populated urban areas with its vehicles, data-based solutions for greater traffic safety or improvement of traffic flow, as well as multimodal connectivity of mobility packages.
SDG 12 – Sustainable Consumption and Production: The Mercedes-Benz Group is working to increase the efficiency of its vehicles and significantly reduce its use of raw materials. One of the tasks here is to reinforce the closed material loops for the primary raw materials which are needed for electric vehicles. In this way, the Mercedes-Benz Group is setting the course for sustainable production.
SDG 13 – Climate Protection Measures: Through its sustainable business strategy and the associated measures and targets for reducing emissions from its own vehicles, plants and supply chains, the Mercedes-Benz Group aims to reduce its environmental impact on the climate.