Strategy and concepts
Corporate citizenship commitment
The Mercedes-Benz Group as a company is also part of society and thus also holds social responsibility. The corporate citizenship activities are based on three pillars: "Around the world", "With our employees" and "For our locations".
In the reporting year, the Mercedes-Benz Group further detailed the action fields for its global corporate citizenship commitment: The commitment to environmental sustainability, social cohesion and disaster support is at the centre of this realignment.
In line with its sustainable business strategy, the Mercedes-Benz Group chooses to support projects and activities that are related to its core business as part of its social commitment. In addition, the Group encourages its employees to become involved in environmental and social projects, to help shape the social environment of the locations and to initiate and support aid projects worldwide.
Extensive commitment – from donations to corporate volunteering
The Mercedes-Benz Group’s commitment in the area of corporate citizenship includes donations to charitable institutions, sponsoring of environmental and social projects, the personal commitment of employees (corporate volunteering), self-initiated projects and foundations. The Donations and Sponsorship Committee of the Board of Management manages the Group’s donations and sponsorships. The Daimler and Benz Foundation, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the Mercedes-Benz Foundation are responsible for additional social activities, which they manage autonomously.
Throughout the Group, donation recipients and sponsorship projects are selected in line with the criteria and standards of the Group’s donation and sponsorship policy, which was last updated in May 2021. It stipulates that all donations and sponsorships must comply with applicable national and international law, meet ethical requirements and be in line with the Group’s values. The allocation process is designed to be traceable for both in-kind and cash contributions – for example, all of the Group’s donations and sponsorships worldwide are recorded in a central database.
The Mercedes-Benz Group observes the Group’s corporate policy and follows the principles of the UN Global Compact when implementing donations, sponsorships, corporate volunteering and self-initiated projects. It also regularly informs employees about the applicable policies. It also sensitises employees to possible risks in the area of donations and sponsorships.
Around the world
The social commitment of the Mercedes-Benz Group extends across the entire globe. With its activities, the Group above all wants to improve the prospects of future generations – and sees education in particular as a central key to this.
Fellowship programme for young people
"beVisioneers – The Mercedes-Benz Fellowship” – this is the name under which The DO School Fellowships gGmbH (The DO School) has designed a support programme. It is funded by Mercedes-Benz AG through donations to The DO School and implemented by the organization’s team of experts. Mercedes-Benz AG chose The DO School after a multi-stage selection process and based on the organization’s experience and expertise in designing and implementing global support programmes.
In order to be selected by The DO School for the sponsorship programme, applicants must, among other things, present a project idea that has a measurable, positive influence on the applicant’s environment and local community. The fellows selected for the first cycle of the programme from summer 2023 to 2024 are expected to participate in a twelve-month educational and skills development training course that focuses particularly on leadership, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Furthermore, the mentors are supposed to support the fellows in the implementation of their projects. The fellows should granted access to project financing and to financial grants if needed. The “beVisioneers” fellowship is scheduled to start in June 2023 with a first group of fellows from India, South Africa and a number of European countries. Plans call for the fellowship programme to be expanded to further regions in the subsequent years, with up to 1,000 participants worldwide.
The programme's long-term goal is to build a global community of people whose sustainability projects have a positive impact on the environment.
The programme is being funded by the proceeds from the auction of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé from 1955 during the reporting year. The vehicle was sold for €135 million. Most of the auction proceeds are used to secure the programme’s funding through annual donations to The DO Fellowship gGmbH.
Aid for Ukraine
With the start of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, the Mercedes-Benz Group supported the people in and from Ukraine with a variety of activities. In total, the monetary donations and in-kind donations of the Mercedes-Benz Group to aid Ukraine amounted to more than €6 million.
Mercedes-Benz Group AG supported the “German Red Cross” (DRK) with €1 million to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Mercedes-Benz AG donated €1 million to the “SOS Children’s Villages worldwide”, which perform trauma education work in Ukraine; the same amount is to be donated to the SOS Children’s Villages worldwide again in the course of 2023. In addition, Mercedes-Benz AG donated more than 50 vehicles to the “German Red Cross”, “Caritas” and “SOS Children’s Villages worldwide” in close coordination with the local aid organisations.
Numerous entities of the Group around the world have also donated and shown their solidarity with the people in and from Ukraine. This help ranged from donations of goods and food to support in transporting refugees and supplies.
Strengthening of human rights, prevention of child labour
The Mercedes-Benz Group considers it its duty to go beyond being compliant with the German Supply Chain Sourcing Obligations Act (LkSG) and to make a positive impact in the regions where production materials are sourced. Mercedes-Benz AG, therefore, supports social projects in the supply chain environment. One of its main focuses is on preventing child labour. For this purpose, the Group cooperates with two non-governmental organisations (NGOs): on the one hand with “Bon Pasteur” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the focus of the cooperation is on the cobalt mining region; on the other hand with “Terre des Hommes” in India, where the focus is on the mica mines in Jharkhand.
The aim of both cooperations is to present the people of the local mining communities with alternative income opportunities – for example in (sustainable) agriculture. The main focus of both projects is on creating educational opportunities and improved learning conditions. For this, community members are for example informed about their rights, and especially about children’s rights, in order to uphold the human rights of the local population as a whole. Terre des Homes, furthermore, supports local institutions and cooperates with the media in order to create awareness for child labour on a political level.
Mercedes-Benz AG has extended both projects by three years until 2025.
Making children more aware of traffic safety
The Mercedes-Benz Group is committed to improving children’s safety in road traffic as part of its international initiative “MobileKids”. This project is not only for children, but also for adults as well as schools and other educational institutions. With comprehensive information and learning material, the Group helps to ensure that children can behave safely in road traffic. The associated website was extensively revised in the reporting year: on the one hand, new content was created that is specifically aimed at teachers and parents; on the other hand, there are now numerous informational videos for children on the website.
In India, MobileKids reached around 4,000 children from grades 4 to 6 in 32 schools in Bangalore and Pune in the reporting year. The highlight was the interactive training sessions on the topic of traffic safety, which were conducted by around 350 employees from Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India. To this end, interactive collages on the topic were created, the safety features of the MobileKids bus were presented, a traffic safety pledge was taken and reflective MobileKids school bags were distributed – all done with the goal of making the pupils act responsibly on the road.
Replanting of mangroves to benefit people and the environment
Many mangrove forests have suffered from overuse in recent years or have been destroyed. In response, Mercedes-Benz AG supports the project “Sustainable Aquaculture in Mangrove Ecosystems (SAIME)” of the “Global Nature Fund” for the protection and restoration of mangrove forests in South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives).
The aim of the project is to restore the forests and thus contribute to climate protection, as well as to create alternative income opportunities for the local population. For example by combining shrimp farming with mangrove protection (integrated mangrove aquacultures): as part of this, mangrove trees are planted directly in the shrimp ponds in order to benefit from a variety of 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. In seven tree nurseries, supporters of “SAIME” have already grown more than 335,000 mangrove seedlings. These were planted in 20 pilot farms, used for bank reinforcement and sold to generate income. The pilot farms are also used for training and as a source of inspiration for the small farmers from the surrounding region, so that this method can become more widespread.
Worldwide foundation activities
With the foundations established by the Mercedes-Benz Group, it promotes projects in the fields of science, research, technology, education, training and sport all over the world.
Laureus Sport for Good Foundation: Supporting children and teenagers
For more than 20 years, the Mercedes-Benz Group has been helping children and young people to overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage through the “Laureus Sport for Good” Foundation, encouraging them to take control of their lives, set themselves goals and achieve them. The foundation believes in the power of sport to connect and motivate people. This is because sport mobilises people and strongly promotes a sense of community. Differences in religion, skin colour, gender and place of origin lose all significance.
Since its creation in 2000, Laureus has supported almost six million children and teenagers. There are now over 275 Laureus projects under way in more than 50 countries.
Daimler and Benz Foundation: 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. In the reporting year, eleven new scholarships were awarded, and a total of 37 post-doctoral researchers and junior professors were funded. In various formats, the Foundation examines research topics relevant to the future and contributes to strengthening the visibility and public acceptance of science through lecture series.
Mercedes-Benz Fund: Promoting scientific research
It is important to the Group to promote scientific research regardless of economic interests. That is why the “Mercedes-Benz Fund” (formerly “Daimler Fund”) was established as an unincorporated foundation in the “Stifterverband”, a joint initiative of companies and foundations which provides holistic advice, networking and support in the areas of education, science and innovation. The Mercedes-Benz Foundation focuses on three areas: structural problems in research and teaching, engineering sciences and international and scientific cooperation. Since its creation in 1993, it has helped to establish 27 endowed professorships and assistant professorships in Germany and abroad.
With our employees
Not only the the Mercedes-Benz Group is showing social commitment, but also its employees: they volunteer for many social and environmental projects.
Employees donate part of their monthly salary
One example of employee commitment is the “ProCent” initiative: this allows employees to donate the cent amounts of their monthly salary. The Mercedes-Benz Group doubles these amounts and collects them in a support fund. Employees propose projects that are to receive money from this fund. Since its launch, “ProCent” has supported a total of around 1,800 projects with more than €12.3 million.
These include a training workshop for automobile mechanics in Mbeya (Tanzania): with the funds from “ProCent”, five new machines were purchased including a hydraulic hoist and a battery charger. The new equipment enables training at a high technical level. Due to the explosive growth of vehicle ownership in the region, the training opens up career prospects for the young people.
In addition, the Kirchentellinsfurt-Kusterdingen chapter of the German Red Cross received money from the fund to set up a drone squadron for its rapid response group: the donation enabled the purchase of two modern drones and the professional training of the squadron members.
Employees become active themselves
On the “Social Days” and “Days of Caring”, the employees themselves lend a hand with social and environmental projects.
For example, in April 2022 more than 600 employees of Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC took part in the National Volunteer Week. Among others, they supported the national non-profit organisations “Safe Kids Worldwide” and “Junior Achievement USA” during this period. In total, employees volunteered at 26 events at seven locations:
Together with Safe Kids Worldwide, the Mercedes-Benz Group organised virtual readings and raised awareness about child pool safety and assembled 600 summer safety kits that were distributed to local families. These included water bottles, bicycle bells, a family activity guide and information on swimming safety.
In cooperation with Junior Achievement, eight (virtual) career fairs were held at schools in Georgia, New Jersey, California and Florida. Employees mentored young sixth-graders and gave the young students an insight into their professional world, while also helping them to go through a simulation in which they had to manage a company for a day.
In the reporting year, Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC also launched the new national corporate citizenship programme “Driving Your Future": The aim is to nurture the next generation through educational programmes in technology, sustainability and career preparation. To support this programme, employees volunteered over 9,500 hours at 175 volunteer events. At one of these events, they handed out 760 backpacks with school materials and 300 experimenting kits covering topics from the MINT areas to students in need in the local communities.
In addition, 110 employees of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Ceská republika s.r.o., Mercedes-Benz Credit Pénzügyi Szolgáltató Hungary Zrt. and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Slovakia s.r.o.CZ joined forces: Together they planted 50 trees in Budapest on the “Day of Caring”, working with the partner organisation “Woodapest Egyesület”, which will ensure the maintenance of the planted trees with the associated corporate donation.
For our locations
At its locations worldwide, the Mercedes-Benz Group supports social development through a variety of different projects.
Commitment in South Korea
With the "Mercedes-Benz Promise” initiative, Mercedes-Benz Korea Limited has been committed to the common good in South Korea already since 2014. Mercedes-Benz Korea donates donates to the “Kids & Future Foundation” each year based on the number of new vehicle sales in South Korea. With donations in the amount of about €2 million in the reporting year, it sponsors a total of five programmes developed together with the foundation:
In addition to the “Mercedes-Benz MobileKids” programme, there is the “Mercedes-Benz Mobile Academy” programme, which offers students training, mentoring and insights into production processes. The programmes “Mercedes-Benz All Together” and “Mercedes-Benz Give” support the local communities with charity runs, employee volunteering and an education fund for children and youths in social institutions.
The “GREEN+” programme promotes activities aimed at CO2 neutrality on the balance sheet and sustainable growth. The educational programme “GREEN+Kids”, which is part of it, teaches primary school pupils how serious climate change is and shows them habits that help to protect the environment. The grant funds in this programme are furthermore used for disaster relief: a large forest fire broke out on the east coast of South Korea in March 2022. The funds were used to help the victims in the form of immediate donations and to support the rebuilding of the area.
Disaster relief in Australia
As a result of weeks of heavy rainfall, Australia experienced massive flooding in the first half of 2022. South-eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales were particularly affected. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated; numerous buildings were destroyed. Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd. and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Australia supported the emergency relief and recovery efforts in the affected communities by donating a total of €60,000 to the Australian Red Cross.
Raising children’s enthusiasm for natural sciences and technology
The Germany-wide MINT education initiative “Genius – The Young Knowledge Community of Mercedes-Benz” has been in existence for over ten years. Under the motto “More Curiosity – More Future”, it sets out to make children and young people enthusiastic about science, engineering and technology.
Among other things, teachers are given access to up-to-date, practical and digital teaching materials on technical topics. In addition, Genius organises nationwide teacher training courses and technology workshops for young people, addressing topics related to technologies and mobility of the future.
Whether it be fuel cells, Factory 56 or the cell technology centre: in 2022, the Genius children’s journalists reported on-site in several articles, interviewed experts and took a look behind the scenes.
Employees of Mercedes-Benz Group AG became involved as Genius ambassadors at the teacher training courses and technology workshops of the locations.
On the Genius homepage, under the heading “exciting knowledge”, those interested can find interesting blog posts on new innovations, phenomena from nature and technology or particularly sustainable and environmentally friendly developments.
Effectiveness and results
Effectiveness of the management approach
The Mercedes-Benz Group reviews the effectiveness of its social commitment in different ways: Among other things, it monitors the projects and is in regular contact with partners and funding recipients. Project status reports, annual reports and agreed-upon key figures enable the Group to determine the progress of the respective projects. In selected cases, the Mercedes-Benz Group reviews and evaluates the project results and the effectiveness of its support measures on-site.
In the reporting year, the Mercedes-Benz Group gave around €47 million in donations to charitable institutions and investments in sponsorships for social projects. This sum does not include its own foundation activities or projects initiated by the Group itself. The money for the donations and sponsorships is distributed as follows among the areas:
In total, the Mercedes-Benz Group supported around 1,200 projects worldwide.