The main principles applied in our corporate governance
German Corporate Governance Code
The legal framework for the corporate governance of Daimler AG is provided by German law, in particular the Stock Corporation Act (AktG), the Codetermination Act (MitbestG) and legislation concerning capital markets, as well as by the Company’s Articles of Incorporation. The German Corporate Governance Code gives recommendations and makes suggestions for the details of this framework. These recommendations and suggestions are regularly reviewed by the Government Commission for the German Corporate Governance Code. In the reporting year, this review caused the Code to be revised as of May 5, 2015. This revised description of the Code was published in the German Federal Gazette on June 12, 2015.
There is no statutory duty to follow the standards contained in the recommendations and suggestions of the Code. However, according to the principle of comply or explain, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG are obliged by Section 161 of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG) to make a declaration of compliance with regard to the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code and to disclose and justify any deviations from the Code’s recommendations. With the exceptions disclosed and justified in the declaration of compliance of December 2015, Daimler AG has followed and continues to follow the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code. The declaration of compliance of this Annual Report can also be accessed on our website at daimler.com/dai/gcgc. Previous, no longer applicable declarations of compliance from the past five years, and the current German Corporate Governance Code are also available there.
Daimler AG has followed and continues to follow the suggestions of the Code with just one exception: Deviating from the suggestion in Clause 2.3.3, which stipulates that companies should enable shareholders to view the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting with modern communications media such as the Internet, the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting is not transmitted in its entirety on the Internet, but only until the end of the report by the Board of Management, in order to protect the character of the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting as a meeting attended by our shareholders in person. An additional factor is that continuing the broadcast after that point, in particular broadcasting comments made by individual shareholders, could impair the discussion between shareholders and management, and might also be construed as an unjustified infringement of shareholders’ privacy rights. When considering this matter, the interests of transmission do not automatically take precedence over shareholders’ privacy rights. This is reflected by the statutory requirement for the entire transmission to have a legal basis in the Company’s Articles of Incorporation or in the rules of procedure for the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting.
The principles guiding our conduct
Additional relevant principles of corporate governance that go beyond the legal requirements but are applied throughout the Group are our Standards of Business Conduct. They are composed of several documents and policies and are based on the company values of passion, respect, integrity and discipline. These standards serve as a frame of reference at Daimler that helps ensure behavior in conformity with applicable regulations and the principles of integrity.
The Integrity Code defines the principles of behavior and guidelines for everyday conduct at Daimler. This applies to interpersonal conduct within the company as well as conduct toward customers and business partners. Fairness, responsibility and compliance with legislation are key principles in this context. The Integrity Code is based on a shared understanding of values, which was developed together with the Daimler employees. In addition to general principles of behavior, it includes requirements and regulations concerning the protection of human rights, dealing with conflicts of interest and preventing all forms of corruption.
The “Principles of Social Responsibility” also form part of the Integrity Code. They are binding for the entire Group. In the Principles of Social Responsibility, Daimler commits itself to the principles of the UN Global Compact and thus to internationally recognized human and workers’ rights, such as the prohibition of child labor and forced labor, as well as freedom of association and sustainable protection of the environment. Daimler also commits itself to guaranteeing equal opportunities and adhering to the principle of “equal pay for equal work.” The Integrity Code is available on the Internet at daimler.com/dai/caag.
Expectations on our business partners
For Daimler, acting with integrity is a basic prerequisite for trusting cooperation. When selecting our direct business partners, we ensure that they comply with the law and follow ethical principles. For the expectations we place on our business partners, see also daimler.com/sus/obr.