Responsible business activity
Our global presence offers us the opportunity to help shape the social environment and promote an intercultural dialogue in the places where we do business around the world. We and our employees participate together in many charitable projects that help address major challenges in society.
We concentrate here on areas where we can have an impact through our role as a “good neighbor.” We also participate in projects to which we can contribute our specific knowledge and core areas of expertise as an automobile manufacturer. Our activities focus on the following areas: support for science, education, traffic safety, the environment, the arts and culture, community projects, charitable projects, projects for which our employees volunteer, and projects for promoting dialogue and understanding. (See graphic B.44)
In 2015, we spent around €60 million on donations to nonprofit institutions and on sponsorships of socially beneficial projects. This does not include our foundations, corporate volunteering activities or self-initiated projects.
In 2015, we once again supported political parties in Germany, donating a total of €320,000. As in the prior year, the CDU and SPD parties each received €100,000 while the FDP, the CSU and BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN each received €40,000.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved without the targeted funding of science, research and technology worldwide. The international sharing of knowledge and the funding of innovations are key drivers of developments here. We therefore support universities, research institutes and interdisciplinary scientific projects around the globe. We have consolidated these activities in foundations.
The Daimler and Benz Foundation, for example, is endowed with €125 million. This foundation promotes the in-depth scientific examination and study of research ideas in the areas of environmental protection and technical safety. It also supports a think tank that will address mobility issues and examine the impact and socially relevant aspects of autonomous driving. (See daimler-benz-stiftung.de)
“Electrified commercial vehicle drive concepts” is the working title of a professorship that is being established at the Department of Automotive Engineering at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. The endowed professorship is being funded by the Daimler Fund in the Donors’ Association, with a view to the promotion of forward-looking research into electric drive systems for commercial vehicles in the future. (See stifterverband.org)
Providing more people with access to education is one of the most lasting investments to the benefit of society and also our company. The numerous education projects we fund around the world promote interest in and passion for science and technology, as well as the ability to look beyond the working world and remain open to new ideas. The projects we support also promote equal opportunities.
“Genius — Daimler’s young knowledge community” celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2015. The goal of this education initiative is to get children and teenagers interested in technology and the natural sciences, thus counteracting the trend of waning interest in these subjects on the part of young people. Efforts here focus especially on girls, as women remain underrepresented in technical professions. The initiative also includes an expert team that develops technical and practical teaching materials on the subject of automotive technologies.
As we move along the “road to accident-free driving,” we are utilizing assistance systems to ease the burden on drivers and to protect and support them in dangerous situations. More importantly, we also seek to ensure that everyone on streets and roads remains safe. We pursue this goal with traffic-education projects for schoolchildren and safety training programs for adults, for example.
Back in 2001, Daimler launched its MobileKids initiative. Since then, a standardized concept that can be adjusted in line with the situation in different countries has playfully taught more than 1.2 million children worldwide how to recognize and avoid danger in road traffic. The initiative also makes parents and teachers aware of the importance of accident prevention and supports them through the provision of information and relevant materials. (See mobilekids.net)
We share responsibility for preserving the diversity of natural habitats for future generations. That is why we have been supporting the projects and initiatives of environmental organizations around the world for many years now, as we help to make sure the earth remains a place worth living in.
For example, Daimler supports the wetland restoration project of the NABU nature conservation organization in Baden-Württemberg. The goal of the project is the renaturation of damaged moors and bogs. Such wetlands currently occupy only 3 % of the earth’s surface but store nearly one third of all the carbon that remains trapped in the earth. Moors transform CO2 from the atmosphere into long-lasting peat and are thus the best natural carbon sinks.
The arts and culture
A rich cultural life and a vibrant art scene foster creativity and innovation. It is therefore very important to us to support culture and the arts.
As early as 1977, the company laid the cornerstone for its Daimler Art Collection, which now includes some 2,600 works. In 2015, the Daimler Art Collection presented newly acquired Chinese works of art at two exhibitions in Berlin. The works of the Chinese artists offer a unique insight into a fascinating country with a culture that is thousands of years old.
However, we do not focus solely on the visual arts, as Daimler also supports the German Music Council, the largest cultural association in Germany, through the Group’s funding of Germany’s Federal Youth Orchestra. We also support art and culture outside Germany, such as the “Moscow meets Friends” music festival in Russia and the “Emerging Artist Award,” which is jointly presented by Daimler Financial Services and the renowned Cranbrook Academy in the United States.
Communities and charitable projects
Against the backdrop of the current refugee crisis in Germany, Daimler has launched a variety of aid initiatives to provide rapid assistance to refugees non-bureaucratically, thus sending a message of respect and tolerance.
Daimler has actually been involved in refugee assistance programs for a long time now. For example, since 2013, Daimler and the Wings of Help relief organization have sent three convoys with supplies for Syrian refugee camps in Turkey, and the partners have also sent two aid shipments by plane to northern Iraq. We have also contributed €100,000 annually for three years to the city of Stuttgart’s “Welcome Fund.” We have donated a further €100,000 to refugee assistance projects sponsored by a community organization in Sindelfingen. In addition, we donated €1 million to the “Bild hilft e. V. – Ein Herz für Kinder” child refugee aid association. We finance German courses for refugees, collect food donations from Daimler cafeterias and provide aid organizations with an “assistance fleet” of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
We also assist efforts to integrate refugees and support the individual campaigns of our employees. For example, our staff members donated more than €300,000 to refugee assistance projects and we doubled that amount to €601,332, which was then given to the refugee aid section of the German Red Cross. The fundraising campaign was initiated by the company management and the General Works Council in Germany.
In order to support the smooth integration of refugees into the German labor market, Daimler also began offering “bridge internships” for refugees in November 2015. For additional information see page Workforce.
The efforts of our employees to help communities and promote the common good around the globe manifest themselves in countless initiatives that go beyond the refugee assistance campaigns. These initiatives demonstrate just how seriously our employees take their responsibility, and how willing they are to offer opportunities to people at the very fringes of society.
In the ProCent initiative, for example, Daimler employees voluntarily donate the cent amounts of their net salaries to socially beneficial projects. The company matches every cent donated. Approximately €1 million was collected in this manner in 2015.
The largest single donation to date was €57,000 for a project in South Africa known as “A fence for more freedom.” With the help of ProCent, an orphanage being built in Cape Town was secured against attacks with a fence in order to protect children and youths. The orphanage will offer around 120 children a place to grow up in a family-like group atmosphere, and will also provide them with medical care and education.
Dialogue and understanding
As a company that operates around the world, we support projects and institutions that promote intercultural dialogue in the interest of mutual understanding and the peaceful coexistence of cultures. We also support initiatives for the strengthening of democracy.
The East Jerusalem Emergency Response Network, which is being built by the Jerusalem Foundation with our assistance, will provide effective assistance to the people of Jerusalem in emergencies. The goals of the Jerusalem Foundation are to improve the quality of life of residents of Jerusalem, break down the barriers between the different religious and ethnic groups and create a just society for everyone.
More information on the projects promoted by the Group and the activities related to our social commitment can be found in the Daimler Sustainability Report and on our website under “Sustainability.” (See daimler.com/sustainability)