Contributing to the development of society
For us, business success and social responsibility go hand in hand. As a company with a global presence, we seek to help shape the social environment and to promote an intercultural dialogue worldwide. To this end, we support education, science, the arts and culture, as well as efforts to improve environmental protection. We also support initiatives for greater traffic safety and promote charitable commitment among our employees. (See graphic B.44)
In 2016, we spent around €60 million on donations to nonprofit institutions and on sponsorships of socially beneficial projects. This does not include our foundations and corporate volunteering activities or self-initiated projects.
As was the case in previous years, we once again supported democratic parties in Germany in 2016, donating a total of €320,000. As in 2015, 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 exchange of knowledge and the funding of innovations are key drivers of developments in these areas. We therefore support universities, research institutes and interdisciplinary science projects around the globe. We have consolidated these activities in foundations.
Environmental protection and technical safety are two key scientific areas supported by the Daimler and Benz Foundation. Endowed with €125 million, the foundation promotes research that can have a major impact on the development of society. That includes research on autonomous driving. To this end, we have established a mobility think tank to examine the impact and socially relevant aspects of autonomous driving. The Daimler and Benz Foundation has also invested around €1.5 million in the “Villa Ladenburg” project, which studies the effect of autonomous driving on normal road traffic. (See daimler-benz-stiftung.de)
The German Future Prize is one of the most prestigious awards conferred for innovation and technology in Germany and is presented by the President of Germany. The Daimler fund works within the framework of the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of German Science to support this annual award for outstanding achievement in technology, engineering and the natural sciences. (See stifterverband.org)
Providing more people with access to education is one of the most lasting investments for 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.
More curiosity — more future: This is the motto of the education initiative “Genius — Daimler’s young knowledge community.” The initiative is targeted at children and teenagers and their teachers. The latter are given special training and provided with teaching materials that introduce children to new automotive technologies in an entertaining and practical way, and which also get them interested in technology and research. (See genius-community.com)
The “Each Girl is a Star” project at Mercedes-Benz Turkey has now provided training and financial grants to more than 3,900 girls and young women in 56 Turkish cities. The project gives underprivileged girls and young women the opportunity to attend a vocational college and enter professions traditionally occupied by men.
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.
In 2016, our “MobileKids” program celebrated 15 years of successful traffic-safety training. To date, MobileKids has made more than two million children fit for road traffic in Germany and around the world. (See mobilekids.net)
Daimler’s local subsidiaries in India have also launched a new traffic safety campaign known as “Safe Road Project — A Safety Initiative” in order to help reduce the large number of traffic fatalities in the country. The goal here is to make people in India more aware of traffic safety issues and the possibilities for utilizing vehicle safety systems.
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.
In India, Brazil and Mozambique, we are carrying out projects with Caritas International that promote the sustainable use of water resources. Climate change is threatening to make entire tracts of land uninhabitable in those countries. Here, project workers are creating reliable water supply systems and providing training and knowledge to local farmers.
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 the arts and culture.
As a patron of the International Bachakademie Stuttgart, we support the MUSIKFESTUTTGART music festival, and we also served as the main sponsor for the BACHBEWEGT!SINGEN! project in 2016. Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” was featured in a family concert held for people of all ages in which around 250 pupils performed in a professional setting with the Bachakademie ensemble.
Mercedes-Benz supports the functional fashion concepts for people with disabilities created by the Bezgraniz Couture (“Fashion without Borders”) organization, which was established in 2010. The “wearABLE Future” collection, for example, stands out through adaptable high-tech features especially designed for people with physical disabilities. The Bezgraniz fashion brand has put on special fashion shows during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Moscow in the past, and in October 2016, it staged presentations during Fashion Week Los Angeles for the first time.
Communities and charitable projects
For us, being a global company means we have a global responsibility. That is why we support the social environment at our locations as well as a wide variety of aid projects around the world. Our efforts here go beyond assistance in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters. We also set up longer-term projects aimed at helping people to help themselves.
Haiti was recently devastated once again by a natural disaster: After experiencing a severe earthquake in 2010, the country was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Hundreds of people died in the storm. In the aftermath, Daimler and Germany’s Foreign Office funded aid projects carried out by the German Red Cross. The projects focused mainly on securing access to clean water and conducting a broad-based cholera vaccination campaign. Tools and materials for cleanup work and restoring the country’s severely damaged agriculture were also supplied.
As a company, we also take our social responsibility very seriously. This is why we are helping migrants integrate into the German workforce and society. Our “bridge internship” especially helps pave the way for refugees to enter the German labor market without major bureaucratic hurdles. For more information on this topic, see Workforce.
Many of our employees also support refugees through numerous donation campaigns or the performance of volunteer work. In 2016, for example, staff members helped renovate refugee shelters and build playgrounds for children. Daimler paid for all the required materials and ensured the work was carried out under professional supervision. The company also regularly makes an “Aid Fleet” of Mercedes-Benz vehicles available to several aid organizations.
The efforts of our employees to help communities and promote the common good around the globe manifest themselves in 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 2016.
For example, the proceeds from the ProCent initiative were donated to a canine rescue squad at ASB — the Workers’ Samaritan Federation, which needed a new trailer to transport materials. Donations were also given to the Verein zur Förderung der Kinder- und Jugendhilfe e. V. Zeiskam, a children and youth aid organization, which used the funds to build an outdoor playground and a garden for children to work and learn in.
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.
For example, Daimler supports grants for 15 to 18-year-old German students that allow them to spend a year in the United States under the auspices of the Daimler-Byrnes Scholarship. The program is designed to get students interested in the transatlantic relationship. The students receive extensive intercultural training to prepare them for their role as ambassadors of their country.
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)