Resource conservation

Along with fuel economy and emissions during vehicle operation, the processes used to manufacture our vehicles also play a key role in determining their environmental compatibility. For this reason, we work continuously to make production more efficient by, for example, reducing waste, utilizing closed-loop water systems, and recycling batteries from electric vehicles.

Production

Mercedes-Benz Cars is setting the course for green production in Germany and the rest of Europe in order to reduce the impact our plants have on the climate. Plans call for all manufacturing facilities in Europe to be supplied with CO2-neutral energy from 2022. Conservation of resources, including everything from water to energy and raw materials, continues to hold the key to improving the ecological footprint of our manufacturing operations. Increasing our energy efficiency not only reduces our consumption of fuels; it also lowers energy consumption as a whole and thus the CO2 emissions (See »Climate protection«) produced at our plants. The improvement of recycling processes and reduced consumption of raw materials at our sites have the potential to reduce waste, while reductions in our water consumption lower the impact our production operations have on natural water resources.

Our commitment to the environment is an integral component of our sustainable business strategy. For this reason, we have established environmental management systems at our manufacturing locations. In addition, our Environmental Management Manual defines a standardized Group-wide framework for our environmental management systems. The manual describes our environmental and energy guidelines in detail, as well as key environmental protection provisions of relevance to the Group.

We regularly check to ensure that all of our plants comply with these environmental protection provisions. Any incidents relevant to environmental protection that occur at production locations that are majority-owned by the Group are documented within the framework of the plant environmental management systems. We then take all necessary measures to eliminate any damage. We also implement measures for improvement wherever this is possible and expedient. The environmental measures are monitored by external auditors as part of the certification process for our environmental management systems (ISO 14001, EMAS, ISO 50001), as well by internal environmental risk assessments (See graphic E.01).

Daimler AR2019 E.02 Methodology for assessing environmental risks

Since the year 2000, we have been using a Group-wide standardized method for assessing environmental risks (environmental due diligence process) in order to prevent such risks and comply with statutory requirements. We employ this method both internally at all production locations in which the Group has a majority interest, as well as externally in connection with our acquisition plans. We also have a standardized process in place for inspecting and assessing the Group’s consolidated production sites every five years. The results are reported to the plants and divisional managements. In 2019, we evaluated all the production locations that are operated by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division and majority-owned by the Group. In addition, we annually assess the extent to which our recommendations for minimizing risks at the locations have been put into practice. The objective of all of our environmental risk assessments is to ensure that we achieve high environmental standards at all of our production locations around the world.

Products

During the development of our Mercedes-Benz car models we prepare a recycling concept for every vehicle model. This concept includes an analysis of the suitability of all components and materials for the various stages of the recycling process. As a result, all Mercedes-Benz car models are 85 percent recyclable and 95 percent recoverable, in accordance with ISO 22 628.

In order to evaluate the environmental compatibility of a vehicle, Daimler has for many years now been producing life cycle assessments and examining environmental effects throughout the vehicle’s entire life cycle — from the extraction of raw materials and vehicle production to product use and recycling. In addition to raw material consumption, these examinations take into account other factors such as the medium-term and long-term availability of raw materials.

Environmental protection and resource conservation are coordinated and managed in various units throughout the Group. Group management is involved when fundamental decisions regarding vehicle development are made and when targets are defined for climate protection, air quality, and resource conservation.

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