Incorporation of stakeholders

We consider it important to engage in a continuous dialog with all of our interest groups so that we can bring together various perspectives on our involvement with sustainability issues, identify and address future trends early on, and share experiences. We also want to engage in constructive discussions of controversial themes at a very early stage. We always focus on conducting a dialog that is fruitful and productive for both sides.

In order to conduct this kind of dialog, we need to identify our stakeholders. We define stakeholders as individuals and organizations that have legal, financial, ethical or ecological expectations regarding Daimler. One of the criteria for identifying and weighting stakeholders is the extent to which a person or group is affected by our company’s decisions or, conversely, can influence such decisions. Our primary stakeholders are our shareholders, employees, customers, and suppliers. However, we also communicate regularly with civil groups such as NGOs, as well as associations, trade unions, the media, analysts, municipalities, residents in the communities where we operate, and representatives of science and government.

We utilize various instruments to identify and select relevant stakeholders. These instruments comprise, on the one hand, proactive methods for initiating a dialog with stakeholders. Examples here include the Daimler Sustainability Dialogue, stakeholder surveys, the Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility, specialist conferences, and thematic dialog sessions that can also take the form of workshops. On the other hand, we employ a monitoring approach that helps us identify specific developments and the associated expectations beyond the dialog events that we have initiated. Examples of this approach include participation in industry-specific and cross-industry networks and initiatives, consulting studies and publications, and media analysis.

Dialog at the Group level

In order to implement the dialog with our stakeholders throughout the Group, we have defined clear areas of responsibility, communication channels, and specific dialog formats. The proactive dialog with our stakeholders is initiated by experts from the Integrity and Legal Affairs division and coordinated by our corporate sustainability bodies.

One essential tool of the dialog with our stakeholders is the Daimler Sustainability Dialogue, which has been held annually in Stuttgart since 2008 and brings various stakeholder groups together with members of our Board of Management and executive management. The participants attend a range of workshops, where they discuss issues related to sustainability and work together to further develop them. The Daimler representatives responsible for specific themes take up the impulses addressed in the discussions and work together with the stakeholders to incorporate these ideas into their work throughout the year. They then report at the event in the following year on the progress made in the interim. We held our 12th Daimler Sustainability Dialogue in Stuttgart during the year under review. The evening before the event was devoted to the topic of sustainable mobility in cities. On the main day of the event, more than 100 stakeholders split up into seven working groups to discuss themes such as human rights, environmental protection, autonomous driving, and artificial intelligence with Daimler representatives.

As a global company, we have set ourselves the goal of implementing sustainability standards at our business units and specialist units around the world. For this reason, we organize Daimler Sustainability Dialogue events in other countries and regions as well. Such dialog events have been held in China, Japan, the United States, and Argentina. During the year under review, more than 300 stakeholders attended the seventh Daimler Sustainability Dialogue in Beijing, where they discussed topics such as battery recycling, smart cities, and artificial intelligence. (See daimler.com/sustainability/daimler-sustainability-dialogue-2019.html)

The Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility has been an important source of input for sustainability activities at Daimler since 2012. The board’s members — external experts from the fields of science and business, as well as from civic organizations — utilize an external point of view to offer us critically constructive and independent support for the integrity and corporate responsibility process at Daimler. The board meets at regular intervals and also holds discussions with members of the Board of Management and responsible personnel from the respective specialist units. During the year under review, the Advisory Board also held a joint meeting with the Supervisory Board. The Advisory Board’s members have extensive experience and possess a variety of specialized knowledge regarding environmental and social policy, various human rights and ethical issues, and the development of transport, traffic, and mobility. During the year under review, the Advisory Board focused in particular on the further development of our sustainable business strategy. (See daimler.com/sustainability/basics/integrity/the-advisory-board-for-integrety).

We also maintain regular contact with representatives from civic organizations and other companies. In addition to the dialogs we initiate, we also participate in various associations, committees, and sustainability initiatives. Some of the most important initiatives here are the UN Global Compact, econsense — a German business forum for sustainable development, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

We also utilize online and print media, discussions with experts, workshops, and local and regional dialog events for our dialog with stakeholders. In addition to the formally structured dialog, we receive inquiries from stakeholders concerning various sustainability-related topics. These inquiries are addressed directly by specific specialist units and business units in a decentralized manner. This approach brings our stakeholders closer to our business operations and enables specialized knowledge to be directly incorporated into the dialog. Individual inquiries from stakeholders are also reported on in the meetings of our sustainability bodies and committees and are thus taken into consideration in the strategic decisions made by our sustainability management organization. Our sustainability bodies also coordinate dialog with our stakeholders on interdisciplinary issues. The topics addressed most extensively in discussions during the year under review included climate protection, respect for human rights, livable cities, data responsibility, and artificial intelligence.

Dialog at the local and regional levels

We also engage in a dialog with the stakeholders at our locations. In connection with specific occasions and projects, we address questions, concerns, criticism, and suggestions made by stakeholders and conduct an open-ended dialog with them. We also stage proactive dialog and information events on current topics. The results of all of our dialog measures are incorporated into decision-making and decision-implementation processes at the company. An example of such a result is the Urban Mobility Platform (PUM), which is an initiative launched by nine automotive industry companies and nine German cities. The platform was created in order to establish a continuous process of dialog and cooperation between cities and the automotive industry regarding the design of future mobility systems for urban areas. Daimler is a founding member of the initiative and also actively participates in its pilot projects. (See plattform-urbane-mobilitaet.de)

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