Initiatives for sustainable raw material supply chains

Responsible sourcing of raw materials

Initiatives for sustainable raw material supply chains.

Mercedes-Benz not only supports the responsible procurement of raw materials in battery cells, for example cobalt – but also of "classic" raw materials such as aluminium, mica or steel. In addition, we are committed to various general and specific raw material initiatives designed to improve sustainability in supply chains.

With each of the initiatives, the company is pursuing specific objectives. As platforms, they enable us to work together with relevant stakeholders, and also provide control mechanisms such as certification systems and standards that promote the sustainable sourcing of raw materials. By cooperating with other actors such as NGOs or businesses, we are able to combine our strengths in these initiatives.

With the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) , there is now for the first time a multi-stakeholder standard for industrial mining, developed in a process of intensive discussion with industry, civil society, communities and labour unions. More than 100 experts and not-for-profit organisations were involved in defining the IRMA “Standard for Responsible Mining”, for example Human Rights Watch, Microsoft and Anglo American. The standard is still in the early stage of adoption by the industry.

Mercedes-Benz Group AG joined IRMA to promote the broad application of robust and comparable sustainability standards – also as a precondition for supplier decisions and contracts. Where robust certificates exist, we monitor this with the block chain technology we have already been testing in pilot projects since 2018.

In order to prevent materials associated with conflicts from entering the supply chain, Mercedes-Benz Group AG has joined the Responsible Minerals Initiative . This initiative uses a self-developed, independent validation scheme for refineries and mines, the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP). It is used to demonstrate that there are systems in place to ensure the responsible sourcing of minerals. When placing contracts, we oblige our suppliers to procure the conflict minerals tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (3TG) exclusively from smelters and refineries that meet the requirements of the RMI certification scheme. In addition, the Responsible Minerals Initiative provides companies with numerous tools and sources of information for responsible mineral sourcing. This increases transparency in the supply chains where conflict minerals are processed.

Mica is used to produce the shimmering effect in vehicle paints. In joining the Responsible Mica Initiative , Mercedes-Benz Group AG intends to take even more consistent action against child labour in mica mines in the future: the initiative is committed to a fair, responsible and sustainable mica supply chain in India. To this end, Mercedes-Benz is developing standards for responsible working conditions, strengthening local communities and supporting the creation of a legal framework for the mica sector together with other companies, NGOs, industry associations and government representatives. The aim of the initiative is to completely eliminate child labour and unacceptable working conditions in mica mines by 2030.

Aluminium is becoming increasingly important as a material in electric vehicles, as it is much lighter than steel. Mercedes-Benz is part of the non-profit Aluminium Stewardship Initiative  to support the implementation of an independent certification scheme for the entire aluminium value chain. The aim is to intensify dialogue with all stakeholders in the aluminium supply chain to achieve continually measurable improvements in the areas of social affairs, the environment and responsible business management – from aluminium production and usage to recycling.

Steel is the most widely used material in cars and is the world's largest raw materials industry. Steel production is linked to many ethical, ecological and social aspects along the entire value chain, and to date these are not taken into account in any standardised guidelines for the companies.

The non-profit Responsible Steel Initiative (RSI)  aims to develop a globally standardised, certifiable sustainability standard for the steel industry. In the future, buyers of such certified steel should be able to rely on the fact that the steel products used have been manufactured in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner – from the mining of raw materials to sale to the end costumer. To ensure that the standard finds broad acceptance, the interests of the most important stakeholders are taken into account when developing the standard. Mercedes-Benz actively contributes to this process.

Mercedes-Benz Group AG is lead partner of the industry initiative Drive Sustainability , a European working group coordinated by the corporate network CSR Europe, which promotes measures to improve sustainability in the automotive supply chain. One of the key instruments developed to this end is a standardized sustainability questionnaire for suppliers. In addition, joint training and workshops are offered for suppliers to help them improve their sustainability performance.

This page was last updated on 07.12.2023.