July 20, 2022 – As an international company and employer in many regions of the world, the Mercedes-Benz Group is interested in finding solutions for regional as well as transnational issues in partnership with other stakeholders. Particularly when it comes to controversial issues, we strive for a dialogue that is fruitful and purposeful for all parties involved. We stand by our social and environmental responsibility and believe that engagement in partnerships and initiatives that go beyond our core business purpose is essential.
We define stakeholders as individuals and organisations that have legal, financial, ethical or environmental claims or expectations of the company. Whether an individual, organisation or group is a stakeholder of the company depends on the extent to which it is influenced by decisions of the group or, conversely, can influence group decisions. Our primary stakeholders are our customers, employees, investors and suppliers. We also regularly exchange ideas with civil society groups such as non-governmental organisations. Additionally we maintain regular contact with associations, trade unions, the media, analysts, local authorities, residents in the vicinity of our sites, as well as with representatives from science, politics and think tanks.
Stakeholder dialogue at Group level
We use various formats to enter into dialogue with stakeholders: for example, we conduct stakeholder surveys as well as expert conferences and topic-specific dialogues.
We continuously follow current public discussions and are involved in industry-specific and cross-sector networks and initiatives. This enables us to take on board developments and the associated expectations of stakeholders and incorporate them into our strategic decisions.
In addition, studies and other scientific publications are evaluated and media analyses are carried out.
The "Sustainability Dialogue" is an important instrument in the exchange with stakeholders. Since 2008 it has been held once a year in Stuttgart and brings together stakeholders from different areas with members of the Group Board of Management and executive management. In various workshops, participants discuss selected sustainability topics and work together to further develop their approaches. Those responsible for the topics take up the input and drive implementation forward in cooperation with the stakeholders.
As a globally active company, the Group has set itself the goal of establishing sustainability in its business units and specialist areas worldwide. That is why the "Sustainability Dialogue" is also organised in other countries and regions. The international dialogue events have already taken place in China, Japan, the USA and Argentina in the past. In 2021, over 160 stakeholders participated in the Sustainability Dialogue in Beijing, China. The participants talked about road safety in interaction with new technologies.
Stakeholder dialogue at municipal and regional level
The company is also in dialogue with its stakeholders at the site level: the Group addresses questions, concerns, criticism and suggestions from outside on an ad hoc and project-related basis and engages in open dialogue.
For example, a stakeholder dialogue between Mercedes-Benz, employees, trade unions and business/cooperation partners was initiated for the Berlin-Marienfelde plant. As part of this, the participants learned and exchanged information about the development of the Mercedes-Benz Digital Factory Campus Berlin. A competence centre for digitalisation in the global Mercedes-Benz production network is being created at the Berlin-Marienfelde site to complement the plant's transformation project.
The results obtained in the course of these proposed proactive discussions are incorporated into other entrepreneurial decisions and their implementation.
Advisory Board for Integrity and Sustainability
The Advisory Board for Integrity and Sustainability has been an important driving force for the Group since 2012. Its members are independent, external experts from academia, civil society and business with expertise in the fields of environmental and social policy, transport and mobility development, human rights and ethics. The members of the advisory board accompany us constructively and critically in questions of integrity and corporate responsibility.
In order to validate our sustainability strategy through external feedback, for example, we regularly conduct extensive online surveys for materiality analysis.
With the help of expert interviews with representatives of NGOs, think tanks, politics and administration, we have our work processes evaluated for integrity and ethical behaviour and thus obtain valuable input from outside.
Partnerships for climate protection and sustainability
Climate protection is one of the existential challenges of our time. For the Mercedes-Benz Group, the Paris Climate Agreement is therefore more than just an obligation - it is a conviction. Future luxury must be sustainable. Our political advocacy and our partnerships follow this conviction.
Tackling climate change can only be achieved together. In addition to the direct exchange with political decision-makers and other stakeholders who are committed to sustainable development, the company is therefore involved in various associations, committees and sustainability initiatives. These include in particular the UN Global Compact as well as econsense - Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. On the road of transformation to sustainable luxury, we also want to be open to new alliances - for example with NGOs or companies and associations from other sectors.
Individual stakeholder enquiries are handled directly and locally by individual departments and business units. This creates more proximity to the operative business and allows us to incorporate professional know-how directly. For example, we bring enquiries about sustainability issues to the meetings of the Group Sustainability Board so that they can be taken into account in strategic decisions.