Stakeholder dialog

August 10, 2018 - We seek to engage with all stakeholders in order to share views and experiences and discuss controversial issues in a constructive manner. Our goal here in every situation is to achieve a fruitful dialog that benefits all parties.

We define stakeholders as individuals and organizations that have legal, financial, ethical, or ecological expectations regarding Mercedes-Benz. 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 employees, customers, creditors, and shareholders, as well as our suppliers. However, we also communicate regularly with civil groups such as NGOs, as well as with analysts, professional associations, trade unions, the media, scientists, politicians, municipalities, and residents and neighbors in the communities where we operate.

Dialog at the Group level

In order to maintain effective relationships with our stakeholders, we have defined areas of responsibility, communication channels, and dialog formats that are valid throughout the Mercedes-Benz Group. Our Corporate Responsibility Management department is responsible for establishing an institutionalized and proactive dialog with our stakeholders. This dialog is then coordinated by our Corporate Sustainability Board and the Corporate Sustainability Office. The central format for our stakeholder dialog is the "Daimler Sustainability Dialogue", which has been held annually in Stuttgart since 2008 and brings various stakeholder groups together with representatives of our Board of Management and executive management. Each "Daimler Sustainability Dialogue" event focuses on sharing ideas in a variety of themed work-shops. The Mercedes-Benz representatives obtain feedback from the external participants and work together with the stakeholders to achieve agreed targets throughout the course of the year. They then report at the event in the following year on the progress made in the interim. In 2018, we already held our 11th Daimler Sustainability Dialogue in Stuttgart.

In order to discuss local challenges and promote the implementation of sustainability standards around the world, we organize "Daimler Sustainability Dialogue" events in other countries as well. Such dialog events have been held in China, Japan, the US, and Argentina. During the year under review, external experts and stakeholders also attended the fifth "Daimler Sustainability Dialogue" in Beijing, where they spoke to Mercedes-Benz representatives about environmental protection, economics, human resources, and integrity and legal affairs.

The Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility

The Advisory Board for Integrity and Corporate Responsibility has been an important source of input for Mercedes-Benz since 2012. The board’s independent members from the fields of science and business, as well as from civic organizations, utilize an external point of view to offer critical and constructive support for the integrity and corporate responsibility process at Mercedes-Benz.

We also utilize online and print media, discussions with experts, workshops, local and regional dialog events, and stakeholder surveys for our dialog with stakeholders. For example, as part of the process for validating our new Sustainability Strategy 2030, we once again conducted an extensive online survey of our stakeholders in 2017. This survey basically confirmed the prioritization of focus topics carried out within the framework of our strategy process. Representatives from various specialist units at Daimler participate in associations, committees, and sustainability initiatives such as the UN Global Compact and econsense — Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business. We also stage interdisciplinary conferences as a way to conduct an active dialog with stakeholders. One example is the second specialist conference on ethics and the legal situation with regard to autonomous driving, which was held in October 2017.

We regularly receive inquiries from stakeholders concerning various sustainability-related topics. These inquiries are addressed directly by specific specialist departments and 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. Reports on stakeholder inquiries are also presented in the meetings of our Sustainability Board and Sustainability Office. These reports are used to formulate key strategic policies for sustainability management. The Sustainability Board and the Sustainability Office also serve as coordination centers for dialog with our stakeholders on interdisciplinary issues.

Dialog at local and regional level

We also engage in a dialog with the stakeholders at our locations. One example here is our planned Testing and Technology Center in Immendingen on the Danube. We sought to engage in a dialog with the people in the region and address their concerns from the very beginning. Our "Daimler Forum Immendingen" also makes it possible for local residents to obtain information on the status of the project at any given time. In connection with specific occasions and projects, we address questions, concerns, criticism, and suggestions made by stakeholders at our locations 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.