July 06, 2021 – The Advisory Board for Integrity and Sustainability, which consists of independent external experts from various countries, has been an important source of input for our sustainability work since 2012. Its members from science, business, and civil society provide Mercedes-Benz with critical and constructive support in questions of integrity, sustainability and corporate responsibility from an external point of view.
Members of the Advisory Board
Global, collective and systemic action is crucial to accelerate the system transformations needed for a net-zero, nature-positive and equitable future. We need to unleash the power of sustainable business and set the course for systemic transformations through business action.
As advisory board members, we are not only able to share our expertise on various topics with the leaders of Mercedes-Benz in a constructive dialogue, but we also learn from these discussions. Not least due to the different perspectives that company representatives and advisory board members from diverse disciplines and cultures bring with them.
Corporate responsibility is not only dealing with climate change. It is also about the human factor - for example, respect for human rights. But corporate responsibility is not the same as charity or about doing some nice things on the side. It has to be integrated into the whole business. Only this is how you can contribute to solve the great current and future challenges of our society.
Integrity is an essential component of any strategy development. How will we position ourselves in the future, what do we want to achieve, and what role do we want to play in this world? It is important to develop your own positive personality. Integrity is thereby an ongoing process in which you continually reflect on yourself, your own conduct, and the possible consequences.
For me personally, acting with integrity means being able to look at myself in the mirror tomorrow. That means: I must act according to my principles. Though naturally I have to weigh up whether these principles match up to reality. In other words, this means doing the right thing at the right time and in the right context.
From a historical point of view, the main role of a company is to develop products and services that consumers want to buy. But there is also a collective responsibility and impact of the products on our environment. Recognizing potentially negative impacts and dealing with them is part of corporate responsibility.
The solution to succeed in a transformation to a sustainable future for all societies and sectors is when sustainability becomes the pathway to economic success. If you want to be a global player that continues to attract customers and lives up to its responsibilities, you have to bring forward competitive solutions that are good both for jobs, people’s health and planetary health.
How to push for integrity while remaining profitable and meeting the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders alike? We have to find the right balance. Also for questions that need to be carefully weighed, it is important to name the different aspects – such as environmental protection and human rights – and to provide appropriate solutions.
Sustainable change requires business integrity. If you want to change, you have to convince a lot of people - especially the critics. This requires a leadership and corporate culture that combines respect and performance and thus creates trust both internally and externally. Because without trust, even the best strategy will not succeed.
Every member of the Advisory Board brings a different background and contributes to the diversity of the Board, its expertise and experience to support Daimler's endeavor to further advance sustainable mobility. A pivotal moment requires insights and corresponding strategic planning and innovation. I am honored to work with fellow members and Daimler team to pivot towards a better future in the age of resilience.