Mercedes-Benz AG is a founding member of "Transform to Net Zero", a climate protection initiative launched by Microsoft, an initiative of leading international companies. We asked Mercedes COO Markus Schäfer what this is all about and how the commitment fits into the new Mercedes strategy.
What is the climate protection initiative "Transform to Net Zero" (TONZ) about?
It's about CO2-neutral management, as early and as comprehensively as possible. If we want to limit the rise in the global average temperature to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, or better still, 1.5 degrees Celsius, we have to accelerate decarbonization. Nobody can do that on their own. That's where Transform to Net Zero comes in: At Microsoft's initiative, nine renowned companies from a wide range of industries and countries of origin are pooling their expertise to promote the framework conditions for a broad decarbonization of the economy and society.
Why is Mercedes-Benz AG joining the TONZ initiative?
The transformation is a marathon - and we are only at the beginning. We are parting with traditional processes, questioning what we have learned. And we are acting globally. At the same time, we are keeping our customers and their individual needs in mind. With Ambition 2039, we have marked out a way for Mercedes-Benz to bring our new car fleet to "net zero CO2" within less than 20 years – and not only in driving operations, but along the entire value chain. Starting in 2022, our passenger cars and vans will be produced CO2-neutrally in the more than 30 plants of Mercedes-Benz AG worldwide. One example is our new Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, where the new S-Class and the all-electric EQS are produced. These are all issues that directly contribute to Net Zero's goals. At the same time, we hope that the initiative will also contribute to decarbonizing those stages of the value chain over which we have no direct influence.
How does the commitment to climate protection fit in with Mercedes-Benz' new strategic focus on high-margin luxury cars?
Very well. After all, climate protection is a high priority for most of today's customers of luxury brands. Anyone who spends a lot of money on a car doesn't want to look like a climate sinner, but wants to be recognized as a pioneer for solutions that combine fascination and responsibility. It is no coincidence that with our new Mercedes strategy we are striving for a technological leadership role in electric drives and digitalization.