As part of the offensive for a sustainable raw material supply chain, Daimler AG joins forces with associations, organizations and competitors in a number of initiatives. The common goals are clear: certifiable standards, safe origins and transparency in the procurement of high-risk raw materials and a tangible improvement in the working and living conditions of people locally. By joining, Daimler AG is expanding its broad commitment to initiatives and is actively promoting greater transparency in global raw material supply chains. The company is thus taking another important step towards shaping sustainable mobility.
Joining further initiatives complements Daimler AG’s already existing activities for responsible procurement of raw materials and increases their impact. The focus of the initiatives is on the procurement of cobalt, steel and aluminium. A future step on the road to sustainable raw material procurement will be the complete transparency of, for example, the supply chain for battery cell production. Battery cells contain cobalt as well as lithium, nickel, copper and manganese. “The expansion of electro mobility places new demands on the automotive industry and especially on purchasing. We are aware of our responsibility in the procurement of raw materials and are pooling our strengths in these initiatives through cooperation with other business enterprises,” states Sabine Angermann, Head of Purchasing and Supplier Quality for Raw Materials and Strategy at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Systematic monitoring of risks to human rights
Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Integrity and Legal Affairs: “Joining initiatives is an important and meaningful addition to our own activities such as the Human Rights Respect System. In this way we can contribute to long-term improvements for the people affected.” With the Human Rights Respect System, Daimler AG developes a holistic approach to respecting human rights both in its own majority holding companies and along the supply chain. As one important measure, the company has identified around 50 potentially high-risk raw materials. The goal is to make the supply chains for potentially high-risk raw materials transparent and to take risk-based, target-oriented measures successively.
Participation in initiatives reinforces the effects
In the interests of a holistic sustainability strategy, joining the four initiatives takes a product’s entire life cycle into account – from development, via procurement and production to recycling. “With every initiative we pursue concrete goals and are determined to implement them. We are committed to certifiable standards to create and implement a common understanding of sustainability throughout the supply chain”, says Angermann.
Cobalt is a key component in the production of electric vehicles. Companies which work with cobalt as a raw material face the risk of not being able to completely exclude the violation of human rights during cobalt extraction. Daimler AG has therefore joined the Responsible Cobalt Initiative. Here Daimler AG works together with other companies and NGOs, government representatives, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop measures aimed at combating social and ecological risks along the entire cobalt supply chain. The aim is especially to exclude the risk of child labour, and increase transparency and governance.
To prevent the infiltration of material that might contribute to conflict, the company is also actively involved in the Responsible Minerals Initiative. RMI uses a self-developed, independent validation scheme for refineries and smelters to demonstrate that they have systems in place to ensure the responsible sourcing of minerals. In addition to this, the Responsible Minerals Initiative provides companies with a wealth of tools and information sources for responsible procurement of so-called conflict materials. In this way, the sustainable procurement of conflict minerals is promoted and more transparency is created in the supply chain.
Aluminium is playing an increasingly important role as a lightweight-design material for electric cars as it is much lighter than steel. Daimler has also joined the non-profit Aluminium Stewardship Initiative to support the implementation of an independent certification scheme for the entire aluminium added 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 commonly used material in cars and also represents the world’s largest raw material industry. Steel production is highly energy-intensive and therefore accounts for a large share of the CO² emissions in the production phase. The Responsible Steel Initiative is pursuing greater transparency in the supply chain, from mines to steel product, and by developing a certification scheme will provide with new levels of reassurance against social and environmental standards. It also advocates the development and understanding of CO² levels in production.
Additionally Daimler AG is lead partner of the industry initiative “Drive Sustainability”, a European Automotive-Workgroup coordinated by the CSR Europe corporate network, which promotes measures to improve sustainability in supply chains. As lead partner, Daimler AG will continue to play an active role in supporting the raising of sustainability standards in the supply chain throughout the industry. An important tool developed there is a uniform sustainability questionnaire. In addition, joint training and workshops are offered for suppliers to help them improve their sustainability performance.
Daimler is one of the first signatories to the United Nations Global Compact, which Daimler implemented, among other things, through its “Principles of Social Responsibility. Since 2000, Daimler has been working to uphold and actively promote the principles of the Global Compact in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption. To promote sustainability in the global supply chain, Daimler AG has been involved in national and international industry associations for years. These include econsense, the German Association for Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics (BME), the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the American Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG).
Source: Daimler AG