The goals associated with our social commitment
As a group of companies with global operations, we regard it as both our responsibility and our obligation to support social progress around the world. That is because for us, business success and social responsibility go hand in hand. As a company, we strive to contribute to the advancement of society and to effectively shape, help and promote its development in order to create recognizable benefits.
In 2017, we spent more than €60 million on donations to non-profit institutions and on sponsorships of socially beneficial projects. This does not include our foundations and corporate volunteering activities or self-initiated projects.
It is very important to us that our various locations and the people who work there identify with our activities. We therefore support the efforts of our employees to promote the common good, and we also work to improve the social environment in the communities where we operate. In this context, we focus on the one hand on fields of action that arise from our role as a “good neighbor.” On the other hand, we are involved in projects in which we can contribute specific expertise and our core competencies as an automaker.
We also initiate a variety of aid and assistance projects around the globe. For example, we implement measures to strengthen communities and promote education, science, the arts and culture, and nature conservation, and we also support initiatives that improve road safety. (See table B.41) All of these issues are addressed in various projects organized and managed under the DaimlerWeCare brand. Our approach here is based on three pillars: “For our employees,” “For our locations” and “Worldwide.”
For our employees
Since 2006, Daimler Financial Services has been staging a Day of Caring that focuses on non-profit projects that help local communities. Under the motto “Offering help where help is needed,” thousands of employees around the world once again rolled up their sleeves and lent a hand in 2017 by leaving their offices and picking up a paintbrush, hammer or garden rake. A wide variety of social institutions and initiatives were supported — from hospitals and kindergartens to the SOS Children’s Villages organization.
The ProCent initiative is another example of our employees’ commitment to society. In this initiative, Daimler employees voluntarily donate the cent amounts of their net salaries to socially beneficial projects. The company matches every cent that is donated. More than €800,000 was collected in this manner in 2017. One of the recipients of donations from the ProCent initiative in 2017 was the Spitalverein Offenburg voluntary hospital aid association, which used a donation of around €10,000 to help build a new 250-square-meter playground for young patients at Ortenau Hospital in Offenburg-Gengenbach.
For our locations
We support a wide variety of initiatives that strengthen the communities at our locations. The integration of refugees is a very important issue in Germany, for example. Here, we support not only labor market integration with our “bridge internships,” but also the social integration of people who have been forced to flee their homes. A key aspect here involves improving access to education with programs such as our Genius knowledge community and the Daimler Children's University in Sindelfingen.
We want to help preserve the diversity of natural habitats for future generations. For many years now, we have therefore been supporting projects and initiatives carried out by environmental organizations near our locations around the world. One such project, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Global Nature Fund, is helping to restore severely damaged mangrove forests in Asia. Environmental protection measures and specific funding programs — near our production location in Chennai in southern India, for example — are being implemented to get the local population extensively involved in the project. The goal here is to work with local partner organizations to restore the mangrove forests to their original state and then ensure that they remain protected.
Another environmental project that Daimler is supporting in cooperation with the Global Nature Fund is EcoKarst. The objective of this project is to contribute to the protection and sustainable economic development of seven protected karst areas in the Danube region. The idea is to achieve a balance between the maintenance and strengthening of ecosystems and their sustainable use.
In India, Brazil and Mozambique, we are carrying out projects with Caritas International that promote the sustainable use of water resources. Climate change is threatening to make entire tracts of land uninhabitable in those three countries. Project workers are creating reliable water supply systems and providing training and useful knowledge to local farmers. As a result, the farmers can now cultivate plants that do not require additional irrigation, such as tamarind and passion fruit.
Funding through foundations
Our activities in areas such as sports, science and research are carried out under the auspices of foundations. For example, we use the Daimler and Benz Foundation to fund interdisciplinary research that addresses issues related to the interaction between humans, the environment and technology. We also support interdisciplinary research projects with the Daimler Fund in the Donors’ Association. This fund has helped create several endowed professorships, such as the one for “Electrified Commercial Vehicle Drive Systems” at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences, the junior endowed professorship for “Sensor Merging and Tracking Driver Assistance Systems” at Ulm University of Applied Sciences, and the junior endowed professorship for “Digital Transformation” at Freie Universität Berlin.
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation uses sports to help achieve sustained improvement of the lives of socially disadvantaged or sick children and teenagers. A large number of children and teenagers around the world have participated in Laureus sports projects and in this manner have been able to discover their own strengths and potential for the first time. For example, donations from the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation were used to fund the Indigo Youth Movement project in South Africa. Here, a camp was set up near Durban in which young villagers were taught how to skateboard. The camp community offers them a protected environment in which they can develop greater self-confidence and learn how to improve their lives.
More information on the projects promoted by the Group and the activities related to our social commitment can be found in the Daimler Sustainability Report and on our website under “Sustainability.” (See daimler.com/sustainability)
Further information on social matters can be found in the Non-Financial Report of this Annual Report. (See Social issues)