Continued high degree of social involvement. Our global presence offers us the opportunity to help shape the social environment and promote an intercultural dialogue in the places where we do business around the world. We concentrate here on areas where we can have an impact through our role as a “good neighbor.” We also participate in projects to which we can contribute our specific knowledge and core areas of expertise as an automobile manufacturer. Our activities focus on the following areas: support for science, education, traffic safety, the environment, the arts and culture, community projects, charitable projects, projects for which our employees volunteer, and projects for promoting dialogue and understanding.
In 2014, we spent almost €60 million on donations to nonprofit institutions and on sponsorships of socially beneficial projects. This does not include our foundations and corporate volunteering activities, or self-initiated projects.
Transparency and control. The donation and sponsorship committee controls all of our donations and sponsorship activities worldwide. The committee bases its decisions on our donation and sponsorship guidelines, and we also create transparency with the help of our donation and sponsorship database. Regular communication actions help employees adhere to the guidelines and also make them aware of the risks associated with donations and sponsorship activities.
Contributions to political parties. In 2014, we once again supported democratic parties solely in Germany, donating a total of €320,000. The distribution of the contributions remained unchanged: The CDU and SPD parties each received €100,000 while the FDP, the CSU and BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN each received €40,000.
Science funding. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without the targeted funding of science, research and technology worldwide. The international exchange of knowledge and the funding of innovations are key drivers of developments here. We therefore support universities, research institutes and interdisciplinary scientific projects around the globe. We have consolidated these activities in foundations.
The Daimler and Benz Foundation, for example, is endowed with €125 million. It is investing approximately €1.5 million in the “Villa Ladenburg” project, in which a team composed of more than 20 researchers is studying the individual and social impact that self-driving vehicles will have in the future. (See daimler-benz-stiftung.de/cms/en)
The Association for German Science, the Daimler and Benz Foundation and the Daimler foundation are using the MINTernational program with the goal of making the MINT subjects (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology) more international in Germany. An international competition honors colleges and universities that have developed particularly innovative concepts for preparing MINT students in Germany for the world market on the one hand, and for getting the best students from abroad to come study in Germany on the other. The first award-winning institutions received a total of €500,000 to help them implement their concepts. (See stifterverband.org/ueber_den_stifterverband/english)
Education. Improving access to education is one of the most lasting investments to the benefit of society and also our company. Education creates opportunities and opens doors to a future full of possibilities. That is why we fund numerous education projects around the world that promote interest in and passion for science and technology, as well as the ability to look beyond the working world and remain open to new ideas.
Together with the women’s organization CYDD, we are also helping socially disadvantaged young women learn technical professions in Turkey. The award winning project “Each Girl is a Star” offers young women between the ages of 15 and 18 a four-year training program with an internship at Mercedes-Benz Turkey or at dealerships or supplier companies. In view of the project’s success, we have also expanded it to include a university scholarship program.
Traffic safety. As we move along the “road to accident-free driving,” we are utilizing assistance systems to ease the burden on drivers and to protect and support them in dangerous situations. More importantly, we also seek to ensure that everyone on streets and roads remains safe. We pursue this goal with traffic-education projects for schoolchildren and safety training programs for adults, for example.
Since 2001, our MobileKids program has taught more than 1 million children worldwide how to stay safe in road traffic. We believe that safe mobility and accident prevention should be a given for children and adults in their daily lives. That is why our traffic safety courses are conducted in a playful and engaging manner. Besides teaching safe behavior as pedestrians, cyclists or passengers in vehicles, our training courses also teach proper behavior in the public transport system. (See mobilekids.net/de-EN)
Nature conservation. We share responsibility for preserving the diversity of natural habitats for future generations. That is why we have been supporting the projects and initiatives of environmental organizations around the world for many years now, as we help to make sure the Earth remains a place worth living in.
For example, Daimler supports a renaturing project conducted by the Global Nature Fund that is helping to protect endangered mangroves in India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Thailand. Among other things, the project has restored more than 100 hectares of severely damaged mangrove forests. This not only preserves biodiversity in the forests, it also ensures they can do their job of storing CO2 and protecting the surrounding area against floods. The project also teaches the local population about environmental protection measures and provides it with alternative sources of income.
The arts and culture. A rich cultural life and a vibrant art scene foster creativity and innovation. It is therefore very important to us to support the arts and culture.
Among other ways, we support the arts and culture through the Daimler Art Collection, which was established in 1977 and now includes some 2,600 works by 700 artists. In general, our activities focus on the promotion of regional culture in the areas of the fine arts, jazz, classical music and film.
With its museums, libraries, archives and research institutes, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation is one of the biggest cultural and scientific institutions in the world. We support the foundation’s strategic goals in order to make an effective contribution to strengthening the role of culture in society. We are mainly interested here in increasing awareness of the foundation’s cultural heritage and the work done by its museums, and we also support new concepts for bringing more culture to communities.
Communities and charitable projects. For us, a global presence also means global responsibility. This is why we support the communities in which we operate as well as numerous aid projects all over the world. Our efforts here go beyond assisting in the aftermath of natural or manmade disasters. We also initiate long-term projects designed to help people help themselves.
Following the devastating floods in the Balkans, Daimler quickly donated €250,000 in May 2014 for the people affected in the region. The donation was given to Caritas International, which used it to provide emergency assistance and to fund the necessary repair work. Daimler and the General Works Council also launched an employee donation drive that enabled us to give Caritas an additional €20,000.
Following two aid transport projects for Syrian refugees in 2013, Daimler continued its Syria aid in 2014. In a joint initiative of employees and the company, approximately €250,000 was collected. For the flights to Erbil in North Iraq organized by “Wings of Help – Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen e. V.” (an association endeavoring to provide cross-border air transport), we supplied tents, blankets, medicine and other relief goods.
The “Ekukhanyeni” project helps severely impoverished people in a town near Johannesburg, South Africa. Mercedes-Benz South Africa has been supporting the initiative, which has built a daycare center and an elementary school, since 2010. These days, “Ekukhanyeni” is also promoting the establishment of more natural farming techniques, as well as managing landscape planning, the energy supply and the expansion of local infrastructure.
Employee commitment. We not only act responsibly around the world as a company, we also support our employees’ efforts to help communities and promote the common good all around the globe. Countless initiatives demonstrate just how seriously our employees take their responsibility, and how willing they are to offer others opportunities they would normally never have.
In the ProCent initiative, for example, Daimler employees voluntarily donate the cent amounts of their net salaries to socially beneficial projects. The company matches every cent donated and collects the money in a support fund. In accordance with the suggestions of its employees, Daimler then uses this money to support environmental and social projects all over the world. In 2014, we provided 188 projects with more than €1 million in funding in this manner.
The Day of Caring in 2014 once again attracted more than 2,300 Daimler Financial Services employees from around the globe, who came together to jointly help charitable institutions for a whole day. The climax of these activities was the Week of Caring in the United States and Canada, which took place for the second time: Some 1,100 employees spent a whole week working on charitable projects at more than 30 different organizations.
Dialogue and understanding. Openness and tolerance are important pillars of our corporate culture. As a company that operates around the world, we support projects and institutions that promote intercultural dialogue in the interest of mutual understanding and the peaceful coexistence of cultures. We also support initiatives for the strengthening of democracy.
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)