Dear Readers,

2018 has shown us that sustainability has many facets: The UN Declaration of Human Rights had its 70th anniversary. At the end of the year, the EU agreed to ban single-use plastic products in order to reduce the large quantities of plastic waste. And at the Katowice Climate Conference, a set of rules was adopted to achieve the international climate targets. We, as the Daimler Group, also stand by our social and environmental responsibilities. We are convinced that this is the only way to achieve long-term business success. That’s why sustainability is an integral part of our corporate strategy and therefore an important aspect of our responsible corporate actions.

There is one topic in the automotive industry that is currently of particular interest to us: diesel engines. Our industry has itself contributed to the loss of confidence in this technology. We now have to rebuild it bit by bit. But there is one thing we must not forget: Diesel engines continue to have a CO2 advantage over comparable gasoline engines. That’s why modern diesel vehicles are also part of our sustainability efforts. We will continue to rely on them, because we must not lose sight of a much more important issue over the longer term: reducing CO2 emissions from road traffic for the sake of climate protection. The automotive industry will continue to make a contribution to this goal.

A major step towards reducing CO2 emissions from road traffic is the systematic electrification of our entire range of cars. More than 130 electric car variants are planned. smart will be all-electric as of 2020. And last year, the EQC had its world premiere – the first all-electric Mercedes (combined power consumption: 22.2 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km, preliminary figures)1. We will also electrify our vans, trucks and buses. What we need for the ramp-up of our electric offensive are state-of-the-art battery cells in large numbers. That’s why we are buying cells in a total volume of more than 20 billion euros. At the same time, we are continuing to expand our battery production: In the future, we plan to manufacture batteries in nine factories on three continents.

In order to assess the sustainability of electric cars fairly, we don’t just look at emissions. We take a holistic approach and consider the entire lifecycle – from raw-material extraction and production to operating with the cleanest possible electricity and battery recycling. We are concerned with ecological issues and topics such as the observance of human rights in the working conditions of employees along the entire supply chain, the conscientious handling of data and new forms of cooperation. Together with partners in business, politics and civil society, we are working to live up to our responsibility in those areas.

The goal is clear: Our products, and we as a company, must generally become more sustainable. Another important stage on the way there is to change over our car plants in Germany to CO2-neutral energy supply by 2022. The principles of the Global Compact are a central frame of reference for our efforts, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement provide us with important impetus. And of course, you too, dear readers. Because your feedback, especially your critical feedback, helps us to get closer to our common goal.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Dieter Zetsche
Renata Jungo Brüngger
Ola Källenius
1 Figures for electricity consumption and CO2 emissions are provisional, non-binding figures calculated by an external technical service. Figures for vehicle range are also provisional and non-binding. An EU type-approval certificate and a certificate of conformity with official figures are not yet available. The figures given above may deviate from the official figures.