Along with the fuel economy, the key factors that inﬂuence environmental compatibility are the consumption of resources used to manufacture our vehicles and the environmental impact of such production operations. The strategic corporate objective in the “Green Production Daimler” project is therefore to continuously reduce resource consumption and increase the eﬃciency of resource utilization. To this end, our MBC division has set itself the following targets:
- Speciﬁc energy consumption (per vehicle): - 25 % by 2022 relative to 2015
- Speciﬁc water consumption (per vehicle): - 15 % by 2022 relative to 2015
- Speciﬁc waste volume (per vehicle): - 25 % by 2022 relative to 2015
Initiatives for ensuring raw materials from safe origins. As part of our campaign to ensure the sustainable procurement of raw materials, we have teamed up in various initiatives with industry associations, organizations and competitors. Our common goal here is to ensure certiﬁable standards, greater transparency in procurement and safe origins with respect to potentially risky raw materials. With these goals in mind, Daimler joined the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, the Responsible Mineral Initiative, the Responsible Steel Initiative and the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative in 2018.
Greater transparency in the supply chain. As part of our eﬀorts to establish a sustainable raw material supply chain, we reviewed the complete supply chain for the paint raw material mica in 2018 — from the mine to the painting of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in manufacturing plants. Our aim here was to increase transparency throughout all stages of the value chain in order to ensure to the greatest extent possible that indirect raw material sub-suppliers also comply with all sustainability requirements. Mica is used in vehicle paints to achieve a shimmering eﬀect. However, the mining of mica has repeatedly been connected with child labor in India, and we therefore systematically investigate any indications of such child labor, even though we do not procure this raw material directly. Within the framework of this approach, a team of quality engineers and compliance and human rights specialists audited three mines in India that supply mica for Mercedes-Benz paints. After auditing the mines and processing companies, the team followed the path of the mica to the facilities used for further processing in order to exclude the admixture of mica from non-audited mines or illegal sources.
Environmental risk management
Sustainability in the supply chain
Reducing environmental risks. In 1999, we developed a methodology for assessing environmental risks (environmental due diligence) as a tool for preventing risks to the environment and complying with statutory requirements. We have applied this methodology throughout the Group since 2000, both internally and also externally in connection with our acquisition plans. During this period we have conducted three complete risk assessments at the Daimler production plants of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Trucks and Daimler Buses.
The fourth round of environmental risk assessments began in 2014. A number of new risk aspects have been integrated into the topic areas. Nonetheless, we have not changed the methods or the tools, because we want these results to be comparable with the results of the assessments that have already been carried out. In this way, all the production locations are being visited and assessed in ﬁve-year cycles according to well-established and standardized procedures. The results are reported to the plant and divisional managements, and the Group annually assesses the implementation of the recommendations for minimizing risks at the locations. In this way, we are striving to enforce the high environmental standards to which we have committed ourselves at all of our production locations around the world.
In 2018, we evaluated the production locations of the Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing business area and a number of CKD plants of MBC. The most important results were in the areas of explosion protection and the proper storage of hazardous substances.
Expansion of battery production. Our ability to produce high-voltage batteries in our own battery manufacturing network that will stretch across three continents is of crucial importance for safeguarding the production of our electric vehicles. Our ﬁrst battery production facility is already up and running in Kamenz and additional facilities have been planned or are now being built at six locations: Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Sindelﬁngen, Kamenz (Germany); Beijing (China); Tuscaloosa, Alabama (USA); and Bangkok (Thailand). Our activities here also include the expansion of battery recycling operations. The expansion of our battery production also underscores the rapid and necessary transformation of our company into an organization that focuses on electric mobility. All in all, we are investing more than €1 billion in the global battery manufacturing network, which is part of Mercedes-Benz Cars’ global production network.
Battery cells with a total volume of €20 billion. In mid-December 2018, Daimler took a further step to safeguard the transformation of our company into a provider of electric mobility products and solutions. After investing billions of euros in the development of our electric ﬂeet and the expansion of our global battery network, Daimler is now systematically forging ahead into the electric future with the purchase of battery cells for more than €20 billion. Among other things, Daimler plans to have a total of 130 electric variants on oﬀer at Mercedes-Benz Cars by 2022, and we will also launch additional electric vans, buses and trucks. With its extensive orders for battery cells until the year 2030, the company has reached yet another important milestone with regard to the electriﬁcation of vehicles to be marketed under the EQ product and technology brand in the future. In this manner, Daimler and its supplier partners plan to safeguard the supply of materials to the global battery production network today and in the future by using the latest technologies. Our suppliers already manufacture battery cells in Asia and Europe and are continuing to expand their operations in Europe and the United States as well.
Electric mobility thought through to the end. We take a holistic view of electric mobility. In an eﬀort to implement the recycling process chain and safeguard future raw material supplies for electric mobility, Daimler AG is actively involved in the research and development of new recycling technologies. With the establishment of our wholly owned subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH, we are now focusing for example on reusing batteries. After all, the life cycle of a battery does not have to end after it has done its job in a vehicle, as the battery can be reused for stationary energy storage devices. Battery systems that have yet to be installed in electric vehicles, and have therefore remained in stock as spare parts, can also be used as energy storage units.
Coal-ﬁred power station becomes a battery storage system. The use of new and used battery systems from hybrid and electric vehicles as stationary energy storage units is a key component of our overall electric mobility concept. In 2018, for example, Daimler, Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH, GETEC ENERGIE AG and The Mobility House AG technology company put an innovative battery storage system into operation at a decommissioned coal-ﬁred power plant in Elverlingsen in the South Westphalia region of Germany. A total of 1,920 new high-voltage battery modules for the third generation of the electric smart are now at the facility waiting to be used in cars — and serving as stationary storage units in the meantime. In this manner, the major spare-parts storage facility is making an installed power output of 8.96 MW and energy capacity of 9.8 MWh available to the energy market and thus enabling the stabilization of the grid with balancing power as well.
The eﬃcient double usage of the battery systems here improves the life cycle assessment and also lowers the life cycle costs of electric mobility. The batteries themselves also beneﬁt because in order to maintain their performance, they need to be “cycled” on a regular basis during the storage period — i.e. charged and discharged in a non-disruptive manner, which is what occurs automatically in a stationary storage unit.
If after a long period of use in a vehicle the capacity of a high-voltage battery falls below 80 percent of the original capacity, it can still be used eﬀectively in second-life battery storage systems. We put a 12.8 MWh battery storage plant into operation in Lünen in 2016.
Nature conservation and biodiversity. Along with measures to reduce emissions and protect the climate, soil, and water resources, the maintenance and promotion of biodiversity is also a key component of our company’s sustainability strategy. The decline of biodiversity is a global problem caused and accelerated by the extensive exploitation of resources, the increase in CO2 emissions, the environmental impact of industrial production and global warming.
In view of this development, we feel we have an obligation to protect and maintain biodiversity. For this reason, we have developed an internal biodiversity guideline that includes practical recommendations for utilizing land in line with natural conditions at our various plants. The guideline encourages and motivates employees and managers to actively promote and implement measures that further biodiversity. Exemplary initiatives for maintaining biodiversity at our locations range from the establishment of nesting places for local bird populations to the construction of “insect hotels” and beehives, the creation of green spaces on roofs and facades, and the construction of dry streams, rock gardens and ﬂower meadows. The latter also serve as popular places of relaxation for our employees.
In April 2018, our Gaggenau plant was presented with an award for redesigning an area known as “Bergmanngarten” under the motto “Historic company site — opportunities for promoting biodiversity.” In 2018, the Daimler Trucks site Rastatt once again received an award for “Nature meets industry — even small spaces can promote the protection of endangered species.”
These awards conﬁrm that we’re on the right track when it comes to maintaining biodiversity and they also motivate us to continue with our eﬀorts in this regard. Activities in Gaggenau primarily focused on replacing lawns with ecologically friendly greenﬁeld concepts; some 25,000 square meters of lawn space have been converted in this manner to date. Many biodiversity activities are coordinated closely with the NABU environmental organization, local unit Rastatt, in line with the “111-endangered-species basket” deﬁned by the state government of Baden-Württemberg.
A further practical example of our eﬀorts to maintain biodiversity is oﬀered by the detailed mapping of plants and trees at our plant site in Pune, India. The documentation of more than 2,500 trees in a dedicated database and the labeling of plants with QR codes allow us to continuously monitor the development of plants and trees at the site. Plant employees can also view the mapping results at a special website set up for this purpose.
Environmental protection at the new Immendingen Test Center. Our new Testing and Technology Center in Immendingen brings together our global vehicle testing activities. The center became fully operational in 2018, and we also launched a new construction project at the site in September 2018 to complete an ultramodern emissions testing center there by 2020.
The testing and technology center built on a former military site is not only considered exemplary because of the open and transparent overall process applied there; it’s also a model facility in terms of sustainability and environmental protection. For example, Daimler cooperated with associations for the protection of nature and the environment on the development of extensive nature conservation activities at the site and also engaged in a constructively critical dialog with these associations. The goal here was, and still is, to enable technological progress in harmony with nature. In line with this approach, habitats for plants and animals have been created in Immendingen, and areas at the site have been reforested and planted. A wildlife passage also crosses through the entire site. In this way we are carrying out oﬀsetting and replacement measures over a total area of 625 hectares in accordance with the relevant nature conservation laws.