„Protect, Respect and Remedy“
Daimler’s commitment to upholding human rights
Daimler is committed to upholding human rights and is actively involved in protecting them within its sphere of influence. The Group is guided here by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO’s International Labor Standards, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the principles of the UN Global Compact, and the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework by Prof. John Ruggie.
Daimler’s internal principles such as the Integrity Code, the CSR Principles, employment agreements, and the Supplier Guideline are derived from these international conventions and principles.
Rejection of forced and child labor
Daimler is committed to the effective abolition of forced labor and exploitative child labor. To ensure observance of human rights in the Group’s business operations throughout the world, Daimler has established specific areas of responsibility and communication structures. A central role is played here by the Business Practices Office, which receives and processes reported violations of laws and regulations. On the occasion of the 2010 Sustainability Dialogue, Daimler concretized its plans for a “Human Rights Impact Assessment.” Using the example of one specific country, this project was discussed together with that country’s government and international human rights experts.
Evaluation at all Daimler locations
Building on the experience gained at the 2010 Stakeholder Dialogue, the Group intends this year to develop a preemptive risk management system in human rights issues. This includes the systematic evaluation of Daimler’s locations with regard to compliance with human rights. In order to gain an integrated picture of human rights issues throughout the value chain, the Group also
in tends to integrate the purchasing and sales sectors to an increasing extent.
At Daimler, maintaining contact with politicians, government organizations, and NGOs is largely the responsibility of the Global External Affairs and Public Policy office. In our interview its director, Martin Jäger, emphasizes the importance of human rights and explains Daimler’s commitment.
Mr. Jäger, in view of the large number of countries and regions in which Daimler is active, just where are the bounds of re sponsibility for the observance of human rights?
Martin Jäger
Human rights are universally valid; we must
therefore consider them in a global context. The standards we apply are valid throughout the world. Each and every vehicle we sell has undertaken a long journey through the various stages of the value chain. Each and every step in value creation must be reached by entirely ethical means, no matter in what part of the world.
What does this responsibility entail in
particular? And where does it end?
Protection of human rights is the respon -
sibility of governments. But it is up to each
and every citizen to respect and observe
them; this is where our responsibility lies.
To adapt our corporate responsibility to the new requirements, we remain in constant dialogue with the political sphere and with human rights organizations. We rely here on the well-proven achievements of other parties,
such as the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework of John Ruggie, the United Nations’ special representative for human rights and transnational corporations. We likewise demonstrate clear commitment to human rights as a signatory of the Global Compact and as a member of its LEAD Group that was presented in Davos in January 2010.
Our impact – the influence we can exercise as a company – is invariably the decisive factor. On the other hand, we cannot assume responsibility for cases of abuse over which we have no control.
What internal regulations and measures has Daimler implemented to ensure that its corporate activities neither permit nor encourage violation of human rights?
The Daimler Integrity Code and our Principles of Social Responsibility constitute the framework that gives our employees renewed and reliable orientation. Our compliance training thus also covers the topic of human rights, which are to be respected under all circumstances. The Supplier Guideline
makes the same demands of our suppliers. We cannot achieve our aim by means of monitoring and surveillance alone; in essence, it is paramount that our employees act correctly out of conviction.
All these measures must be applied wisely and comprehensively, and this must also be readily apparent to external parties. The creation of our new Board of Management portfolio for Integrity and Legal Affairs delivers a clear
message in this regard.
What operational measures are being enforced at Daimler to put an end to any violations of human rights that may occur, and to prevent any involvement in them?
We initially endeavor of course to prevent any hot spots for human rights violations from arising in the first place, for example by intensifying training for our partners. In cases where we see no other option in view of our claim to responsible corporate governance, we take the necessary operative measures and terminate the business relationship.
The President of Zimbabwe, for example, has not received any vehicles from
us for a number of years.
In what way does Daimler cooperate with institutions from the sphere of politics and society to ensure compliance with human rights and to promote democratic structures?
We remain in constant dialogue with political and social stakeholders – for example in the form of our “Sustainability Dialogue” in Stuttgart and also internationally, for instance in China. We actively incorporate our human rights initiatives into discussions and obtain feedback from experts. At last year’s event, all participants agreed that a company’s withdrawal from critical countries should only be the last resort.
Every opportunity must first be taken to enhance prosperity and to encourage respect for legislation by means of investment and local commitment. We will therefore make absolutely sure of continuing
this dialogue.
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