Daimler Sustainability Dialogue. Further milestones of the initiative

November 20, 2019 - CO2-reduction and sustainable mobility are not only important social challenges, but also key elements of Daimler's business strategy. The 12th edition of the Daimler Sustainability Dialogue discussed what this means in practice.


Creating lasting values with sustainable mobility

12. Daimler Sustainability Dialogue

CO2-reduction and sustainable mobility are not only important social challenges, but also key elements of Daimler's business strategy. The 12th edition of the Daimler Sustainability Dialogue discussed what this means in practice.

On 20 and 21 November 2019, the Dialogue brought together over 100 representatives from industry, science, politics, NGOs, associations, trades unions and municipalities in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. One focus was on urban mobility. One of our corporate tasks is to improve urban mobility: all the business units at Daimler make a contribution to this with their products and services – from environmentally compatible passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses right up to attractive financing and leasing terms for electric vehicles.

On the first evening, podium discussions on the subject of urban mobility took place with international experts from sciences such as e.g. behavioural economy and traffic research, individuals responsible for urban public transport and representatives from urban administrations.

Mobility is undergoing a profound transformation. Daimler intends to shape this transformation on a sustainable basis, and live up to its social, economic and ecological responsibilities. The Sustainability Dialogue is an important platform on which to discuss and foster solutions for the mobility of the future with our stakeholders.

The aims of the event are a constructive dialogue and knowledge transfer, the definition of action areas and appropriate measures, and the joint consideration of current sustainability questions. The participants are divided into working groups to discuss key topics relating to the environment, human resources, society and communication. The corporate representatives of Daimler take the input from external participants on board, drive the implementation of agreed objectives forward with the stakeholders over the course of the year and report on the progress achieved at the next event.

Transparency for e-mobility

One key aspect of the sustainable business strategy of Daimler AG is electric mobility. With “Ambition 2039”, Mercedes-Benz is working on offering a CO2-neutral new passenger car fleet in 20 years. One important aspect of sustainable mobility is transparency. This is why Mercedes-Benz AG is the first premium automobile manufacturer to have had its climate protection objectives scientifically verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI). This means that the company is in line with the requirements of the Paris World Climate Accord.

Daimler Truck AG is likewise following a sustainable corporate strategy, and aims to offer only new vehicles that are CO2-neutral in driving operation (“tank to wheel”) in the triad markets of Europe, Japan and NAFTA by 2039. Already by 2022, Daimler Trucks & Buses plans to include series production vehicles with battery-electric drive its main sales regions of Europe, USA and Japan to its portfolio. By the end of the next decade, Daimler Trucks & Buses will extend its range of vehicles with hydrogen-powered series production vehicles.

The sustainable business strategy of Daimler AG

To Daimler, sustainability means creating value for all stakeholders on a lasting basis: customers, employees, investors, business partners and society as a whole. The basis for this is the sustainable business strategy of Daimler. With this, the company takes responsibility for the economic, ecological and social effects of its business activities and looks at the entire value chain.

Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI) defines CO2 targets that support the Paris Climate Accord

Transparency initiative in climate protection & prevention of air pollution

CO2 reduction and sustainable mobility are key elements of the business strategy. As part of “Ambition 2039”, Mercedes-Benz is working on offering a CO2-neutral new car fleet in 20 years. Mercedes-Benz AG is the first premium automobile manufacturer to have had its climate protection objectives scientifically verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI). The company supports the Paris World Climate Accord with these targets. The aim of this accord is to limit global warming to well under 2°C compared to its pre-industrial level.

“For the reduction of CO2 emissions, we have set ourselves ambitious targets and are in the process of implementing concrete measures. For example, we are investing a ten-digit figure in the expansion of our electric fleet. We are aware of our responsibility and are doing our part,” says Ola Källenius, Chairman of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. “By having our climate protection targets scientifically recognised by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), we ensure that they support the path of the Paris Climate Accord.”

Mercedes-Benz AG has set itself the ambitious goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the new car fleet during the operating phase (part of Scope 3) by more than 40 percent by 2030 compared to 2018.

Therefore, Mercedes-Benz is relying on an intelligent mix of the latest combustion engines and partial electrification using 48-volt technology, tailor-made plug-in hybrids and battery or fuel cell powered electric vehicles. By using so-called “e-fuels”, combustion engines could also become “CO2-neutral” in the future, so to speak. E-fuels are synthetic fuels. They become a real alternative when the power to synthesise them is derived from renewable sources and the CO2 is obtained from the atmosphere, or comes from biomass.

However, apart from the purely technological possibilities, the expansion of the infrastructure and market-specific conditions, the determining factor of the climate protection targets will ultimately be one thing above all: the actual buying decision of the customers in favour of these efficient products.

Markus Schäfer, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development: “There is no question that our long-term goal of CO2-neutral mobility goes hand in hand with electrification. Our strategic thrust is very clear: 'Electric first'. When we develop a new vehicle architecture, we first design the car as a purely electric vehicle. Only then do we think about any modifications, e.g. a plug-in hybrid drive. In our view, and at least in the medium term, there is not only one drive system of the future, but several. We are therefore taking this road open for sustainable technologies so that we can react flexibly to individual demand situations of our customers and the development of markets.”

The Science Based Targets Initiative: an alliance of climate protection organisations

In addition of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the new car fleet during the operating phase, the direct CO2 emissions by the plants and energy procurement (Scope 1 and 21 will be halved compared to the reference year 2018 by 2030 according the report profile)2. This production-related reduction target is in line with current scientific findings given a maximum global warming of 1.5 degrees. How Daimler generally calculates its CO2 emissions can be read here.

In mid-2015 an alliance between the renowned environmental and climate protection organisations CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project), UNGC (United Nations Global Compact), WRI (World Resources Institute) and WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature) founded the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI). The aim was to create a framework within which companies can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions on a scientific basis. Daimler already joined this initiative in 2016, with the aim of submitting binding objectives within three years.

To have their scientifically based climate targets officially recognised, the companies involved submit their plans to the Science Based Targets Initiative whose experts thoroughly examine them. To date almost 700 companies have joined the initiative.

To obtain a positive assessment, the participating companies must show that their targets reflect the latest state of research. They also need to achieve a minimum saving that is necessary for a market participant in the relevant sector and of this size to achieve the global targets of the Paris Accord.

From 2022 European Daimler plants will produce on a CO2-neutral basis


In its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Daimler also places a focus on its own plants and procurement of the energy they use (Scope 1 and 2). From 2022 all European Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans plants will produce on a CO2-neutral basis. New plants are already being planned with this requirement in mind. The European plants of Daimler Trucks & Buses are also to have CO2-neutral power supplies by 2022. All other plants will follow.

CO2-neutral production at Mercedes-Benz Cars plants

Factory 56 showcases the direction: this new plant on the Mercedes-Benz site in Sindelfingen is supplied with CO2-neutral energy right from the beginning. A photovoltaic system is installed on the roof which feeds 5000 MWh of self-generated, green energy to the plant each year. This would be enough to charge an electric vehicle under the product and technology brand EQ, e.g. the electric EQC SUV, 72,000 times each year. This corresponds to a mileage of around 36 million kilometres.

“With CO2-neutral production in our European Mercedes-Benz passenger car plants, we can make a decisive contribution towards the achievement of our company's sustainability targets. Factory 56 acts as a blueprint for our future plants – not only with reference to the latest production technologies, but also with respect to environmental protection, conservation of resources and sustainability. We are already implementing this successfully in many Mercedes-Benz plants,” says Jörg Burzer, member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG for Production and Supply Chain Management.

The smart plant in Hambach (France) already obtained its energy supplies from renewable sources (green power, biogas) and produces on a CO2-neutral basis. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Jawor (Poland) will also produce on a CO2-neutral basis when it goes into operation next year. Mercedes-Benz AG is one of the first major industrial companies in Poland to have concluded contracts with local green power and heat providers. This initiative is aimed at long-term perspectives when making decisions and acting in a socially responsible manner. 100 percent of the power for the new plant is obtained from renewable energies from a windfarm. The heating requirement is covered by a heating plant directly adjacent to the site. This supplies energy from renewable sources.

In Germany Mercedes-Benz AG will also obtain power from German windfarms, the subsidies for which end from 2020 according to EC renewable energy legislation. Mercedes-Benz AG is the first major industrial customer to obtain power from this source, and is thereby safeguarding the long-term further operation of six north German windfarms. This green energy is to be used e.g. for EQC production at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, and for battery production at the location of Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE in Kamenz, Saxony.

Energy efficiency is already a fact of life in production: various technical measures such as optimisation of the lighting and ventilation technology (e.g. more efficient systems, optimisation of activation times), intelligent management (e.g. automatic switch-off of power consumers during breaks and production downtimes) or the use of efficient technology during planning (e.g. highly-efficient turbo compressors for central compressed air production, energy-efficient pumps) further contribute to energy savings. These measures are assisted by efficient management of the electrical power supply.

An energy management system for the continuous reduction of energy consumption has been implemented. The workforce in the plants is made aware by a host of measures. These include generally visible energy-saving tips, training and energy forums in Production. The employees make a major contribution to energy savings with their energy awareness and innovative ideas.

CO2-neutral energy supplies at Daimler

From 2022, all Daimler AG locations in Germany will procure their electrical power from wholly renewable energy sources. A cross-location energy contract safeguards full coverage of the power requirement at all times, using wind, solar and hydroelectric power.

Not only the European production plants of Mercedes-Benz are being converted to green energy. By 2022, the European plants of Daimler Trucks & Buses will be CO2-neutral, too. Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz Vans will be producing with green power from 2022 in all of its own production locations worldwide.

The EQC as the trailblazer for the electric car initiative

360° environmental check

With the EQC 400 4MATIC (combined power consumption: 20.8 - 19.7 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)3 Mercedes-Benz has brought the first vehicle under the product and technology brand EQ to market this year. This model recently successfully absolved the 360° environmental check. The results were comprehensively verified by TÜV Süd.

The environmental check is based on an eco balance in which the environmental effects of the car are examined over the entire lifecycle, from the mining of raw materials to production and use, and eventual disposal. In this respect the EQC 400 4MATIC benefits from continuous locally emission-free operation and the high efficiency of the electric powertrain.

During the use phase the driver of an electric car can directly influence the energy balance – depending on the type of power used for recharging. The eco balance, and especially the CO2 balance, varies accordingly when examining the entire lifecycle of the Mercedes-Benz EQC with a mileage of 200,000 kilometres. At present, 16.4 tonnes of CO2 are emitted during its production. If its batteries are charged from the EU power mix, this adds a further 16 tonnes. All in all, the emitted quantity of CO2 is then 32.4 tonnes.

However, if the power for driving is obtained from renewable sources, only an additional 0.7 tonnes of CO2 is emitted over the lifecycle (car production, energy consumption in operation, end of life). The overall CO2 emissions are then 17.1 tonnes. By using clean energy to charge the batteries, the CO2 footprint of the EQC can be practically halved.

Supply chain: The next EQ generation will save per vehicle well over 30 percent of the carbon footprint of the entire battery

Climate-neutral mobility requires a fundamental transformation of the company in fewer than three product cycles. The way Mercedes-Benz is taking towards sustainable mobility is innovation – as a comprehensive approach along the entire value creation chain. Because outsourced raw materials and components account for a major proportion of the greenhouse gases generated during the production of vehicles.

For the next vehicle generation of the product and technology brand EQ, part of the battery cells will be produced using 100 percent electricity from renewable energies, for example. This will save well over 30 percent of the carbon footprint of future vehicle models’ entire battery.

The path to sustainable global transport of goods and passengers

Daimler Trucks & Buses

CO2-neutral goods and passenger transport and accident-free driving are part of the sustainable business strategy of Daimler Trucks & Buses. Being a leader in both areas, the division is playing an active part today already. For the future too, the company is investing massively in these technologies to bring them to series production – across its brands, business units and regions.

Daimler Trucks & Buses, one of the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturers, aims to offer only new vehicles that are CO2-neutral in driving operation (“tank to wheel”) in the triad markets of Europe, Japan and NAFTA by 2039. Already by 2022, Daimler Trucks & Buses plans to include series production vehicles with battery-electric drive in its vehicle portfolio in these key sales regions. Medium and heavy-duty trucks with such drive technologies are already undergoing intensive field tests with customers: the Mercedes-Benz eActros heavy-duty truck in Germany and Switzerland, the medium-duty Freightliner eM2 and the heavy-duty Freightliner eCascadia in the United States. Improving the quality of city life is the aim of the all-electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro city bus, which has already been in series production since 2018. It is operating e.g. in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg and Switzerland – with further markets to come in 2020 and subsequent years. As of 2021, the eCitaro will enter the market with the next-generation battery, and in the second half of 2020 with solid-state batteries. As the electrification of bus fleets involves enormous changes for transport operators, Daimler Buses joins with its customers in the form of comprehensive consulting.

By the end of the next decade, Daimler Trucks & Buses will extend its range of vehicles with hydrogen-powered series production vehicles. Related to this, Daimler Trucks presented the fuel cell prototype “Vision F-Cell” under the FUSO brand at the Tokyo Motor Show in Japan at the end of October. Daimler Buses plans to offer the eCitaro for urban public transport with hydrogen-based fuel cell power as a range extender as of 2022.

Because every accident is one too many: Active Brake Assist ABA 5 as standard in the Mercedes-Benz Actros from 2020

The vision of accident-free driving has guided the actions of Daimler Trucks & Buses for decades. The way to achieve this is to develop high-end safety systems. The company has done pioneering work in this field over decades. For example, practically all safety systems that are now standard in the industry first entered the market in a Mercedes-Benz truck. Thanks to the close cooperation between business units, these technologies are very soon adopted at Daimler Buses and by the other truck brands of Daimler Truck AG.

Alongside the development of active safety systems, Mercedes-Benz Trucks now pursues the spread of active safety systems even more systematically. For example, from January 2020 the premium manufacturer will introduce its latest-generation Active Brake Assist (ABA 5) as standard in its heavy-duty model series on a Europe-wide basis. Furthermore, Cornering Assist, first introduced in 2016, is now not only available ex factory, but also as a retrofit. Thus, Daimler Trucks & Buses is meeting its social responsibility to prevent accidents involving commercial vehicles with active safety systems

Smart mobility for a better quality of life in the cities

Mercedes-Benz Vans

More and more people around the world are living in urban environments, and the trend is increasing. Mobility is of decisive importance for urban populations – and has consequences for traffic densities and the quality of urban life. The deciding factors are therefore a flexible mobility mix and the further expansion of e-mobility. Mercedes-Benz Vans is helping to shape this transformation with its products and services. The objective: an urban passenger and goods transport system that will be even more efficient, safe and environmentally friendly in the future, despite increasing numbers of urban inhabitants. City inhabitants and fleet customers are already able to fall back on numerous mobility packages offered by Mercedes-Benz Vans.

On-demand transit with ViaVan: ride-pooling as a supplement to urban public transport

ViaVan brings passengers who want to travel in a similar direction at a similar time together in one vehicle. In this way the ride-pooling concept avoids individual journeys and helps to reduce traffic density and the associated emissions. The on-demand transit service ViaVan is a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Vans and the US company Via. Since 2017 ViaVan has been supplementing and strengthening the transport infrastructure in cities in close cooperation with cities and public transport operators. ViaVan currently operates a total of ten services in Europe, among them in London, Amsterdam and Berlin. Further cities are coming.

Since autumn 2018, the on-demand urban public transport service “BerlKönig”, which ViaVan operates together with the Berlin Transport Authority (BVG), has been supplementing Berlin's local public transport. Since starting operations, the “BerlKönig” service has already taken over one million passengers to their destinations – using a Mercedes-Benz fleet with a 50-percent proportion of electric vehicles. The electric Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer (combined power consumption: 24.2 - 20.2 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)4 is already a fixed part of the “BerlKönig” service. By the end of 2020, all “BerlKönig” vehicles are to be electrically powered.

VAN2SHARE technology plays an important role in “BerlKönig” fleet management – a sharing platform provided by Mercedes-Benz Vans which links drivers, vehicles and assignments with each other.

Comprehensive electromobility from Mercedes-Benz Vans

Not only the “BerlKönig” shows that Mercedes-Benz Vans is systematically driving the electrification of its product portfolio forward with locally emission-free electric drive systems, thereby contributing to more sustainable mobility in urban delivery and passenger transportation. The first of these vehicles was the eVito Panel Van, closely followed by the eVito Tourer. And throughout the course of this year, the eSprinter will also join the line-up. It is also this year that Mercedes-Benz Vans presented the EQV (Combined power consumption: 26.4-26.3 kWh/100 km; combined CO₂ emissions: 0 g/km. * **) as the first purely electrically powered people carrier in the premium segment. The vehicle has a range of 405 km (provisional figure) with unrestricted use of the interior space.

However, the eDrive@VANs strategy not only includes electrification of the vehicle fleet, but also the design of an overall system solution for the relevant area of application. This includes e.g. advice on the selection of vehicles, support with tools such as the eVAN Ready app or a comprehensive view of the total cost of ownership. Another decisive factor for potential users of electric vans is the analysis of organisational and technical parameters at the locations of commercial customers. It is the integration of an intelligent charging infrastructure concept that creates the conditions for a commercial fleet to conserve resources while remaining financially competitive.

Well connected: making vans safer and more efficient

Alongside individual mobility, transporting goods has a key role in urban traffic. Mercedes-Benz Vans offers solutions for this with its digital service Mercedes PRO connect. The Mercedes PRO connect service provides fleet customers with data they can use to analyse the driving style of their drivers and its effects on e.g. fuel consumption or wear & tear. Drivers can receive corresponding training according to the results. Training courses can help to reduce fuel consumption and the risk of accidents. By now, Mercedes PRO connect is available in 19 European countries and in the USA. This web-based service benefits fleet operators ranging from small tradesmen to large fleets.

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