Sven Giesler lives two lives at Daimler: In one, he deals with the use of process materials - in the other, he is involved in the environment working group at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. He advises colleagues on environmental protection issues, runs e-bike charging stations at the plant, keeps bees and promotes the recycling of polycarbonate. All on a voluntary basis. We wanted to find out what drives him. So we visited him in his laboratory.
Mr. Giesler, how many hours do you put into your voluntary work every week? What motivates you?
Over the whole week? I would say at least five hours. We work together in small groups on a project basis. This means that everyone is committed to a topic that specially interests them personally. This way, we are able to promote different topics at the same time, such as selling discounted solar thermal systems to our employees or taking care of our Daimler bees.
What motivates me most is that our commitment has a huge multiplication effect - because the employees take home impulses from the working group. Together with trainees, for example, we have built insect hotels at the plant, which our colleagues have then made for their gardens at home. In this way, neighbors became aware of that, got information and in the end built some themselves. In this way, we can motivate not only our members but also people outside the company to work for the environment.
What kind of projects does the environment working group carry out? What are you currently involved in?
Our commitment is very diverse: we have cleaned beaches, cut meadows and reprocessed used bicycles for children in need. Currently, we are also running e-bike charging stations at the plant. This includes financing, obtaining approvals, and maintenance. Because one thing is clear: If the infrastructure is in place, more and more of our colleagues will be coming to work by bicycle.
If employees have an idea for environment projects and want to implement it, how do they proceed?
Ideas are always welcome and we are happy to hear from anyone who wants to get involved. The most important thing is that the person who has the idea is also willing to invest time. Our working group brings together colleagues from different areas - and they all contribute with a certain set of experience. This enables us to advise each other, connect with important contacts, further expand our network... Together we can make many things possible that we cannot do alone.
What do you take with you from your voluntary work for your daily business?
My job and my commitment to the environment “cheer” each other. In the use of process materials, we work hard to increase energy efficiency and constantly improve our environmental balance. In other words: I am committed to environmental protection both in my everyday work and in my voluntary commitment.
Volunteering in the company is important because...
"… it creates common ground. Achieving something together connects tremendously."
The most rewarding experience of my environmental commitment was...
"... to experience that even young children have the desire to help others. By sharing their possessions - with children in need they do not know at all."
In terms of environmental protection, a lot would be gained if...
"… we really understood how existential the survival of an intact environment is for us human beings."
What makes you optimistic that we at Daimler are on the right way in terms of sustainability?
I experience it in the working group every week: There are so many committed people who can be sustainable at the push of a button. People who are already strongly committed to the environment at home, in their private lives. If we give these people the chance to realize their ideas here at the plant as well, there is a huge potential.