Due diligence obligations with regard to human rights: Board and Works Council for legislation

Our responsibility in a globalized world. A statement on the occasion of the Human Rights Day by Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs, and Michael Brecht, Chairman of the General Works Council, Daimler AG.

Compliance with human rights is a core aspect of Daimler’s sustainable business strategy. We are committed to our responsibility in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights – including in our value chains. It is also a condition for our economic success that we assume this responsibility in a globalized world. For Daimler AG, the following applies: We want to produce vehicles without violations of human rights.

The future growth of our company, our strong position in the global market and the long-term protection of jobs in Germany require of us all a corporate strategy that is focused on sustainability.

As a globally successful manufacturer, we – the Board of Management and the General Works Council – are convinced that sustainability is an investment in our future. Sustainability is also the basis for our current economic success. It opens up new business opportunities and enables us to find solutions to environmental, social and corporate challenges – for us and for our stakeholders.

Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs, and Michael Brecht, Chairman of the General Works Council, Daimler AG.

Our global supplier network makes a significant contribution to value creation and innovation, and thus to the success of our companies. It is therefore important that our business partners meet the same social and governance standards by which we measure ourselves. Our employees, customers, investors and the public also expect this of us.

Legislation can also be useful in this way. In principle, we therefore welcome the German government’s intention to present a draft law on due diligence obligations with regard to human rights before the end of this legislative period. In our view, such legislation must fulfill three criteria:

  • It must help the people on the spot.
  • It must be practicable for companies.
  • It must not lead to disadvantages in international competition.

A law must clearly state which measures companies have to take. Due diligence obligations should only apply where companies actually have influence and legal powers. With such a “supply-chain law” in Germany, the German government would also pave the way for European regulation. But in principle, we are in favor of international regulation, because global supply chains need global standards. This would contribute to legal certainty and a level playing field. Proposed legislation should also pursue the goal of creating incentives for preventive measures in companies, thus ensuring the protection of human rights.

With our commitment, we want to achieve lasting changes locally, which will help the people on the spot in a very specific way to improve their working and living situation. Because we all have the same goal: to effectively protect human rights.

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