In 2012, we spent a total of €58 million supporting nonprofit institutions and socially beneficial projects.As a good corporate citizen, we want to go beyond our business operations and create socially beneficial added value in the communities near our company locations, while also helping to overcome social challenges and promoting intercultural dialog.
Areas in which we promote socially beneficial causes. We support projects that promote the common good. By helping people help themselves, these projects have a long-term impact and contribute to sustainable development. We provide support in the form of donations, sponsorships, corporate volunteering, funding through foundations and projects that we have initiated
ourselves. Our support focuses on areas connected to our role as a good corporate citizen. These activities enable us to put our special skills and key expertise as an automaker to good use in the communities in which we do business worldwide. Among other things, we promote science, technology, environmental protection, the arts and culture, education, charitable projects, community programs and political dialog. (See graphic 5.02) In addition, we are involved in a variety of different initiatives for enhancing traffic safety. (See mobilekids.net and mbdrivingacademy.com)
Requirements for receiving our support. Due to the worldwide scope of our activities, the selection and organization of social responsibility initiatives require a high level of transparency and in-depth knowledge of local conditions. In 2012, we therefore consolidated our donation
and sponsorship guidelines and instituted more stringent selection criteria. The guidelines create a mandatory system for regulating the Group’s entire support and funding process. They ensure that our support is provided according to verifiable criteria and that it meets legal requirements and ethical standards. To ensure transparent structures and clear areas of responsibility, we have also developed Group-wide guidelines for donations and sponsorships.
The Donations and Sponsorship Committee coordinates and assumes responsibility for the strategic focus of the various activities. The committee cooperates very closely with the Board of Management and our various sales and production locations throughout the world to define the areas in which action needs to be taken and to approve all of the major projects and funding activities. All of the Group’s donations and sponsorships are registered in a database so that the activities can be systematically monitored with the help of regular analyses and reports. In-house campaigns and projects help raise our employees’ awareness of social responsibility issues. Our compliance training program also teaches managers how they should deal with donations and sponsorships.
Donations to political parties must be expressly authorized by the Board of Management. In 2012, we supported political parties only in Germany, donating a total of €435,000 (2011: €435,000) to the CDU, the SPD, the FDP, the CSU and the Greens.
Funding through foundations. Because international knowledge sharing and the promotion of innovation are key conditions of sustainable development, we support universities, research institutes and interdisciplinary science projects throughout the world in the following areas:
mankind, technology and the environment. We have consolidated these measures in foundations. A further focus of our work through foundations is the promotion of sports activities.
The Daimler and Benz Foundation supports research projects in the areas of mobility, environmental protection and safe technology. Within the framework of the Founders’ Association for German Science, the Daimler Foundation is involved, among other things, in selecting the winners of the German Future Prize for Technology and Innovation.
Mercedes-Benz is a global partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which uses sports to promote social change. The foundation has collected more than €40 million since its inception and currently supports around 90 socially beneficial sports projects for helping disadvantaged children and teenagers around the world.
The arts and culture. As a promoter of creative change, we place high priority on the sponsorship of the arts and culture. Through a long-term partnership with the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart art museum, we are promoting the city’s cultural life and also offering educational opportunities
to our employees and their families. Last year, we also intensified our partnerships with leading art institutions and events at our international business locations. Examples include the Art Beijing trade show in China and the Villa Romana artists’ residence in Italy. In addition, we support Germany’s national youth orchestra and help with the Emerging Artist Award program in the United States.
Education. Improving access to education is one of the most long-lasting investments in society. That’s why we are involved in numerous projects that support young people, as they will be the skilled employees of tomorrow. The most prominent example of this involvement is our
Genius education initiative. The initiative is geared toward children and teenagers and combines various educational projects focusing on future technologies, mobility, and environmental issues.
With the support of the initiative Big Brothers Big Sisters in Germany, we are also helping to expand mentoring activities for socially disadvantaged children and teenagers between the ages of six and 16. The mentors provide the young people with help, encouragement and new perspectives on the various situations they face in their lives.
Charitable projects. As a result of our global presence, we regard it as our mission to support aid projects that improve the communities in which we do business. In addition to offering effective disaster relief when necessary, we have initiated a number of projects for providing long-term
assistance to enable people to help themselves. For example, through its SEED (Sustainability Education Empowerment Development) program, Daimler Financial Services assists slum inhabitants and street children in Chennai, India. Other initiatives include the micro-credit program for women in need in Ethiopia, which we developed in cooperation with the Menschen für Menschen foundation, and our global partnership with the SOS Children’s Villages organization. We also support the work of the German chapter of Doctors of the World, which organizes more than 350 healthcare programs in almost 80 countries.
As part of our national sponsorship program, we also donated money last year to charitable initiatives that focus on helping families and children in Germany. Among them is the brotZeit project, which combines programs for supporting active senior citizens with the care of socially disadvantaged children. Needy children are served balanced breakfasts free of charge, and senior-citizen volunteers provide slow learners with individualized support.
Corporate volunteering. We are working together with our employees to improve living conditions in the communities in which we do business. Among other things, we further expanded our ProCent initiative in the year under review. In this initiative, Daimler employees
voluntarily donate the cent amounts of their net salaries to nonprofit organizations. Every donated cent is matched by the company. The donations are collected in a fund and used to support environmentally and socially beneficial projects that are recommended and implemented by the company’s employees. In 2012, ProCent began to support its first group of 100 projects.
On the Day of Caring, employees from Daimler Financial Services contribute a day of work to support the company’s socially and environmentally beneficial projects. During this event, the employees help to build schools, construct housing for people in need, and renovate social welfare facilities. In 2012, the Day of Caring was held in 18 countries worldwide.