Dear Readers,

Have you ever heard of the book “The Imperative of Responsibility”?1 It was written by Hans Jonas and was the best-selling philosophy book of the 1980s. Its main message is as topical today as it was then: “Act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life on earth.” Simply put: Those who act according to the motto “after me the deluge” increase the probability of deluge. Instead, we must act in a way that we can justify to our children and grandchildren. This is exactly what we are doing at Daimler.

It is no accident that no other vehicle manufacturer can look back on a tradition as long as ours. This also has to do with the fact that we take responsibility – for the economy and the ecology, for employees and society. We are not writing this because it reads well in the editorial of a sustainability report, but because the “Responsibility Principle” is a guiding principle in our business activities.

Take our products: Of our total investments of around €5.7 billion, in research and development last year, almost half went into “green” technologies. With the B-Class Electric Drive and the Denza – the first electric car to be fully developed in China for China – we have brought two more E-vehicles onto the road.

For us, PLUG-IN hybrids are a key technology in the transition to fully electric driving: By 2017, we will have brought ten PLUG-IN models onto the market – one new vehicle every four months, on average. For us, responsible action also means that we must work to make road traffic even safer. Ninety percent of traffic accidents are caused by human error. It is clear: Every accident is one too many. We also see great potential in autonomous driving. In 2013, we presented the prototype of an autonomous S-Class, followed by the first autonomous truck last year: our Future Truck.

The “Responsibility Principle” also guides us in our relationships with our employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, neighbors, and NGOs. Our guidepost in the last fifteen years has been the UN Global Compact – which addresses environmental protection and the protection of human and employee rights as well as the fight against corruption. We are convinced that only those who act ethically are also economically successful. This is what we are striving for and what we want to continue to discuss with you, dear readers, in the future as well. Let us take responsibility together!

Best regards,

  • Dr Dieter Zetsche

    Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG,
    Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars

  • Dr Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt

    Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG,
    Integrity and Legal Affairs,
    Co-Chairman of the Daimler Sustainability Board

  • Prof Dr Thomas Weber

    Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG,
    Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development,
    Co-Chairman the Daimler Sustainability Board


1 Jonas, Hans: The Imperative of Responsibility, In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age, Chicago, 1984.