Daimler is committed to combating child labor: education projects in India and the Congo – joining another initiative

04.
September 2020
Stuttgart
  • Daimler joins Responsible Mica Initiative and starts cooperation with Terre des Hommes NGO to combat child labor in Indian mica mines
  • Successful start of project with Good Shepherd International Foundation aid organization for improved living conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs: “For Daimler, the cooperation with Terre des Hommes and the Responsible Mica Initiative is another important step in combating child labor in mining regions. We will support projects in India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 1.2 million euros until 2022, creating future opportunities for the people there.”
  • Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO: “Social, environmental and economic aspects are the basis of Daimler’s sustainable business strategy. For us, ethically responsible raw-material extraction and processing begins right at the start of the value chain. We are intensively involved in the supply chain – going as far as into the raw-material mines.”

Stuttgart – Daimler AG is taking further important steps to ensure respect for human rights in the vicinity of raw-material mines: The company has joined forces with the Terre des Hommes Netherlands NGO for a project and has joined the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI) to combat child labor in Indian mica mines. The cooperation with the Bon Pasteur aid organization against child labor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was initiated as early as 2019, has meanwhile achieved initial successes.

Start of social project with Terre des Hommes in India

The cooperation with Terre des Hommes Netherlands in Jharkhand (India) aims to enable children in the vicinity of mica mines to attend school and to provide economic support for their families. The raw material mica is used, among other things, to achieve the shimmering effect of vehicle paints. The project aims to prevent parents from having to send their children to work in mica mines. At the same time, a good education makes it more likely that the children can earn their own living later as adults and that the family is not dependent on income from child labor. In addition to the educational opportunities for children, local structures are to be strengthened and information is to be provided on children's rights. To this end, Daimler and Terre des Hommes Netherlands are also working together with regional aid organizations. The project supported by Daimler will initially run until 2022.

Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs: “We are taking consistent action against child labor with three measures: our Human Rights Respect System, on-site audits and cooperation with non-profit organizations. Until 2022, we will support projects in India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 1.2 million euros. The cooperation with Terre des Hommes and the Responsible Mica Initiative is another important step in combating child labor in mining regions and creating future opportunities for the people. It is part of our sustainable business strategy to achieve lasting positive changes locally.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO: “Social, ecological and economic aspects are the basis of Daimler’s sustainable business strategy. For us, ethically responsible raw-material extraction and processing begins right at the start of the value chain. We are intensively involved in the supply chain – going as far as into the raw-material mines. This is why we are involved in the project with Terre des Hommes and are joining the Responsible Mica Initiative.”

Joining the Responsible Mica Initiative complements existing activities

By joining the Responsible Mica Initiative, Daimler AG intends to take even more consistent action against child labor in mines in the future. The initiative is committed to a fair, responsible and sustainable mica supply chain in India. To this end, Daimler AG is working with other companies, NGOs, industry associations and government representatives to develop standards for responsible working conditions, to strengthen local communities, and to support the establishment of a legal framework for the mica industry. The initiative aims to completely eliminate child labor and unacceptable working conditions in mica mines by 2022.

Systematic examination of human-rights risks

Daimler AG takes a systematic approach to counteracting human-rights violations early and actively. A strategic approach to respecting human rights, the Human Rights Respect System, has been developed both for its own majority-owned companies and for its supply chains. As an important measure, the company has identified potentially risky raw materials. The aim is to gradually make the supply chains for these potentially risky raw materials transparent and to take risk-based measures.

Two years ago, Mercedes-Benz Cars already made its paint supply chains transparent, audited mines and processors and traced the path of mica supplies. The project with Terre des Hommes and Daimler’s entry into the Responsible Mica Initiative complement these measures so that sustainable improvements can be achieved locally around the mica mines and beyond the boundaries of the company’s own supply chains. “At Mercedes-Benz, we follow the recommendation of NGOs and other external stakeholders not to exclude countries of origin of critical raw materials as sources of supply, but to work locally to improve the situation,” said Markus Schäfer.

Successful start of project with Good Shepherd International Foundation in Congo

Daimler’s approach to cobalt is similar to that for mica. As a supplement to these measures, such as checks through audits in its own supply chains, the company already launched a social project against child labor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo together with the non-profit organization Good Shepherd International Foundation (GSIF) in 2019. The aim is to improve the living conditions of the people in the Kolwezi mining region. The four-year project made a successful start and has reached important milestones after just over a year.

“A key component of the project with GSIF is to give the children in Kolwezi the opportunity of education and thus future prospects. Thanks to the cooperation with Bon Pasteur in Congo, more than 300 children have been able to attend school in the past twelve months,” said Renata Jungo Brüngger. More than 50 of them had previously worked in mines. In addition to schooling, the children also receive healthcare assistance.

Another focus is on creating alternative livelihoods, especially for women, by developing sustainable agriculture for example. More than 50 women have now received training in agricultural techniques. In the first year of the project, more than two tons of crops were already harvested, which is an important source of food and income for the families and thus an alternative to working in the mines. Additional milestones last year included educational advice for parents, education on children’s rights and training in conflict management to resolve disputes peacefully in the local community.

Daimler AG focuses on sustainable solutions in the creation of mobility. This also includes the responsible procurement of the raw materials mica and cobalt. By supporting activities to combat child labor in India and the Congo, the company is consistently following its course of protecting human rights. Daimler will provide over 1.2 million euros in funding for this purpose by 2022.

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Media

The project in India enables more children to attend school.
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With sustainable agriculture projects in the Democratic Republic of Kongo, alternative livelihoods are created especially for women.
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