Published on June 22nd, 2018 | by Subhash Nair


Mercedes-Benz Cars Examined Entire Supply Chain for Mica for Compliance & Sustainability

Mercedes-Benz Cars has taken the next step for a sustainable raw material supply chain. The company exemplarily examined the entire supply chain for mica – from the mine to the painting of vehicles in the plant. The aim of the project was to increase transparency throughout all steps of the value chain, to ensure all aspects of sustainability amongst indirect raw material suppliers. Mica is used in vehicle paints to achieve a shimmering effect. The mining of glimmer has repeatedly been connected with child labour in India. The company consistently pursues such indications. Within the framework of the systematic approach developed by Daimler to respect human rights, the Human Rights Respect System, mica was classified as potentially risky. Therefore Mercedes-Benz Cars has decided to make the supply chain transparent.

Mercedes-Benz Cars does not procure the raw material mica directly. The supply chains involve many sub-suppliers beyond the primary supply level. To safeguard the sustainability aspects in the paint supply chain, a team of quality engineers, compliance and human rights specialists audited three mines in India from which mica for Mercedes-Benz paint is sourced. After auditing the mines and converters, the team followed the path of the mica to the respective processors to exclude the possibility of mica from non-audited mines being added. In the view of the sustainability experts at Mercedes-Benz Cars, the way from the mine to the processor is the most critical phase.

During its on-the-spot visits to different stages in the mica supply chain, Mercedes-Benz Cars discovered and assessed isolated abuses and took corresponding measures. In close cooperation with direct partners one sub-supplier was excluded from the paint supply chain, for example. The company is engaged in further dialogue with this supplier to monitor possible progress.

Due diligence process for sustainability in the Mercedes-Benz Cars supply chain

Generally, the around 700 quality engineers examine existing suppliers by means of audits and verify compliance with sustainability standards by making on-the-spot visits to potential suppliers before contract placement. Around every two years after contract placement, series production suppliers are subjected to regular inspections. Together with compliance and human rights experts, specific measures to prevent child labour, securing free choice of employment and to pass on sustainability standards to subcontractors are examined.

In addition, Daimler develops the Human Rights Respect System, which is based on the group-wide Compliance Management System. It aims to identify and avoid risks and possible negative impacts of business activities on the respect for human rights at an early stage. An important step of the Human Rights Respect System is the risk analysis. Thereby around 50 raw materials have been identified as maybe risky from a human rights perspective. The Procurement and Supplier Quality unit chose mica as one of the first of these materials.

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