Auto industry associations have significant influence over policy and regulation. For the auto industry to achieve its stated net-zero ambitions in line with a 1.5°C pathway, it is important that all lobbying efforts including those of trade associations, are aligned to this ambition.
We have engaged with Mercedes-Benz Group since 2007 and are one of the Climate Action 100+ engagement leads for the company. Since autumn 2018, we have engaged on public policy advocacy with respect to climate legislation globally. Our engagement began by asking the company to explain the alignment of its public policy positions on climate change with that of the lobbying carried out either directly by the company or indirectly, including by industry associations.
Since then, we have had multiple engagement meetings, including travelling to Ottobrunn, Germany to meet with the chair. We have also raised questions, including on lobbying, at the company’s virtual AGM in 2021. To spur greater action, we intensified our engagement on lobbying in 2022 by facilitating discussions between the company and a group of investors planning to file a shareholder resolution. Here, we encouraged the company to make a shareholder resolution unnecessary by publicly committing to carrying out a lobbying review ahead of the AGM filing deadline.
Following this, we received written assurance from the company in February 2022 that it would carry out a review of its associations’ lobbying activities and publish the first “Mercedes-Benz Group Climate Policy Report” before the AGM, as well as committing to make this part of its annual disclosures 2023.
The first report was a critical step for Mercedes-Benz Group, now the company should focus on continuously improving the quality of its disclosures. The non-governmental organisation, InfluenceMap, assesses existing lobbying reports against the Global Standard on Corporate Climate Lobbying detailing investor expectations. Mercedes-Benz’ lobbying report only scores 29/100 points, thus we are continuing engagement with the company for further improvements.