Mercedes-Benz is redefining luxury by promoting sustainability

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For Mercedes-Benz, sustainability is the new luxury. The German automotive brand has been aggressive in its efforts in having a CO2-neutral fleet of new passenger cars and vans across the entire value chain and life cycle by 2039.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How does Mercedes-Benz ensure that the genuine leather its uses is sustainable?

    Mercedes suppliers are required to disclose their supply chain process, from livestock breeding to the tanning procedures, to ensure that the leather is sustainable.
  • What options does Mercedes-Benz have for customers who want animal-free leather?

    Options for animal-free alternatives include powdered cactus fibers and microfiber fleece fabric, among others.
  • What sustainable metal materials does Mercedes-Benz offer?

    Its sustainable metal materials include recycled aluminum, and soon, CO2-free steel.
  • That said, the Stuttgart-based company pays careful attention to the use of resources and is working intensively on closing material cycles, significantly increasing the proportion of recycled materials and researching new materials that are in harmony with nature.

    “Sustainability is the foundation of all Mercedes-Benz research and development activities. Our goal is to be the technology leader in environmental engineering by achieving more with less. To this end, we are accelerating our innovation speed and bringing new, sustainable technologies into series production as quickly as possible — for example from the Vision EQXX. After only a few months, we are integrating the first sustainable material from our technology program into ongoing series production. As pilot series, the EQS and EQE will be equipped with cable ducts made from UBQ, a plastic substitute material derived from household waste,” said Mercedes-Benz Group AG Member of the Board of Management and Chief Technology Officer for Development and Procurement Markus Schäfer.

    The aforementioned UBQ material is made from mixed household waste including food residues, mixed plastics, cardboard, and baby diapers. These types of household waste have so far been difficult to recycle and are therefore often thermally processed or end up in landfills.

    Mercedes-Benz also uses sustainably processed leather to provide its customers who opt for a genuine leather interior a sustainable option. According to the automaker, the sustainably processed leather starts from livestock breeding to the tanning process.

    The awarding requirement is so stringent that the animals used for producing the leather must graze in areas that do not contribute to the endangerment or loss of natural forests. Plus, leather suppliers must comply with the Animal Welfare Committee’s “5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare.”

    Customers who do not mind a more nature-friendly alternative to genuine leather can opt for animal-free materials such as powdered cactus fibers and microfiber fleece fabric as well as upholstery fabrics derived from recycled PET bottles and nylon yarn that comes from recycled carpets and recycled fishing nets.

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    In the future, Mercedes-Benz looks to develop more sustainable materials including high-performance plastic with a painted surface obtained through innovative chemical recycling, cushions made from partially CO2-based foam, a biotechnologically produced textile, and carpets made of bamboo fibers.

    Speaking of recycling, Mercedes-Benz will also use structural castings made of die-cast alloys made from 100 percent recycled aluminum scrap.

    Mercedes-Benz’s CO2-reduced steel will also be CO2-free in the future. From 2025 the automotive brand will use steel that is almost completely CO2-free in various vehicle models, thanks to manufacturing with hydrogen instead of coking coal.

    “Our vision is to transform our entire value chain into as closed a loop as possible. Our series-production vehicles already contain a large number of recycled materials. Within the next ten years, we will increase the share of secondary raw materials in our passenger car fleet to an average of 40 percent,” said Schäfer.

    Photos from Mercedes-Benz

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