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Daimler Chrysler Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility

Introduction

Daimler Chrysler AG is a German car corporation that is one of the biggest players in the automotive industry in the world. The company was formed through a merger of Daimler-Benz of Germany and Chrysler Corporation of the US. The main aim of the formation of DaimlerChrysler India Pvt. Ltd (DCIPL) was to ensure that Mercedes-Benz customers in India were able to access quality automobiles from Mercedes-Benz. The subsidiary is headquartered in Chakan industrial area in India and it assembles Mercedes Benz passenger vehicles, trucks, and Mercedes-Benz Bus Chassis. The DCIPL subsidiary is one of the main subsidiaries of the DaimlerChrysler and it is counted on in the strategy to help the parent company to attain a turnover of 25% in the Asia region.1

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Players in the automobile industry are becoming more interested in corporate social responsibility. They have realized that to build a sustainable market, they should take care of the ecological features of the markets. The automobile industry is one of the largest in the world and it is therefore expected to play a leading role in the preservation of the environment.2 As part of the CSR activities, manufactures of vehicles have now undertaken to make vehicles, which produce the least pollution to the environment. The companies have also been involved in a campaign to reduce motor accidents, the offering of driving and mechanical courses, expanding traffic and HIV/AIDS awareness among other activities. The major activity is the exploration of alternative sources of fuel by companies in the automobile industry.3

CSR initiatives in India by DaimlerChrysler

DaimlerChrysler has initiated various Corporate Social Responsibility projects in India. Most of these projects are a collaboration of the DaimlerChrysler and other stakeholders. One of the projects is the introduction of an advanced diploma in Automobile Mechatronics. This was achieved in collaboration with the Government Polytechnic, Pune.

Other CSR projects by the DaimlerChrysler in India were the construction of additional rooms for schools in the villages of Nathupur, Chakaur, and Wazirabad. The company also contributed to the construction of roads and rural electrification in those roads. Another CSR project by the DaimlerChrysler was the initiation of a school known as Swapna Sarthak. The school was to serve as an education center for children of people who worked as construction laborers in the village. The company provides uniforms, food and learning material to the children.4

DaimlerChrysler Company has also set up centers for academic excellence in 25 villages in India and it initiated a housing program for construction workers in Gurgaon. There are also many rural primary health centers in various villages to cater to the health of schoolchildren. Other CSRT projects by the company are the initiation of vocational training centers, advancing help to artisans in terms of infrastructure, contribution to the development of Arya Samaj Mandir in DLf city and horticultural projects.5

The Jatropha Biodiesel Project

Issues in Fossil fuel

Fossil fuel is the commonly used type of fuel since the industrialization era. It can be divided into coal, petroleum and natural gas.6 Fossil fuels have been preferred since they are easy to use and they use a simple direct injection. However, they have some disadvantages, which are that they are a big source of pollution to the environment. Their excavation from the ground also has negative ecological effects on the environment. The fossil fuels are almost depleted and this has led to research on alternative sources of fuel. The Jatropha biodiesel will also reduce the health problems experienced by people from much carbon emissions coming from the traditional fossil fuels. The project will also help India to stop relying on foreign power sources and help ensure that fossil fuels are not depleted soon.7

Biodiesel is seen as a good alternative to fossil fuels. This is because they solve the disadvantages that the fossil fuels have. A good example search of biodiesel is the Jatropha biodiesel project initiated in India by the DaimlerChrysler Company. This project seeks to reduce environmental pollution by fossil fuels. Jatropha biodiesel fuel will reduce the environmental negative effects of excavation of fossil fuels and it will provide more energy than the fossil fuels.8

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Jatropha Biodiesel Fact File

Jatropha is a plant grown mostly for fencing in most countries since it is not edible by animals. It is also a hardy plant and therefore resistant to harsh conditions. The plant grows easily and it does not require a lot of care when it grows. The average cost of the Jatropha seed in Rs 10 per kilogram. The plant grows well even in eroded soils. The average calorie content per kilogram in Jatropha is 2250 kilocals compared to 2510 kilocals per kilogram of an average fossil fuel diesel.9

Biodiesel generally has lower energy than diesel with about 10% but the cetane number for the biodiesel is higher than that of normal fuel. The cloud and the four points of the Jatropha biodiesel are lower than those of normal fuel are (the cloud point is lower with approximately minus three degrees Celsius while the pourpoint is lower with approximately minus six degrees Celsius). The flashpoint of the Jatropha biodiesel is 164 degrees Celsius compared to 51 degrees Celsius for the normal diesel. According to tests, Jatropha bio-fuel is heavier than diesel. However, refining and purifying the Jatropha biodiesel is hard since there strict standards for biofuels that need to be met.10

Project Milestone

The jatropha biodiesel project was initiated in 2003. It was initiated as a partnership between DaimlerChrysler India and Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI). Another partner was a local university known as the University of Hohenheim. The main aim of the project was to address issues such as unemployment and rural income, environmental-friendly fuel and reclamation of eroded land in India. The DaimlerChrysler Company is involved in what it terms as a two-by-two approach to the Jatropha biodiesel project. The company is searching for better fuels alongside better engines and different fuels for different engines. An approximate Rs 3.5 was spent in the first phase and an approximate Rs 2 will be spent in the second phase.

The project has received massive support from the community. The first phase of the project involved testing of the effect of the Jatropha bio-fuel on the Mercedes-Benz cars on various parts of India. These tests were carried out to determine if there were any long-term effects of the Jatropha bio-fuel on the engine. The tests were carried out in cold weather conditions and high altitudes in Khardungla. It was found out that the bio-fuel was more reliable in terms of power and combustion, and less harmful to the environment. There are three main components of the jatropha biodiesel project, which are testing the effects of biodiesel on engines, conducting agricultural and economic feasibility study of the project and then finding ways of improving on the biodiesel.11

The Jatropha biodiesel project is now at a very advanced stage where the vehicles used to test the biodiesel are continually showing positive results. The number of Mercedes-Benz cars using the biodiesel has increased and the partners in the project have developed storage and dispensing facility for the Jatropha biodiesel at Pune. This is aimed at providing more tests and enhancing value chain analysis of the production of the Jatropha biodiesel. More studies are being carried on the possibility of using the by-products for economic purposes. In this last phase, the project is focused on addressing rural income and employment as well as reclaiming wasted land in India.12

Conclusion

It is believed that the Jatropha project will be a source of safe, reliable, cleaner and cheaper source of energy. It will also be a competitive industry, which will contribute to the economic development of India. The by-products from the project are also important in improving the livelihoods of the Indians. These by-products include oil cakes, which can be used as manure, bio-pesticides which are more environmental-friendly, laundry soaps and potassium fertilizer. The project will turn around the lives of the locals in the long term hence it is a worthy project.

Corporate social responsibility is taking the center-stage in the strategies of most organizations. Organizations have realized the need to be more environmental-minded in their conduct of business to ensure the sustainability of the environment13. Such projects like the Jatropha biodiesel project create a positive impact on the environment and they should be encouraged. DaimlerChrysler in India has been involved in various corporate social responsibility projects in India. It has even been awarded for contribution to outstanding efforts in environmental sustainability.

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Bibliography

Mercedes-Benz India CSR. Jatropha Biodiesel Project. Mercedes-Benz, Web.

Nieuwenhuis, Paul and Wells, Peter. The automotive industry and the environment: a technical, business and social future. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing, 2003.

Pahl, Greg. Biodiesel: Growing a new energy economy. New York: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008.

Ramawat, Keen. Desert Plants: Biology and Biotechnology. Udaipur: Springer, 2010.

Werther, William and Chandler, David. Strategic corporate social responsibility: Stakeholders in a global environment. New Delhi: SAGE, 2010.

Footnotes

  1. Mercedes-Benz India CSR. “Jatropha biodiesel project.” Mercedes-Benz, Web.
  2. Paul, Nieuwenhuis and Peter, Wells. The automotive industry and the environment: a technical, business and social future. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing, 2003.
  3. Paul, Nieuwenhuis and Peter, Wells. The automotive industry and the environment: a technical, business and social future. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing, 2003.
  4. Mercedes-Benz India CSR. “Jatropha biodiesel project.” Mercedes-Benz, Web.
  5. Mercedes-Benz India CSR. Jatropha biodiesel project. Mercedes-Benz, Web.
  6. Greg, Pahl. Biodiesel: Growing a new energy economy. New York: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008.
  7. Greg, Pahl. Biodiesel: Growing a new energy economy. New York: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008.
  8. Keen, Ramawat. Desert Plants: Biology and Biotechnology. Udaipur: Springer, 2010.
  9. Keen, Ramawat. Desert Plants: Biology and Biotechnology. Udaipur: Springer, 2010.
  10. Keen, Ramawat. Desert Plants: Biology and Biotechnology. Udaipur: Springer, 2010.
  11. Mercedes-Benz India CSR. Jatropha biodiesel project. Mercedes-Benz, Web.
  12. William, Werther and David, Chandler. Strategic corporate social responsibility: Stakeholders in a global environment. New Delhi: SAGE, 2010.
  13. William, Werther and David, Chandler. Strategic corporate social responsibility: Stakeholders in a global environment. New Delhi: SAGE, 2010.

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