Climate change has surely been in the back of many people’s minds for a number of years, but it has often felt like a faraway problem – one that would affect us in the distant future. However, that future may not be so distant after all. Seeing the world around us continually changing, it’s becoming clear that now is the time for us to act. Deutsche Post DHL, along with its freight forwarding division, DHL Global Forwarding, is one of the biggest proponents for change. Through its global GoGreen initiative, the company is strengthening its efforts to lead the charge for a greener world and a better environment for us all.
As one of the world’s largest, most well-known corporations, the organization’s activities have a significant impact on the environment, but this also gives the company a lot of influence to effect change. By changing their own processes and mindset, DHL is not only working to reduce its own impact on the environment, but is also encouraging its partners and customers to consider making changes as well. To learn more about DHL Global Forwarding’s goals and new green solutions, we spoke with Mr. Edwin Pinto, Country Sales Manager, DHL Global Forwarding Thailand.
DHL’s GoGreen initiative was launched in 2007, with the goal of focusing and furthering the organization’s commitment to the global environment. “DHL aims to be provider of choice for customers, investment of choice for investors and employer of choice for employees. At the heart of it, we want to be known all over the world as a responsible organization, and GoGreen is at the center of this whole strategy. Therefore,” says Mr. Pinto, “It plays a big role in all of our decision-making. If we have to make a decision which is not in line with our strategy – GoGreen being an important part of it – we don’t go ahead with it. For example, we recently replaced our fleet of trucks in Germany with an all-electric fleet. Initially, it cost us much more, but over a long period of time, we’ll have much less impact on the environment and contribute much more to society.”
The first phase of GoGreen involved looking inward at DHL’s own activities and achieving the highest levels of transparency. The company measured its own impact and set a baseline for future goals, as Mr. Pinto elaborates, “The first thing we did when starting GoGreen was to look inwards. We measured our own impact and set the 2007 baseline which helped determine our step-by-step targets. Our goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of our own activities by 30 percent by 2020. By 2013, we have already achieved an 18 percent reduction.”
In order to make these measurements, the most important factor is transparency, says Mr. Pinto, “By increasing transparency, we become much more aware of our supply chain and its impact. Then we can start looking at different areas for improvement, to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint. There is a very wise saying: what cannot be measured cannot be improved. So we first need to make our supply chain processes transparent. Only then can we begin to make changes.”
DHL’s partners, contractors and customers are also included in the calculations, because these companies also play a role in determining DHL’s environmental impact. Mr. Pinto comments, “Because our business is very much dependent on airlines, shipping lines, trucking companies, etc., which are not DHL-owned, we must measure their impact as well, and include them in our baseline. We have mobilized not only our entire employee base, but also our subcontractor base, so that everyone is aware of the goals of GoGreen and its importance. We are encouraging our customers, our subcontractors, everybody, to become more aware and be more transparent about the carbon impact of their supply chains.” DHL’s actions are making a difference that’s not simply isolated to its own organization – the effects are reverberating throughout the industry.
Now DHL is working to help its customers achieve greater transparency and more sustainable solutions. A number of GoGreen products have been successfully launched in major countries around the world, so as part of the organization’s ambitious expansion plans for the GoGreen initiative, these products are now being introduced in Thailand.
Since transparency is a crucial part of reducing environmental impact, DHL provides detailed carbon reporting that helps customers become more aware and informed about the impact of their activities. The Carbon Report measures the carbon emissions that are released when the customer uses DHL’s services. However, customers often use other service providers in addition to DHL. For that, DHL provides the Carbon Dashboard, which measures the carbon emissions from all of the services the customer uses in their supply chain – not just DHL’s. Both the Carbon Report and Carbon Dashboard are available with different levels of detail, such as Basic and Advanced Reporting.
“Solutions such as DHL’s Carbon Reports and Carbon Dashboard are becoming more and more relevant as regulations around the world are updated. For example, France requires organizations to report their carbon emissions and provide a three year reduction strategy. Our reports and data are high quality, well-researched and certified; they can be provided to any audit authorities,” says Mr. Pinto.
DHL also offers carbon offsetting to its customers. Striving to be carbon neutral, the company offsets carbon emissions for its own activities, as well as provides customers with opportunities to purchase carbon credits to offset against their own footprint.
The most impressive part of DHL’s GoGreen product portfolio is its effort to collaborate with its customers on supply chain optimization. Mr. Pinto explains, “We can work closely with our customers to reduce their carbon impact. We work together to see how we can reduce the carbon emissions – just by doing a few things differently, such as using different carriers or routings. These solutions can even have benefits beyond the environmental aspect, such as cost savings and improved efficiency.” One size does not fit all customers, so DHL works with each client individually to understand their business, along with their needs and priorities.
DHL is excited to introduce these green solutions to the Thai market; the company anticipates an enthusiastic response from the local customer base. Mr. Pinto concludes, “Our sales teams and product teams are just about ready to introduce the GoGreen solutions to customers, and I am very keen to see what the response will be like. But knowing Thailand and the people I’ve worked with over the last six months that I’ve been here, I think we’re going to see a very good response to these services. I personally feel very strongly about the environment, so I have already been talking to customers about it in some meetings, and there’s been a positive response. I’m very optimistic about the difference that DHL GoGreen can make here in Thailand and around the world.”