When it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), the question for business leaders today is not whether to pursue it, but how. There is no question that small and medium-sized enterprises understand the need for strong CSR strategies as it not only improves the bottom line, but it is of the upmost importance to many employees, potential employees and customers. Consider that in 2017, Cone Communications published a study which revealed that 63% of American consumers were looking to businesses to take the lead on social and environmental change.
While CSR can be a broad term (typically described as a company’s efforts to make measurable contributions to improve society in some way), it is most effective when companies align their CSR programs with their business goals and vision.
One component of CSR programs that many companies are prioritizing is sustainability, as it can easily integrate into various business strategies. For example, one of Coca Cola’s sustainable CSR objectives is to safely return to nature an amount of water equal to what they use in production by 2020. At DHL, we have committed to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050. There are countless ways businesses across the globe can contribute to improving our environment in ways that make sense for their operations and that are linked to the company’s overall purpose.
With National Volunteer Week falling on April 10-16 and Earth Day on April 22, there’s no better time than now to start thinking about or advance your company’s sustainable CSR efforts.
Here are ways your business, whether small or mid-size, can make a global environmental impact.
Involve Your Employees: The workplace is where it starts. One of the quickest ways to make progress on the sustainability/giving back front is to get your employees directly involved. Make employees feel connected to and invested in a new, sustainable way of doing business. Seek their input on programs you can implement; encourage them to volunteer their time to local cleanup and recycling projects; and ask them to make recycling a priority in your facilities.
For instance, as part of our comprehensive environmental program at DHL called Go Green, we have set aggressive sustainability goals that involve our people, including certifying 80% of our employees as GoGreen specialists by 2025 and joining partners in planting one million trees every year in the period up to 2025. We are on track to reach those goals; in 2018 alone, DHL planted 1,145,267 trees globally and had employees participate in events to plant a significant number of these trees.
Partner with Care: If you obtain materials or goods from sources around the world, it is critical to make sure that you understand all the elements along your supply chain – and that your suppliers and shipping partners are equally committed to sustainability.
Efficient shipping involves multiple steps, from effective route planning to investments in green technology. Be sure to examine what demonstrated efforts your partner has made to reduce CO2 emissions through technology.
At DHL, we have committed to operating 70% of first- and last-mile delivery services with clean transport modes by 2025. We are establishing a truly green fleet of advanced delivery vehicles, including Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) trucks, fully electric vehicles and hybrid electric models. Currently, more than 10 countries in the Americas region have either electric or hybrid vehicles on the streets. And by the end of 2019, roughly 230 electric, hybrid vans and bikes. Additionally, DHL offers GoGreen solutions to help customers offset unavoidable emissions in their logistics chain through internationally certified climate protection projects.
Take a global approach: A truly effective sustainable CSR program should extend beyond your own country. As U.S. businesses increasingly look abroad for new customers and growth opportunities, they should understand the global environmental impact of their business. Consider supporting the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which creates the foundation for achieving global economic progress within the Earth’s ecological limits, and in harmony with social justice. Determine how your business can align its operations and global plans with the UN’s goals.
How is your business recognizing National Volunteer Week and Earth Day – now and into the future? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.