Good corporate citizenship is a year-round endeavor, but the holidays put your business’s social responsibility mission in the spotlight.  What role does and should your company play in the communities where you do business? What impact are you having on the environment, on the well-being of your employees and on the push for global social progress?

Having a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program in place is essential in today’s world.  But real CSR is not just a page on your company’s website; it takes the form of measurable contributions to people and communities – contributions that align with your business goals and tell the story of how your company relates to the world around it.

Chances are, if you are part of a large organization, you have some kind of sustainability effort in place.  But have you updated it lately? Have you reviewed its results, and checked that it reflects how your business really operates? And if you run a small business, have you examined how you can operate more sustainably?

Take Action

Ultimately, organizations large and small should have an evolving and carefully monitored sustainability program – one that works to reduce waste and encourage recycling.  If you manufacture goods, or if your business involves the widespread use of vehicles, your program should also aim to effectively reduce emissions. In an era of expanding e-commerce and global trade, one of the best ways your company can make a global impact is by reducing your carbon footprint.  For instance, at DHL, we are in the business of getting products to hundreds of countries across the globe every single day, and so we have set aggressive sustainability goals that entail dramatic change in order to reach our goal to produce zero emissions by 2050.  Our GoGreen program focuses on reducing waste and emissions across our operational areas, including warehousing, transportation, and packaging.

Measurement Is Key

When it comes to your CSR efforts, measuring and reporting results is essential. Consistent measurement will help guide future decisions about your programs, whether they take the form of recycling efforts, philanthropic giving or companywide volunteer drives.  And communicating your results can help build consumer interest and awareness, empowering your brand.

At DHL, we report our sustainability results each year, and for 2017 we announced a measurable improvement in the Carbon Efficient Index, along with increases in first- and last-mile deliveries using clean technologies.

Maximize Your Giving

Beyond sustainability, businesses today are doing more than ever to contribute philanthropically to local community groups and global nonprofits.  According to the Giving in Numbers 2017 Edition, corporate giving rose between 2014 and 2016, and 35 percent of companies increased giving by more than 10 percent.

To maximize your company’s impact on local and global communities, consider targeting your giving and direct support in areas that reflect your core competencies. If you are a clothing retailer or manufacturer, for instance, it would make sense to support efforts to provide clothing to those in need.  You might financially support Dress for Success, which empowers women across the globe to achieve economic independence, or you could offer direct donations of clothing to families affected by earthquakes, wildfires, or hurricanes.

At DHL, we leverage our logistics expertise at airports when disasters strike around the world.  Our Disaster Response Teams represent a global network of about 500 specially trained employees who volunteer their time to help quickly get supplies, like food and water, to those in need during relief efforts.  Working in cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), our teams play a variety of logistics roles around the globe.

Additionally, one of our corporate areas of focus is education; we have a GoTeach program with a goal to improve educational opportunity and employability of young people, especially those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds due to poverty, loss of family and fleeing.

Through our partnership with WE, DHL has shipped 1.5 million pieces of handmade jewelry by female artisans in Kenya and Ecuador to consumers in the U.S. and Canada since 2012. By, again, leveraging our logistics expertise we are helping these women earn an income so they can send their children to school.

As 2018 comes to a close, consider what your organization can do to make the most impact and how you can take action to improve the world.

What is your company’s CSR strategy? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.