The United Nations set a courageous target to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. It’s an extremely ambitious goal – some even say it’s unachievable or impossible. But does that mean we shouldn’t try? No. After all, the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change will ultimately affect us all. Now is the time for everyone to put their best foot forward, and that includes the private sector.
Deutsche Post DHL Group stands firmly behind the UN’s goal, and our new mission aims to help the world reach it. After achieving a significant improvement in our carbon efficiency in recent years, we are once again setting the bar high for our industry: We intend to reduce all transport-related emissions to zero by 2050.
I’m confident this moment will go down in our company’s history as a major milestone. And in 30 years, when we look back on what we have achieved, we will not only see a sustainable global organization, but a world leading green business that takes its responsibility to the international community seriously. We want to ensure that by 2050 the company is leaving the lightest footprint possible on the environment.
Our mission is, indeed, a bold one, but it very much builds on what we’ve already achieved. As the world’s leading logistics company, a core part of our strategy has always included sustainability, particularly reducing emissions.
In 2008, we made a commitment to improve our carbon efficiency by 30% over 2007 levels by the year 2020 – at the time a pioneering move that required innovation and brand-new approaches. Our efforts paid off and more. Not only did we hit our target in 2016 – four years ahead of schedule – we have now established a solid position in the market as experts in green logistics solutions.
Now, in 2017, we once again stand at the threshold of a long expedition into uncharted territory. But as we gaze out toward the horizon, our destination is much more than a vision of where we would like to be in 2050. We have plotted a strategic course towards zero emissions, one that includes four specific targets for the year 2025 – milestones to measure our progress, which we will report on regularly and publically.
By 2025, we will increase our carbon efficiency by 50% over 2007 levels. We will use clean solutions for 70% of our first and last mile services to improve the lives of people where they live and work. We want more than 50% of our sales to incorporate Green Solutions, making our customers’ supply chains greener. And we will train 80% of our workforce to be certified GoGreen specialists to mobilize them for the task at hand.
‘Going green’ can also produce a solid competitive advantage
The investment in our people cannot be overstated. With some 510,000 employees worldwide, people drive our business and are the key to our success. By empowering them to be green logistics experts, we will unlock enormous potential – powerful fuel to help propel us forward. Our people will not only play a vital role in accomplishing our mission, they will apply what they’ve learned to their immediate surroundings and make our operations even greener. Much of the progress we have made to date is thanks to them and their ideas.
‘Going green’ can also produce a solid competitive advantage, one that can make our business sustainable and successful for years to come. The demand for green products and processes along the value chain is on the rise. And while improving our own operations, we’ve developed solutions in all areas of green logistics. More and more customers are relying on us for sustainable and efficient supply chains.
The journey to 2050 has already begun. Right now, we are increasingly integrating today’s green technologies into our operations, while pushing the entire industry to innovate. Together with partners, we are engaged in the research and development of logistics solutions that are environmentally friendly and conserve resources. And when the market can’t come up with the solutions, we’re taking the initiative ourselves.
We have much to do, but our GoGreen environmental protection program gives us a lot of experience to build on. Electric vehicles, data-driven route optimization, state-of-the-art aircraft, green logistics centers and circular economy solutions – the list is long and growing. But the way forward won’t be easy. We will have to remain steadfast and true to the cause, because we will encounter many obstacles. We will have to challenge the status quo, innovate and drive technological advances. And we will have to join forces with our customers to implement real change. But I’m confident we will find many partners and collaborators along the way who will both inspire us and be inspired by us. And in the end, we will leave a better world for future generations.
The year 2050 is a long way off, and we can’t know for sure what life will be like. But one thing is certain: We have to be stewards of sustainability now. The decisions we take today will determine how we live tomorrow. Looking back, the decision to lead our group down the path of sustainability and responsibility was absolutely the right one. There’s no doubt in my mind that the new path we are forging now is the only way forward for our industry and the planet.