Logistics Middle East
WHAT IS CSR IS LOGISTICS?
Logistics Middle East looks at what the definition of CSR is and how it benefits your company
In the ever more connected world, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a buzzword in the logistics and supply chain industries. Companies such as FedEx, UPS, Virgin, and more have made notable impacts on the global community with CSR campaigns that really make a difference. One such campaign is FedEx Cares 50 by 50, the company’s drive to positively impact 50 million people around the world by its 50th anniversary in 2023, and Virgin Atlantic’s Change for Children programme which has raised over US$8.2 million for children around the world. While the Australian bushfires raged, it was the supply chain and logistics companies that moved humanitarian aid, and veterinary support across the 12.35 million burning acres of the vast continent.
Amazon mobilised its entire logistics network in Australia to deliver relief, and provided Amazon customers an easy way to send items to Australian charities from their Amazon online shopping accounts.
But, what is CSR?
It is best to start with a clear definition of what Corporate Social Responsibility is. According to several sources, CSR
is a practice that brings benefit to not only the company, but to all stakeholders in the programme, wider society, or the environment. The Financial Times describes it as ‘a movement aimed at encouraging companies to be more aware of the impact of their business on the rest of society, including their own stakeholders and the environment’.
CSR can positively affect your business and builds a socially conscious image for your company. In effect, CSR not only benefits the environment, but your company’s popularity too.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the transport sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions at 29%, followed by the electricity industry at 22%. It is essential that the transport and logistics sectors invest in CSR to combat their harmful impact on the environment, and improve their approval ratings in the marketplace.
What can CSR do for you?
Companies have realised the crucial importance of the environment, started to adapt to the more environmentally concerned world, and begun to change their ways of doing business. Many logistics and supply chain companies involve environmental issues as an important part of their CSR programmes. This is especially evident when it comes to managing their supply chains, and ensuring that downstream, best practice is followed for reducing waste, reducing carbon footprints, and recycling where possible.
The most obvious benefit of CSR is an improved corporate image which supports a strong brand, the more environmentally conscious a company is, the better its brand will stand in a greener marketplace. Initiatives such as Green Ship of the Future, a joint initiative in which companies across the Danish Maritime Cluster join forces to develop and test environmentally and climate friendly technologies that increase energy efficiency and reduce operational costs since its conception in 2008, are key in developing greener transportations methods, and key in boosting company profiles. The Green
Ship of the Future initiative combines public and private interests and encompasses maritime companies of all kinds, creating a cutting edge of maritime technology and green industry.
CSR projects such as improving the carbon footprint do not only meet the parameters of helping the environment, but also the objective of competitiveness. By reducing a company’s carbon footprint efficiency is improved, by reducing waste, efficiency is improved.
CSR programmes can also dramatically improve your relationships with your clients. In some cases, having proof that you have a strong CSR programme is a prerequisite for doing business. Many big companies now expect their suppliers to show their commitment to improving the society we live in. Having good ratings isn’t just only about improving your image, it’s also another way to gain new clients.
A logistics/supply chain company’s relationship will also benefit from a strong CSR programme. The implementation of a responsible purchasing policy will help to better manage environmental and social risks in a company’s purchasing decisions.
Corporate Social Responsibility has a big role to play in the transport and logistic industry, and is no longer something that can be left as an afterthought.
“CSR is fostering research and innovation: promoting sustainable technologies and behaviours. It’s even more important, now that new digital technologies help us monitor and analyse our activity. New electric trucks models are announced for the coming years, electric vans are getting more and more common for last mile deliveries,” according to premium logistics company Flash. “The Logistics industry needs to become a forerunner in CSR. We would all benefit from a general commitment towards CSR. Instead of competing on prices, adding CSR goals in your strategy allows you to improve you financial efficiency while differentiating yourself from your competitors.”