"We accept social responsibility"
Last year, Deutsche Post DHL presented its global study of the future, "Delivering Tomorrow", examining mega trends up to 2020 and beyond - not only for the logistics industry, but also for the overall economy and society as a whole. The broad debate this initiated is continued in the new year by CEO Frank Appel, together with leading experts, in the form of the "Delphi Dialog 2020".
Like most people, Johan Peter Paludan has clear ideas about the future. He should have, because as Director of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, a view of the future is the subject of his research. An absolutely vital and necessary piece of work, because: "To be able to make decisions today, we must have clear forecasts about the future," according to Paludan.
Nowhere does this apply more than in the economy - and in particular to the global logistics industry. It survives on the volatile international flow of goods. It is therefore directly affected by radical demographic and geopolitical changes, changes in the regulatory environment and also shifts in people's habits and new ecological challenges. And Paludan knows there will be plenty of all of that in the near and distant future.
Futurologist Johan Paludan
The futurologist from Denmark, one of the leading researchers in the field, appeared in Frankfurt am Main as guest speaker at Deutsche Post DHL's first "Delphi Dialog 2020", attended by around 60 guests. The meeting marked the beginning of a series of discussion groups with Deutsche Post DHL's CEO Frank Appel, in Germany and abroad.
It follows the publication last year of the company's Delphi Study, "Delivering Tomorrow", with extensive expert opinions and forecasts about globalization, the economy, technology, logistics, the environment and society. And in terms of logistics, it should provide answers to the question: Where is logistics headed and how can it contribute to a worthwhile future? Deutsche Post DHL has therefore turned to the best experts there are on the subject: its customers. The company would like to further intensify this dialog in the coming years, explains Appel.
Mega cities as a mega challenge for logistics.
The future of logistics was the topic for presenter Stefan Aust, futurologist Johan Paludan and DP DHL CEO Frank Appel.
The future of logistics was the topic for presenter Stefan Aust, futurologist Johan Paludan and DP DHL CEO Frank Appel.The topic of the first Delphi Dialog presented by former Spiegel Editor-In-Chief Stefan Aust was: "The wonderful new world of logistics? - How new technologies could radically change world trade". One of the theories of the Danish futurologist Johan Paludan, an expert contributor to the Delphi Study, was: "In the future, mega cities will pose the biggest challenge for logistics".
Completely new methods must be sought to supply the metropolises which are continually growing as a result of sustained urbanization. We will need a permit to actually reach these cities. There will only be a limited number of licenses for this. The logistics industry must adapt to this and organize itself accordingly, the futurologist believed. Paludan appeared confident that logistics will be able to contribute in a variety of ways to solving the problems of the mega cities in a sustainable way.
Another theory of Paludan: China, one of today's most dynamic economies of the world and a highly promising growth market for the logistics industry, is threatened by demographic "ageing". In other words, a rapid ageing of the population due to the strict one-child policy, with serious implications for the prospects of the Chinese economy. According to Paludan, India, with its rapidly growing population, could overtake China in the long term. Paludan also fears that China will not have enough time to build up a long-term, workable old-age pension scheme, for which Germany for instance needed several generations.
He gave his audience examples of one of the most important findings of the Delphi Study: The topics of sustainability and social responsibility are becoming ever more important for the macroeconomy and for individual companies.
Frank Appel: "Delivering respect and results"
Deutsche Post DHL is already taking account of this with various Group programs, which include climate protection, education and disaster relief. "We must deliver respect and results at the same time," observed CEO Frank Appel. Businesses which don't earn money, will never survive.
Because he who lacks respect for his staff, his customers and the countries in which he operates, has little or no prospect of long-term success. According to Appel, there must be a balance between the two. For Deutsche Post DHL this means: "We accept social responsibility". Appel gave the example of aiming to further reduce the CO2 emissions of the Group's vehicle fleet. Appel also believes that a lack of a sense of responsibility was partly responsible for the development of the global financial crisis. According to Appel, "The traders on the financial markets don't know their customers and have no staff". They therefore lack a sense of responsibility for their trading. This problem must be urgently addressed.