"Motivation and conviction make the difference"
In the last few days Deutsche Post DHL donated €185,000 (US$250,000) to the relief organisation TECHO. With that kind of money, 100 houses for poor people in Latin America can be built but for the Group it’s more than just about money. DPDHL News spoke with Ralf Dürrwang, Head of Corporate Citizenship, about these topics.
"Fundamentally it involves giving something back to the societies in all those countries where we work and earn money."
Mr Dürrwang, Deutsche Post DHL donated EUR185,000 to the relief organisation TECHO ('roof'). What was the occasion?
Dürrwang: We have been working with TECHO since 2010 and know how valuable their work is in the poor quarters of Latin America and the Caribbean. This year the organisation hopes to reach the goal of 100,000 homes built and we support those efforts. Around 100 additional homes can be built with our donation. At the same time, we are honouring the voluntary and long-term involvement of our employees in Latin America who have been helping with the construction of these homes for years now.
For what reason exactly are these houses being built?
Dürrwang: With the building of these simple but very stable wooden houses, TECHO is attempting to pave a way for people in the slum areas of Latin America to escape poverty. The project gives relief organisation employees the opportunity to speak with the people and the community and reflect together on how living conditions can be further improved.
How does Deutsche Post DHL fit into that picture?
Dürrwang: Our employees help build the houses. This kind of commitment in the different countries allows them to help people in their proximity and to make a contribution to the Group's own corporate citizenship programme. The original occasion for the co-operation with TECHO was the reconstruction aid after the terrible floods in El Salvador in 2009. DHL employees set up permanent dwellings together with TECHO and the local people affected by the disaster. To date, more than 2,000 of our colleagues in nineteen countries have voluntarily helped build houses. We think that it is important that we not only donate money but also directly involve ourselves in the project. Such enthusiastic support makes our help very concrete and at the same time is a particular motivation for our employees.
How are employees integrated into the process?
Dürrwang: In the countries or cities where TECHO is active, the organisation informs our colleagues about very practical opportunities to help. It is a voluntary commitment, which is why we are even more thrilled about the enthusiasm this work inspires in our colleagues. That personal, hands-on experience of doing something meaningful and then seeing the results - that is very motivating. We want to honour precisely this kind of involvement with our donation.
Are there other examples of employee involvement?
Dürrwang: Yes, plenty of them. corporate citizenship at our company encompasses the environment (Go Green), education (Go Teach) and disaster management (Go Help). The activities with TECHO fall under Go Help - just like disaster relief and prevention work. Today for example some 400 employee volunteers from around the world are part of our disaster response teams (DRTs). These are the people who provide logistics help at airports in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Different teams during more than twenty deployments over several weeks contributed their logistics expertise to prepare important humanitarian goods for further transport to the impacted areas as quickly and precisely as possible. We have recently deployed to the Philippines, Indonesia, Haiti and Guatemala - anywhere that a devastating disaster has hit a country and people particularly hard. Our co-operation with Teach For All and SOS Children's Villages is another example. Together we want to develop the potential of children and youth around the world regardless of their social background - and our employees are involved locally in schools, workshops or as mentors.
Why does Deutsche Post DHL get involved in precisely these kinds of areas?
Dürrwang: Fundamentally it involves giving something back to the societies in all those countries where we work and earn money. As a globally successful group, we see ourselves as partially responsible for improving the living conditions of people. We have specifically sought out projects that are suitable for us. Disaster management, to which the DRTs belong, is a 'natural fit'. We are specialists in logistics after all. Our efforts on behalf of children and young people have a double impact: they help individuals find a way out of poverty by providing better starting conditions and a better education. Viewed as a whole, these efforts help companies maybe later on to gain well-trained young people as employees. Every employer benefits from the good school education and professional training of the next generation, Deutsche Post DHL as well of course.
Will DHL employees also help build the 100 new houses?
Dürrwang: That goes without saying.