"We intend to be part of the solution"
Interview with CEO Frank Appel on Deutsche Post DHL's first Corporate Responsibility Day
CEO Frank Appel
Mr. Appel, why is Deutsche Post DHL organizing a Sustainability Day?
We are a company active all over the world and we wish not only to take responsibility for the environment and society, but also to stimulate dialog about sustainable corporate activity with all the actors in society. Only in this dialog with our partners, competitors, shareholders and customers, and in an exchange of ideas with the political and academic world, will we be able to discover what expectations and demands we will have to meet.
... and what does that mean in concrete terms?
That on the Sustainability Day we will bring leading lights together from the political, industrial and social fields and will be discussing, for example, what contribution companies can make towards an energy-efficient, low-emissions economy. Or what role companies can assume - in their own interests as well - to improve the educational opportunities for children and young people.
What priorities does Deutsche Post DHL set in terms of sustainability and corporate responsibility?
We concentrate on the topics of climate protection, education and disaster relief. These areas are closely linked to our core business and thus also with our expertise.
Corporate responsibility in connection with the core business? That sounds very business-oriented.
In my opinion it just sounds logical: if we concentrate our activities on the areas where our knowledge and our responsibilities are best developed, we will achieve the greatest impact. At the same time we must also face the challenges for which we are partly responsible because of our business activity. In short: We intend to be part of the solution.
How are you setting about this aim?
As a transportation and logistics company, climate protection is very high on our agenda - for example by using vehicles with alternative drive trains and by setting and pursuing concrete and measurable targets to improve our CO2 efficiency. In disaster relief, too, we concentrate on what we can do best: As a partner of the UN, when there is a natural disaster, our DHL logistics experts provide assistance with the efforts to help at airports. Last year alone we were active several times, for example after the earthquake in Haiti or the floods in Pakistan. And since we are one of the largest employers in the world with around 500,000 staff, the subject of education is particularly important to us, and not just in Germany.
But what has education to do with your core business?
That’s obvious: As a global company, we will need well-motivated, qualified staff in the future too, not only in Germany, but in every country in the world. So we have a special interest in pushing for better educational opportunities. Together with the organization Teach For All, we are working to improve access to education for disadvantaged children and teenagers in many countries of the world.