"So often it's simply the little things that count"
For the first time, Deutsche Post DHL is calling on its employees, customers and business partners around the world to take part in this year's "Global Volunteer Day". Activities will focus on the period September 1-10, 2011. In an interview CEO Frank Appel explains the key facts on the Group-wide initiative.
CEO Frank Appel
Mr. Appel, why does Deutsche Post DHL has a Global Volunteer Day?
Frank Appel: Global Volunteer Day is a Group-wide initiative. It's worldwide and all of our divisions are involved. The program is our way of helping to instill the spirit of volunteerism among our employees, many of whom volunteer for the people in their communities all year round. By paying special attention to this for a period of ten days, we are showing a true appreciation for the volunteers. On top of that it helps to generate a sense of community and motivates employees - and even customers - to engage in community initiatives in the future.
What specific types of projects are you supporting?
Our colleagues on the ground decide what types of projects they wish to support. We encourage our employees to support local activities that fit well into our Corporate Responsibility strategy, so in the areas of environmental protection, disaster management and education promotion. We're not talking about a huge effort here. So often it's simply the little things that count. Renovating a school, for example, might make it possible for a community to hold class properly for the first time. Planting 100 trees may seem small, but in some regions it might really help the ecosystem.
Is Volunteer Day now a permanent part of your Corporate Responsibility strategy?
Yes, it is part of a whole series of programs and initiatives that make up our CR strategy. As one of the world’s leading logistics companies, we profit from growth from Asia to the Americas, from Europe to Africa. But with this favorable position comes a duty as well: we must contribute to the communities in which we do business. Because we believe that business only flourishes in places where people can live well and be successful. That’s why our Volunteer Day activities should fulfill the needs on the ground and include pragmatic collaboration with local organizations.
Are you working with specific partners?
At the global level, meaning projects run by the Group, we are working together, for example, with the United Nations and the community education initiative Teach For All. For Global Volunteer Day, however, each country and location decides with whom they wish to cooperate and which projects they wish to support. These could be non-governmental organizations, government agencies or small private organizations; our colleagues often get customers involved. It definitely makes sense to search out existing projects, so that our work is more than just a drop in the bucket.
How many employees will take part?
I hope that as many employees as possible will participate. And I'm sure that many will get involved, especially because it's the first time that we are rolling out Global Volunteer Day globally. It's most definitely the largest concerted volunteer action that we've ever started. But I'd like to emphasize that it's not just about getting a lot of people involved this year. More importantly, it's about encouraging and motivating people to donate a piece of their time and talent for those less fortunate than us or for the environment. If Global Volunteer Day becomes a model and gets more people to think "what can I do for the community I live in?" - then we've already achieved a lot. Usually it doesn't take long before people start taking action.