"Creating educational opportunities as corporate responsibility"
Deutsche Post DHL CEO Frank Appel: "We have found a way to unite corporate success and social engagement."
Why has Deutsche Post DHL gotten involved with education?
Frank Appel: This is a question we are often asked: Why are we investing so much time, effort and passion in a program like GoTeach? The answer is really quite simple: Because we have a certain responsibility - and because we don't see this responsibility as a burden or as an instrument for improving our image, but rather as the opportunity to positively influence the world around us.
Do you want to change the world, Mr. Appel?
I don't agree. Of course we want to bring about change, but we don't claim to have an answer for each problem - whether local or global. We are businesspeople. That means that whatever we do, we are committed to our customers and our around 500,000 employees worldwide. What's unique about our multifaceted activities is that we have found a way to unite corporate success and social engagement.
What does that mean in specific terms?
Education or, more specifically, creating educational opportunities for children and young people is an important issue for us. At the same time, we, as a global logistics company, need well-trained employees not only in Germany, but around the world as well. Our involvement with GoTeach therefore has a social and a business dimension.
Is this a win-win situation?
Yes, even though I don't really like the term because it sounds to me as if you can create a situation where success just falls into the laps of all participants. That is not the case. The achievements of our Living Responsibility programs like GoTeach (education), GoHelp (disaster management) and GoGreen (environmental protection) are the results of the daily hard work of many people around the globe.
How did the cooperation with Teach For All come into being, and what is the idea behind it?
We have confidence in the basic idea of the organization: to assume global responsibility for future generations and to do this regionally. That is why we became one of the founding partners of the German branch of Teach for All in 2009. Teach First Germany places outstanding university graduates in general and intermediate secondary schools as well as in comprehensive schools for two years in order to support students in their daily learning. This support extends from group and individual tutoring to additional afternoon programs and homework supervision. The young people profit from the extra time and attention afforded to them. The "temporary teachers" also benefit from the program because they learn how to motivate and instruct students as well as how to work with them as part of a team. In essence, that's nothing different than what these young people will encounter later in their professional lives.
Of course. The interest in the program has exceeded our expectations: Many German schools had applied for Teach First Germany by the beginning of the school year. The success of Teach First Germany has encouraged us to expand our partnership with Teach For All international.
Where will Deutsche Post DHL be actively involved?
We are going to assist Teach For All in expanding their activities in Argentina, Chile, Peru and India. In Spain and Brazil, we are helping establish new national Teach For All organizations. Deutsche Post DHL has a strong market presence in these countries and, as a result, the necessary resources to provide support. At the same time, the educational problems in these regions are often of a fundamental nature. Viewed from this perspective, further geographic expansion is conceivable.
How important is the expansion of this partnership for your employees?
I would like to turn that question around: How important are our employees for the partnership? The success of the projects depends to a large extent on the ideas of our employees. For our employees, Teach For All is primarily about coaching the "temporary teachers" or helping out the organizers at Teach For All during larger events. It's also possible that Deutsche Post DHL employees may become active as "temporary teachers" themselves. I'm certain that there are many more ideas out there of how individuals can contribute their strengths to Teach For All's good cause.