"Corporate responsibility is a major success factor"
"Insight" is the title of the 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report being released today by Deutsche Post DHL Group. In an interview with Deutsche Post DHL News, Christof Ehrhart, responsible for Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility at Deutsche Post DHL Group, talks about the idea behind this title the Group's recent progress in the area of responsible business practice.
Christof Ehrhart, Director of Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility, Deutsche Post DHL Group
Mr. Ehrhart, the title of this year's CR Report is "Insight". How does this year differ from past years?
Christof Ehrhart: With this year's title we want to underscore our commitment to involving all stakeholder groups in the CR process and keeping them informed of the changes and progress being made. By conducting our first materiality analysis in 2013 we once again readjusted our CR activities and aligned them even more directly and concretely with the requirements of our stakeholder groups. The title "Insight" targets two aspects. First, the report provides insight into progress made in the area of CR. At the same time, it refers to our own strategic "insight" or understanding that our CR activities are most powerful when aligned with the economic, social and environmental issues most relevant to our core business and competencies.
The report provides a once-a-year overview of CR activity at Deutsche Post DHL Group. But how important is it to maintain the dialogue with your stakeholder groups throughout the year?
Christof Ehrhart: Continuous dialogue and exchange with the stakeholder groups is very important. Stakeholders have their own views on the company's current and future opportunities and challenges. Only through continuous dialogue are we in a position to understand these views and respond to stakeholder input in a timely manner. Of course we are present in over 220 countries and territories worldwide, so we need to respond to a very wide range of different stakeholder needs and requirements. Then there's the fact that communication itself continues to increase in pace and intensity. More and more people are claiming their right to co-create our global community, and we of course also want to be an active player in this process. The comprehensive survey of stakeholder groups that we conducted two years ago established the foundation for responding to the wide range of needs and requirements. This is exactly why we will be conducting a new survey and materiality analysis this year. Again, maintaining this dialogue is the only way we can truly understand the interests of our partners and know whether we as a company are on the right track moving forward.
Looking at this year's report: Where are the main focus areas, the changes, progress?
Christof Ehrhart: We have made significant progress in many different areas. Especially positive is our re-listing in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) World and Europe - MSCI, a leading provider of investment decision support tools, also awarded us the highest possible rating. Over 40% of our shares today are held by signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment - an international investor network committed to adherence to responsible investment principles. These investors have a decided interest in our CR performance and will certainly be looking at the DJSI listing and MSCI rating as a positive indicator. But we made real progress in other areas as well. We took another big step towards achieving our climate protection goal to improve our carbon efficiency (including transportation subcontractors) by a total of 30% by the year 2020, reaching the 23% mark in 2014. Till today we were also able to increase the percentage of eco-friendly vehicles in our fleet, which now number 11,200, and we acquired StreetScooter GmbH to ensure the future expansion of our energy-efficient fleet of electric vehicles.
In the area of corporate citizenship we established 11 new partnerships with SOS Children's Villages and Teach For All country organizations. We are now active with these two partners in a total of 32 countries working to improve educational opportunity and employability for children and young people, especially those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. And we also increased the number of our own apprentices in 2014. In the reporting year, some 5,000 young people around the world got their start with Deutsche Post DHL Group in a range of different occupational fields - a good indication that young people are attracted to Deutsche Post DHL Group as an employer. And with an inclusion rate of employees with disabilities at 9.1% in Germany, we are significantly above the national average in Germany's private sector.
That all sounds promising - what are then the next steps for Deutsche Post DHL Group?
Christof Ehrhart: We will be conducting another materiality analysis this year and, based on the results, will review our current course and make adjustments wherever necessary. We will also further intensify our activities in the field of Shared Value: Shared Value means that we want to make a contribution to society and by preserving the environment and at the same time create business success. Already today we work with our customers on efficiency measures along their value chain. And we are active members of various initiatives which aim to provide transparency of the CO2-efficiency of our partners, reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Our latest affiliation by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a member to the Circular Economy 100 furthermore underlines our efforts to contribute to a renewable, circular economy in the future. We will continue working together with our many dedicated employees around the world to further develop and expand our CR activities. And we plan additional investments for a sustainable alignment of our company along our own value chain.