"As a globally acting company we have a global responsibility!"
Rainer Wend, Head of Corporate Public Policy and Sustainability of Deutsche Post DHL on the extension of the humanitarian partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).
Rainer Wend, head of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at Deutsche Post DHL.
What is the cooperation with UN OCHA about?
We cooperate with UN OCHA in emergency situations after natural disaster. Under the mandate of the UN we deploy our so-called Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) to a disaster hit region: the teams consist out of specially trained logistic experts of Deutsche Post DHL, who pro-bono handle the logistics of relief goods at local airports. Their professional sorting and storing of goods prevents bottlenecks along the delivery chain.
Why do you engage in disaster relief?
In 2009 alone, natural disasters are estimated to have caused the death of 11,000 people. As a globally acting company we have a global responsibility. Due to our worldwide presence, we can take advantage of our global infrastructure and expertise. This means we can be very quick and efficient. And in case of disasters this is absolutely crucial.
And why a partnership with UN OCHA?
In 2003 we first helped to clear the local airport of the town of Bam at the Pakistani-Iranian boarder. After a devastating earthquake had hit the region, the local airport was flooded by international aid. Very soon, the local airports reached its limits. As a consequence, relief goods were scattered around the runway and the aid could not reach those in need. This is when we stepped in with a few of our logistics experts and quickly cleared and organized the area. Following this experience, we continuously supported subsequent relief operations at airports. As a result, in 2005 the UN Office for Humanitarian Aid and ourselves decided to enter a more formal partnership that would ensure the presence of logistics experts as quickly as possible.
What’s the benefit for you and UN OCHA respectively?
While UN OCHA liaises with the local authorities and coordinates the NGOs on the ground, our team can concentrate on their core competence: the handling and sorting of goods at the airport. Our DRTs deploy within 72 hours upon request of the UN OCHA. This enables us to become active on site immediately and so support the UN relief efforts at a crucial point.
How much time do the Disaster Response teams spend in the regions?
That depends on the situation: this can range from several days up to three weeks and even more. But our deployment to Pakistan during the floods this year lasted for over five weeks for example.
Isn’t it problematic to have employees off work to go to crisis regions for a couple of weeks?
We are very proud about the engagement of our employees and the feedback is very positive – be it for our DRTs as well as other Corporate Responsibility programmes. I am convinced that any social activitiy adds to the development of unique skills which benefit them during their usual work. Apart from that, the volunteers in the DRT usually alternate after a couple of days to ensure that our experts can always deliver the best support.
What is the experience with the cooperation?
We have been working with UN OCHA since 2005 on an excellent basis. In 2010 alone, we provided support with our DRTs after the disastrous earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the heavy storm in Guatemala that caused flood and heavy landslides and during the floods in Pakistan. Over the last years, we have established a well-working network together with our partners. We are looking forward to deepen the cooperation with UN OCHA in the upcoming three years.