11/17/2015, 10:00 AM CET

New DHL report challenges the logistics industry to embrace the trend of ‘fair and responsible logistics’

The report describes 15 potential use cases to show how logistics companies can facilitate the circular economy and enable fair access, production and trade.

The report has been developed by the DHL Trend Research team.

  • Report identifies 15 potential use cases for fair and responsible logistics in the areas of circular economy, fair access, and fair production and trade
  • By embedding fair and responsible logistics at the core of the business model, logistics providers ensure profits grow hand in hand with sustainability, creating lasting competitive advantage
  • Report urges the logistics industry to leverage its global reach and overview of supply chains to accelerate the adoption of fair and responsible business

Bonn - DHL has issued a new study titled 'Fair and Responsible Logistics', reporting on a trend that is transforming the way businesses operate by ensuring profits grow hand in hand with sustainability, and value creation is shared by all stakeholders. The report has been developed by the DHL Trend Research team as an on-going initiative within Deutsche Post DHL Group to accelerate sustainability and responsibility in the logistics industry.

In the report, the key drivers of the fairness and responsibility transformation are analyzed, most importantly the growing expectations of consumers to 'go fair'. It also highlights that while many companies today are relying on digitalization and new technologies as key sources of business rejuvenation, they should not overlook the movement toward fair and responsible business as this is becoming an important source of future growth and lasting competitive advantage.

The report describes 15 potential use cases to show how logistics companies can facilitate the circular economy and enable fair access, production and trade. From these potential use cases, DHL plans to develop proofs of concept to accelerate the drive towards fair and responsible logistics.

Logistics can lead the fairness and responsibility transformation

In today's climate, ensuring a sustainable future is proving more challenging than ever before, with mass production and consumption causing imbalances in global societies and the environment. An underlying theme in the report is that 'doing well comes from doing good'. By adopting this approach, logistics can leverage its position in managing global trade networks and supply chains to also accelerate fair and responsible business in other industries.

"We see a growing demand for fair and responsible business practices from all stakeholders, and we believe logistics can accelerate the adoption of this trend", explains Dr. Markus Kückelhaus, Vice President Innovation and Trend Research, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation. "Logistics is a network business with a global reach that can play a key role in helping businesses to 'go fair' and in improving transparency across the entire supply chain. By placing fair and responsible logistics at the core of our own business, new revenue streams can be generated, as well as new social and environmental value for all stakeholders."

Logistics providers for example, can establish recycling-friendly warehouses and trucks that provide the infrastructure for both logistics and recycling to increase recycling volumes and reduce waste. This use case envisages delivery trucks equipped with flexible interiors that adjust during delivery; the section for delivery reduces as parcels are offloaded and the collection area increases as recyclables are collected on the return journey.

Fair and responsible packaging solutions can help to cope with burgeoning parcel volumes. These would utilize bio-degradable and other eco-friendly materials that can be composted in gardens after delivery. A second innovation is "logistics unverpackt", a concept that completely eliminates the need for online delivery packaging; items would be delivered in reusable containers, achieving a zero-waste approach.

A further example aims to propel fair production and trade. It proposes that logistics providers leverage their global reach and expertise to support companies in mapping out complex end-to-end supply chains. This information can then be used to establish transparency and to expose areas where there are risks and opportunities for fair and responsible business.

Continuous commitment to ensuring a sustainable future

"With our GoGreen solutions we already meet the increasing demand for responsible logistics and create a shared value for our customers, our business and the environment", explains Katharina Tomoff, Vice President Shared Value, Deutsche Post DHL Group. "We are striving to expand related solutions such as reverse logistics for a Circular Economy."

As a demonstration of the Group's continuous commitment, Fairtrade International recently announced that the Deutsche Post DHL Group will become the first certified partner in its new climate standard.