Corporate Social Responsibility and Logistics

by Peter Diehm on 2011-11-13 01:52:38

As in a lot of other industries, Logistics companies are introducing or expanding their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects. Rainer Wend the Executive VP of Corporate Public Policy and Responsibility at DHL describes CSR as “A commitment to the environment and society that is an integral component of our company strategy.

We take our responsibility seriously and invest in sustainability – for instance, in education and initiatives for the environment. If you want to remain a viable global player for the future, you also have to be a part of the solution to society’s problems.” (Source: DHL). For example the company supports SOS children villages and many other local community projects. Other logistics companies such as the parcel giant UPS also supports community disaster relief, and various forms of community education projects. Such endeavors show that these companies understand the merit and value of giving back to the community.

In this blog we would like to suggest one initiative to logistics companies which appears to be neglected, and which could fit perfectly with the international network of logistics service providers. It’s the initiative to prevent post-harvest losses in the developing world. The idea evolved from reading the World Watch Institute “2011 State of the World” report. In chapter 9, Tristram Stuart addresses the issue of “Post-Harvest Losses: A Neglected Field”. In the developing world a lot of the harvest spoils because of incorrect handling, storage and transportation. Here are a couple of examples given in the report: in Zambia the post harvested crop losses total up to 30%, in Sri Lanka the annual rate of loses of fruits and vegetables adds up to 40%-60%, that is 270,000 tons. In East Africa and the Middle East in 2004 milk losses amounted to $90 million, in Uganda milk losses represent 27% of all milk produced. Reducing the percentage of spoiled harvest before it can be consumed therefore will increase the number of people who could be fed by acre of farmed land.

The above statistics show there is a lot that needs to be done. The big worldwide logistics companies are often already directly or indirectly active in these regions of the world. They could therefore supply local knowledge and equipment to help the cause for instance by providing better storage containers to protect the products from rodents, mold, and spoiling. In addition, they could also help or lobby to improve infrastructure, assist in developing local processing plants, provide different tools to harvest the fruits and vegetables, and provide education in order to improve harvesting practices and thus help to create local jobs.

If you work for one of those logistics companies or you are a costumer than please bring it up to them. Read more on the website.