While digitalization is revolutionizing today’s business landscape, another transformation is also underway – one that strikes at the very heart of the way we do business: a movement toward fair and responsible business practices. The logistics industry can play a key role in driving this transformation and contributing to a sustainable future for all.
If you were given a choice, wouldn’t you prefer to purchase products with a ‘fair and responsible business’ label? A guarantee that fairness and sustainability was high priority at every link product’s entire value chain, from materials sourcing and manufacturing, to storage and transportation?
I would. And all indications are that I’m not alone. People are demanding more transparency and fairness from business – and they are interested in consuming fair and responsible products.
We are, in fact, seeing a transformation. And it’s being driven by a unique fusion of social, mobile, cloud and big data trends that are connecting societies around the world and enabling companies to achieve more transparency and access to their supply chains. A growing awareness that mother earth is truly in trouble and increasing environmental and compliance standards are also contributing.
Profits and sustainability go hand in hand
‘Going fair’ is the next evolutionary phenomenon that will impact the way we do business. It is a new approach that places fairness and responsibility at the heart of the business model to ensure that profits and sustainability work hand in hand.
We all know that business has always been about creating value. In past decades, many companies have pursued a somewhat narrow definition of value. Under pressure from international competition and financial markets, they have focused on the bottom line and efficiency measures designed to maximize short-term profits. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that this approach is losing its edge. Efficiency has been stretched to such an extent in many industries that further growth potential is marginal, and public attention is increasingly drawn to the negative (long-term) consequences of this approach.
Most companies, however, are not ignoring these demands. Many have established large corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. These initiatives are having a positive impact on society and the environment and help to ensure compliance, reduce the detrimental effects of business operations on society and the environment, and stimulate charitable activities. Today, CSR programs have become the norm around the globe. In fact, more than 90% of the world’s largest companies publish CSR reports to demonstrate their commitment and contributions.
Logistics can lead the way
So how does the logistics industry fit into all this? First, it’s an industry that is at the nexus of global challenges. On the one hand, logistics requires intensive investment of resources, capital, assets and labor, and therefore has considerable impact on society and the environment. On the other hand, efficient logistics is vital to world trade and forms the backbone of many industries. It improves transparency across the entire supply chain and can connect the smallest to largest of markets, creating awareness for social and environmental challenges as well as opportunities.
To read more from Kückelhaus’s blog, ‘Act Fair’- driving the responsibility transformation, click here.
Dr Markus Kückelhaus is vice president research and development, DHL Customer Solutions and Innovation, and leads the Trend Research Team at DHL. Markus Kückelhaus has been DHL’s innovation team director since August 2012. Previously he worked with DHL as a consultant, supporting the development of a group-wide innovation system and implementing strategies and business models for innovation initiatives.