Over the past few decades, corporate entities worldwide have been seized with the desire to do good for goodness’ sake, professionally referred to as “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR). There exist varying motivations for donning the cape of community enrichment: for favorable publicity, to rectify a corporate misstep or simply to benefit mankind. Whatever the origin of these campaigns may be, their positive impact cannot be denied.
In this, we in the logistics industry have not been left behind. With a myriad of CSR options to choose from and a highly specialized skill set unique to our arena, our industry often plays an invaluable role in improving the quality of life of those in need.
The most immediate and basic assistance the industry provides is in the form of logistical expertise for humanitarian efforts. These can range from intervention in the aftermath of natural disasters, to disease outbreaks. A good example of this would be where a partnership between a logistics player and Australian biomedical lab enabled the delivery of influenza vaccines to the remote South Asian Laos. Not only was the location difficult to access, the vaccine required very specific temperatures to remain viable, with equipment and skill to facilitate this dishearteningly scarce.
Similar to providing technical knowledge services, the logistics industry is well placed to volunteer our equipment for use in needful situations. This includes rescue efforts for victims of natural disasters who may be trapped in inaccessible zones or donating vehicles to be used in delivering food aid. The Disaster Resource Network (DRN), a union of several corporate bodies brought together by the need to lend a hand, exemplifies this spirit. An initiative by the DRN titled The Airport Emergency Team has been instrumental in ensuring smooth flow of relief to disaster areas such as Hurricane Katrina and South Asian tsunamis.
The most common and mainstream corporate social responsibility initiative taken on in corporate circles involves employee volunteering. The same holds true for logistics, with employees allowed company time to volunteer at causes that they or the company support.
This is followed closely by donor efforts. Corporate sponsorship is a straightforward way for companies and the logistics industry is no different. With an increasingly wide range of charitable projects in need of funding, companies can have a direct, positive impact on intended beneficiaries.
Similarly common to most industries is the environmental conservation movement. Green supply chain management continues to witness leaps in innovation aimed at reducing the negative impact had on the environment. While going green may be a more indirect way to give back to the community, its effects are far reaching and more permanent than most other CSR facets. After all, what could last longer than the cause to preserve the world for future generations?
Closer home, the SUSTRAN initiative (Sustainable Transport in East African Cities) seeks sustainable transport options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. By partnering with projects such as these and heeding their Eco-recommendations, the logistics industry can make a valuable contribution to halting further degradation to the environment.
With new efforts and CSR innovations being made every day, we are proud to know that the logistics industry is doing its fair share in saving the world. Are we saying that we’re caped crusaders in blue and red tights and an “S” on our chests? Well, we’re not saying that we’re not.