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Katja Busch highlights DHLs focus on cleaner greener logistics

Katja Busch highlight's DHL's focus on cleaner greener logistics

 August 09, 2023

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The world of logistics is a fast-paced, business critical and fascinating arena for women to work. And sustainability in logistics provides an ever-increasing focus for industry, and for exciting career pathways.

With the world changing faster and faster, supply chains must innovate to keep goods flowing and enable businesses to thrive while they operate sustainably. As the world’s leading logistics company, DHL knows they are uniquely placed to bring their customers together with industry experts to work on innovative supply chain solutions.

Supply chains are key to sustainability transformation, which is pivotal for the wellbeing of humanity, the planet and businesses.

DHL's Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Customer Solutions & Innovation (CSI) Katja Busch was interviewed about the significance of sustainability.

Furthermore, the company recently hosted a key sustainability focused event in Valencia in Spain, The Era of Sustainable Logistics Global Summit, which brought together over 1,000 stakeholders from various industries to discuss cleaner, greener supply chains. The summit represented a continuous journey for DHL Group, its customers, and the industry towards sustainability.

"We all share the responsibility of protecting our planet for current and future generations," said Katja.

Strong commitment to sustainable practices

When looking at what sets DHL apart in terms of its commitment to sustainable practices, Katja suggests: "First of all, sustainability has always been a core principle at DHL Group. In 2017, we became the first logistics company in the world to set a target of reducing its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. However, our journey towards sustainability began long before we established a formal roadmap. For instance, we were the first postal and parcel service providers in Germany to offer a climate-neutral delivery option - GoGreen - as early as 2007. We are committed to continuously seek innovative sustainability solutions for both our internal operations and our customers' supply chains."

Sustainability is a collaborative journey

DHL sustainability logistics

DHL has made some notable achievements in its pursuit of sustainability. 

"Since establishing our Sustainability Roadmap in 2017, we have reached numerous significant milestones. These include the deployment of over 30,000 e-vehicles worldwide, the securing of over 830 million liters of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and the achievement of carbon neutrality in over half of our DHL Supply Chain facilities (52.1%)," shares Katja. 

"We are also proud to say that our GoGreen Plus services, which are the sustainable alternatives across all our core products, empower major customers to foster sustainable supply chains. We firmly believe that sustainability is a collaborative journey, and we are delighted that many of our customers have embraced this vision."

Seeking innovative ideas and best practices

As Head of DHL CSI, Katja manages the top 100 customers within DHL Group. From her interactions with them, Katja highlights that one of the primary challenges DHL's customers encounter is the fact that not all solutions are available, or not available at scale.

"As an example, SAF is in high demand, but its production is currently insufficient to meet the market needs," explains Katja. "Customers also express a desire for more insightful and inspirational approaches to sustainability, seeking innovative ideas and best practices to implement within their supply chains. Another significant challenge they face is the complexity of creating sustainable supply chains across diverse industries. Each industry presents unique hurdles in terms of logistics, resource management, and waste reduction. The urgency of sustainability is very much understood, but many grapple with understanding where and how to start best."

Driving transformative change

When looking at how DHL is best positioned to help customers with their sustainability strategy and goals, Katja shares: "Two major points set us apart from other companies, making us unique in the industry. Firstly, our global presence covers 220 countries and territories, allowing us to provide unmatched support to customers with their supply chains across the globe. Secondly, we offer a comprehensive, green product and solution portfolio that enable us to assist our customers in reducing emissions across every segment of the logistics value chain, such as the decarbonization of logistics services by using sustainable fuel, energy and low carbon technologies. In addition to the two distinctive aspects that distinguish us, we recognize that collaboration has become a pivotal element in our customers' pursuit of sustainability. They acknowledge the need to work together with partners, stakeholders and even competitors to foster more sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. We are therefore committed to supporting our customers in achieving their sustainability targets by providing tailored solutions, sharing best practices, and facilitating collaborative initiatives. Together, we can drive transformative change to make supply chains more sustainable."

Harnessing the power of a collective

DHL women logistics

The Era of Sustainable Logistics Global summit stands as a testament to DHL's commitment to sustainability. Katja looks at how customers have responded to the summit. 

"I'm pleased to say that the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Our customers particularly appreciated that we took up the baton and led the way on such a highly complex, yet urgent topic. They appreciated that DHL created this platform for industry experts, non-experts, NGOs and the like to come together in harnessing the power of a collective. Former UN Ambassador Patricia Espinosa Cantellano stated that "not one single person, organization or government can do this alone," says Katja. 

"One powerful theme that resonated with our customers was the sense of urgency and responsibility conveyed during the summit. The quote "If not us who? And if not now, when?" struck a chord with many attendees, highlighting the need for immediate action in addressing sustainability challenges. Another aspect that stood out to our customers was the collaborative and informative nature of the conference. They praised the level of transparency and data sharing, which contributed to an exceptional and productive experience."

Overall, the positive response from DHL's customers reinforced the significance of collaboration in driving sustainable practices. 

"It emphasizes that we all share the responsibility of protecting our planet for current and future generations. Together, we can have a real and lasting impact on sustainability," attests Katja. 

Actionable strategies for sustainable logistics

Having released a report that offers a comprehensive overview of the summit's discussions, key takeaways and actionable strategies for sustainable logistics, Katja delves into what it contains. 

"I'm thrilled to present The Report, collaboratively authored with onepoint5, a leading sustainability think tank led by Patricia Espinosa Cantellano," she says.  

"It offers readers actionable strategies for sustainable logistics, highlighting key takeaways from our recent global summit's discussions, and provides practical approaches for businesses to adopt responsible practices.

"As an example, The Report guides readers of a 5-step process to ensure a successful sustainability strategy that is an integral part of the overall business strategy. From transportation to supply chain management, readers will learn about implementable solutions to reduce environmental impact and contribute to a sustainable future. I believe that this report is a credible and valuable resource for positive change, and that it provides a great summary of the outcomes of our global summit."

Work for a company committed to sustainable action 

DHL is an employer that is strongly focused on driving sustainable practices. 

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