We look back on a turbulent 2016, with geopolitical tensions and events posing major challenges for the global community. As the international order undergoes change, both political leaders and financial markets orient themselves increasingly on fluctuating moods and trends. A sensible and sustainable way to address these challenges is through greater cooperation. As a global logistics company we know the importance of global connectedness and global networks, and cooperation has never been more important than it is today. In this time of change, ensuring stability, continuity and opportunity requires both concerted action and a strong sense of responsibility among political leaders, society and the business community.
Corporate responsibility is a core component of this joint endeavor. With its Strategy 2020, Deutsche Post DHL Group established its goal to become a benchmark company for responsible business and, in the reporting year, we once again demonstrated our focus and commitment to achieving this. Our approach here is to focus our attention on the issues considered most relevant for us and our stakeholdersIndividuals or groups of individuals affected by a company’s business operations.. We reached important milestones in several areas and further solidified our role as a leader in sustainable logistics in 2016, especially in the area of environmental protection.
We want to support the global community in achieving the United Nations’ two-degree climate target. After achieving our own climate protection target well ahead of schedule in 2016, we have now articulated a new, ambitious vision for the future. By the year 2050 we want to be the first logistics company to make emissions-neutral transport a reality. This will require us to further reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and continue to improve our carbon efficiencyA ratio index used by Deutsche Post DHL Group to manage the greenhouse gas emissions of its business operations, whereby emissions resulting from fuel and energy consumption are assessed in relation to services rendered (e.g. quantities/volumes of letters, parcels, pallets or containers).. Four interim goals for 2025 will help pave the way towards our 2050 vision. First, we plan to improve our carbon efficiency by 50% over the 2007 baseline. Second, we want 70% of deliveries to be made with clean, green solutions such as electric vehicles. Third, we want over 50% of our sales to incorporate Green Solutions. And fourth, we want 80% of our employees to participate in sustainability training measures and get actively involved in environmental and climate protection projects. We also plan to help protect the world’s forests by planting one million trees each year together with our partners.
The Group’s commitment to the environment and to society is in line with our mission of “Connecting People, Improving Lives”. This becomes real and tangible on the local level, where our employees engage in a diverse range of volunteer activities. One example is our Group-wide Global Volunteer Day (GVD). Once again in the reporting year over 100,000 employees gave more than 365,000 hours of their time to social and environmental projects as part of GVD. In addition, some 15,000 employees in Germany took part in our refugee initiative, making a significant contribution to language training and workforce integration for those who have sought refuge in our country. Our employees, of course, are crucial not only to the progress and achievements made in the area of corporate responsibility, but also to our business performance. Their dedication, expertise and customer focus are the keys to our company’s success over the long term, which, in turn, provides employees with both stability and opportunity into the future. I am proud to report that we once again increased our workforce by some 10,000 employees in 2016. We also continued to move forward with our Group-wide Certified initiative, which we believe will develop our people into the industry’s best. As part of the Certified initiative, over 230,000 employees have already been successfully certified and trained as specialists in their respective divisions.
Commitment and common values are also the foundation for our strategic partnerships. I am very pleased to have established a partnership with the global vaccine alliance Gavi to collaborate on improving delivery of life-saving vaccines in developing countries. In the reporting year we also renewed our longstanding partnerships with the Teach For All global educational network and the United Nations, whose global sustainable development goals we expressly support. And as a signatory of the UN Global Compact we remain steadfast in our adherence to its ten principles.
We look to the future with optimism without closing our eyes to possible risks. Our efforts in the area of resilience management have resulted in extensive and highly effective processes to ensure the stability of the Group even in times of change. With these in place, we can focus our attention on future opportunities. We see tremendous potential, for example, in today’s digital transformation. In logistics in particular, digitization brings with it numerous opportunities to improve not only our productivity and service, but also our performance in the area of sustainability.
We will seize upon these opportunities over the short and long term so that we build on our strength as a business while solidifying our role as a leader in corporate responsibility. As mentioned earlier, this will depend a great deal on the strength of our networks and partnerships. Only by working together can we build a future that combines social and environmental responsibility with business success.
Dr. Frank Appel