- How to make facility or manufacturing operations more efficient and more environmentally friendly through consultation with operators and line workers
- Developing low energy or socially innovative solutions for triple bottom line benefit
- Indentifying no-cost innovation solutions
- Developing partnerships to drive suggestions for improvements
Developing new ways of doing things, and maintaining a constructive dialogue with suppliers, customers and employees does not happen automatically. A company looking for CSR opportunities in the manufacturing and logistics functions needs to define its objectives and create awareness for the concepts of social and environmentally preferred ways of manufacturing or trucking. This means creating communications processes for all these stakeholders, so that CSR is part of their mindset when they are reviewing operational activities. "Greening employees" for example, reflects the process of educating, informing, involving and inspiring employees regarding environmentally friendly practices.
What better Company to use for a review of the embedding of CSR in the logistics function than a logistics Company. I took a look at Fedex 2008 CSR report. Here is an example:
"At the FedEx Packaging Lab, our engineers use the latest materials and tools to solve shipping challenges, including environmental ones. FedEx engineer Yongquan Zhou recently helped a customer shipping heavy exercise equipment from China find a more protective and environmentally friendly alternative for a commonly used cushioning material known as expanded polystyrene foam (EPS). His result: a honeycomb-style packaging with corrugated pads and banding, a packaging solution that not only reduces damage at a comparable cost, but is also better for the environment."
I assume Mr Zhou didn't wake up one morning out of the blue and thought to himself over the morning cornfakes: "Hmm, I need to find environmentally friendly packaging solutions today". I bet he didn't say to himself " Wow. Honeycomb-style packaging, gotta do something with that". I bet he didn't think, as he helped himself to a third bowl of cornflakes, "I can contribute to saving the planet today by developing environmentally-friendly solutions for Fedex clients". Maybe he did, but the chances are that if he did, it was because of a culture that had been developed at Fedex to ensure employees are aware of their possibilities to contribute to environmental efforts, and provide them with the opportunity to do so.
You can't embed CSR if you don't inform, inspire and involve.
elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm . Visit our website at: www.b-yond.biz/en