Disaster relief a growing part of ESG commitments

by Krystyna Shchedrina

Amazon and DHL have both announced renewed philanthropic commitments.

Amazon has recently doubled the size of its Disaster Relief Hub in Atlanta as the 2022 hurricane season begins. DHL has donated US$150,000 to the American Red Cross.

These efforts are part of a trend for international logistics companies seeking to implement environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies. 

Hurricane preparedness

The 2022 hurricane season is forecast to see from 14 to 21 storms with up to ten reaching the hurricane strength. Amazon will be pre-positioning a million emergency relief kits to respond to hurricanes and other natural disasters along the Gulf Coast, in the Caribbean and in Puerto Rico. The relief kits will include essentials like shelter materials, hygiene and medical supplies, toys and household items. 

The hub, a physical location which Amazon re-purposed for disaster relief, will expand to 20,000 cubic feet to support more than 10 relief organizations.  

Abe Diaz, Amazon’s disaster relief lead said, “At Amazon, we are obsessed with our customers, who make up the communities we are trying to help. This is just the right thing to do.”  

DHL donates to the Red Cross

DHL’s donation to the Central & Southern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross will help assist communities affected by over 60,000 disasters every year. The $150 thousand will be used to stock warehouses with blankets and non-perishable foods, train disaster response volunteers, and deploy technology to enhance the response to events like tornadoes, home fires and floods.  

The partnership with the American Red Cross is an extension of the work that Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) conducts globally to support humanitarian logistics and communities in need, said Stacie Sarbaugh, who is responsible for DHL’s . Sarbaugh said the donation is one of the ways of implementing the company’s ESG commitments.

According to Sarbaugh, DHL also exercises its transport and logistics capabilities through its Blood Drive program to encourage sites in the U.S. and Canada to host employee blood drives at its facilities. She added the DHL’s Supply Chain Future Leaders scholarships will come in place this fall at 13 universities and colleges across Canada and the U.S.

Emphasis on ESG

Companies around the world are looking to better integrate ESG policies into their strategy and business models because their stakeholders are demanding that companies work to improve their organization’s sustainability, said Alex Kotsopoulos, a partner in the ESG advisory practice for RSM Canada, a national accounting and consultancy firm that focuses on Canada’s middle-market businesses.  

“Millennial and younger generations are much more inclined to invest and buy in accordance with their values, and this has spurred the growth of ESG and ESG investing in particular.”  

According to Kotsopoulos, companies will increasingly utilize ESG to drive product and service differentiation. He believes companies in competitive industries like logistics can benefit significantly by doing so, adding that governance is fundamental to the success of any ESG program. 

Kotsopoulos said many larger companies establish cross-functional ESG committees, which reflects the horizontal nature of ESG. Logistics companies – no matter the size – need to understand the key material of ESG issues facing their business and focus their initial program on those themes and metrics.