FedEx Blog

FedEx Blog

All in a Night’s Performance – Bogart, Business and Boxes

December 7, 2009

“The only thing that you owe the public is a good performance” – Humphrey Bogart

Maybe this is true in acting; but it’s not accurate when it comes to business in general, or delivering boxes every day and night.

It is possible, however, that nothing adds as much initial, tangible value as does performance. It’s the most basic component of Practical Environmentalism – the “foundation,” as I referred to it previously. Practical Environmentalism, itself, is strategic and transformational environmental stewardship that adds tangible value in the effort to be more responsible.

Given that FedEx connects the world, performance is important. In fact, FedEx has often been used as a verb, with the name signifying efficient, timely and reliable delivery. In this regard, performance is connected to discipline. For FedEx, this means that we must exercise discipline in our day-definite and time-definite portfolio of services. Striving for 100% service reliability each and everyday requires that discipline.

From an environmental standpoint, it is also one of the reasons that we set goals for long-term performance on material issues last year. For instance,

In the fall 2008 FedEx established its CO2 reduction goal for our global aviation operations. This was a first-ever CO2 reduction goal by a U.S. based transportation company. We reported our progress last year against the 2005 baseline, but actually underreported our improvement. From calendar year 2005 through the end of calendar year 2008, we have actually improved our performance by 8.33% (1.55 pounds of CO2/available-ton-mile in 2005 to 1.42 pounds of CO2/available-ton-mile by the end of 2008). Importantly, this is much better than we had reported last year, and is verified through existing publicly-available data.

In addition, FedEx also has a goal to improve vehicle fuel efficiency 20% by 2020, and is currently at 14.1% improvement from the 2005 baseline. As far as we know, no other transportation company has such a goal. How have we done this? Through what I refer to as Reduce, Replace and Revolutionize:
We utilize routing efficiencies in order to reduce the number of vehicles needed.
We seek to downsize vehicles that travel more miles in order to maximize fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
And we seek fuel-efficient and environmentally beneficial technologies, such as hybrid electric and electric vehicles, in order to maximize efficiencies — particularly in heavily urbanized settings.
Of course, we also measure and work to improve our efficiency in facilities, paper, and other environmental areas of our business. Information on this can be found at

However, we also provide other tangible value to our customers. We provide the transparency on where packages are in the transportation system. We innovate with new services – for instance, we recently announced SenseAware, a next generation, first-of-its-kind information service that combines a GPS sensor device and a web-based collaboration platform. And, we lead – into new markets and with new offerings, such as our recently announced new FedEx International Economy ® service in Mexico.

Having said all this, from a broader business perspective, performance is naturally important; but it’s not all a business focuses upon in its oversight of its operations. Just like FedEx focuses upon more than performance in service to customers, businesses in general routinely provide transparency on financial returns to shareholders and investment analysts. They innovate to stay relevant and service their customers. And, in some cases, with progressive, thriving companies, they lead – in products, services, markets and the like.

Practical Environmentalism’s building blocks include Leadership, Innovation, Performance and Transparency. Just like in business at large, Performance in environmental sustainability is not all that matters. Leadership, Innovation and Transparency matter, as well. Maybe the public is only owed a good performance in acting, as the quote says. I’m not an actor, so I don’t know. But, it does lead to an interesting question. If some are only focused upon performance, are they only acting…in a way?


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