Goals, Progress and Citizenship Reporting – Seeing the Forest for the Trees
“Life is a journey, not a destination – we determine our destiny by the direction we take.” – Anonymous
A thoughtful quote that is true with regard to life. But, for sustainability, I’d say that it’s both the journey and the destination that count. The sustainable journey, or our progress, is necessary as we proceed to the destination – our goals. But the destination is important since we strive to accomplish these goals. Otherwise, we don’t necessarily help our stakeholders – our shareowners, our team members, our customers and the communities in which we work and live. Just measuring the distance we’ve traveled is like being in the proverbial forest and noting how many trees we pass, rather than focusing on the direction we’re heading. Figuratively, it’s like not seeing the forest for the trees.
So, what else is needed? A compass for one. In the case of our sustainability, that compass is, in part, our FedEx Global Citizenship Report. It communicates what our role is with regard to global citizenship. It identifies our goals, or the destination we are trying to reach. And, it identifies the journey – how far we’ve come and, as importantly, how far we still have to go. We all know that the destination will change over time. When we get to where we’re going, there’s always that further improvement we’ll strive for in the distance. So, the accomplishment of goals serves as way stations towards continuous improvement. And, by the way, that need for continuous improvement is ingrained in the DNA of FedEx.
But for FedEx, what is our role with regard to global citizenship? Well, it’s to connect the world in responsible and resourceful ways. Doing so brings both benefits and challenges. It helps with economic development, it assists with community support and it relies upon the expertise of our people. But, we also recognize that the movement of goods has an effect on the environment.
That’s why the 2008 FedEx Global Citizenship Report is broken up into four sections.
Economics & Access discusses our economic performance, along with the concept of Access – the ability for people to connect to one another and to what they need, which ultimately creates opportunities and stimulates economies.
Environment & Efficiency discusses our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint through efficiencies and innovations that we and business in general can use to improve.
Community & Disaster Relief provides information around how we use our reach, speed and reliability to get vital resources to natural disaster sites around the world. In essence, we operate in the best, and worst, of times to supply what communities need.
And, last, but certainly not least, is our People & Workplace. It is our team members that provide value to our customers. David Bronczek, CEO of FedEx Express, articulated this when FedEx and Environmental Defense Fund received Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government biennial 2005 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership.
He was asked why we were encouraging other companies to use hybrid electric vehicles, rather than keep the technology to ourselves for competitive advantage. He said that it wasn’t FedEx’s first-in-business usage of hybrid electric commercial trucks that was a competitive advantage. Rather, it was the drivers of those hybrid trucks, along with our other team members, providing outstanding customer service each and every day that is our competitive advantage. The vehicles just made us more responsible, more efficient and reduced emissions to boot.
I couldn’t say it any better than that.