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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
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Practical Environmentalism: The FedEx Way

By Guest Author, Mitch Jackson, VP, Environmental Affairs & Sustainability, FedEx Corporation

Practical Environmentalism is strategic and transformational environmental stewardship that adds tangible value in the effort to be more responsible. A household, a business, or a government can practice it. When applied to business, it encompasses economic viability, strategic integration, team member involvement, and doing what’s right for stakeholders.

This is the approach FedEx has used—and it is paying off for us in the form of savings, innovation, and other forms of intangible business value. I have described the building blocks for Practical Environmentalism to include:

• Performance
• Transparency
• Innovation
• Leadership

We are practicing each of these building blocks - constantly seeking opportunities for continuous improvement:

But why should we also focus upon Innovation and Leadership? Simply put, they are critical. They are both inwardly and outwardly focused. They help to change what’s possible within an organization; but they often affect and influence in a much larger sphere, sometimes society at large, as the chart below shows.

Practical Environmentalism can provide the blueprint for a structure that’s built to last. Environmental performance is part of the solid foundation. Leadership helps expand the structure’s benefit to others, not just the original occupants. Transparency acts like windows, allowing outsiders to see in, and the occupants to view the landscape outside. And, Innovation keeps the occupants dry, safe and warm during the changing seasons.

It is a pleasure to be participating in the Green to Gold Playbook "BRASS TACKS" Blog.

One additional important source of practical advice that I recommend for everyone is Environmental Defense Fund’s driving tips (which are also covered in more depth in The Green to Gold Business Playbook’s chapter on “Logistics and Transportation”).

I look forward to learning from others, putting solutions into practice, and perfecting our approach. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.

For more, visit the FedEx Blog at blog.fedex.com and click on the EarthSmart menu.

Performance: Business owes the public more than a good performance, but it’s the necessary start. As, such, FedEx was the first company in the U.S. transportation-logistics industry to set a goal to reduce carbon dioxide in global aviation. Through calendar year 2009, we have achieved a reduction of 12.9% from our 2005 baseline. We were the first in our industry to set a goal to improve the mileage of our FedEx Express vehicles back in 2008. To date, we’ve achieved a 15.1% improvement in fuel economy since 2005. And, FedEx Express made LEED® Certification the standard for newly-built U.S. facilities.

Transparency: Materiality matters. As such, FedEx was the first company in the U.S. transportation-logistics industry to establish a Citizenship Blog, to report global Scope 1 (direct) greenhouse gas emissions in 2008, and to disclose climate risks to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Why is this important? It gives information to our stakeholders on what we are doing, why it is important, and where we are heading. Think about it, it’s similar to our customer service - we move our customers’ goods (which are extremely important to them, and us); we tell them where those goods are during shipment; and tell them when they have been delivered to their final destination.

Innovation: FedEx has worked closely with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to create innovative, clean delivery vans. This work resulted in EDF declaring that, “FedEx leadership has helped to make hybrid truck technology a reality…FedEx led the launch that changed the marketplace.” More than 200 fleets have since purchased the very vehicles we had developed. But, we haven’t stopped there. We’ve gone on to push for electric vehicles, not only for commercial vehicles, but passenger ones, as well. Check out this video on the need to move to a diversified transportation portfolio.

Leadership: FedEx was the first company in the U.S. transportation-logistics industry to push for commercial-vehicle fuel-economy legislation, which was enacted in the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007. And, we helped create a set of principles to inform and support this first-ever national greenhouse gas / fuel efficiency program for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. See http://blog.fedex.designcdt.com/node/810.

This post, by Mitch Jackson, VP, Environmental Affairs & Sustainability, FedEx Corporation, was originally published on the Green to Gold Business Playbook website.

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