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Corporate Social Responsibility, do you practice what you preach?

By Stephen Cain | 09/04/2010 | 11:12 PM


I am a firm advocate of the concept that a company can accrue many positive effects when it acts uncompromisingly in accordance to its own Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines. Unfortunately, reflecting on my own experiences around corporate Europe, many Logistics Directors don't seem to adhere to or share my opinion nowadays; on the contrary, many of them hardly seem to think about the greater good of mankind and the environment when there is the least smell of profit around. This sounds sad but somewhat understandable if you recognize the most logistics KPI's and target settings are still overwhelmingly cost driven. These often run head on with the Corporate Social Responsibilities guidelines. I don't think one has to be a Kool-Aid sipping far lefty to understand and appreciate that adherence to corporate social responsibility is vital to a corporate image.

While not universal, there is a general reluctance of many companies to demonstrate a preference to the long-run betterment of mankind and the environment over short-term benefits. I was recently a bit astonished and positively surprised a few weeks ago when the board of a large corporation told me they were not wiling to close down a particular warehouse. They believed the employees would not be able to find a similar job in the immediate area as a result of the lingering economic crisis, which in particular, is still quite severe in the European logistics sector. By delaying the decision for another two years, they faced avoidable costs of over $150,000.

Although it does not have to be a significant as my experience above, this triggered me to investigate how other companies have incorporated their Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines into the respective aspects of their logistics activities. So what I would like to ask the readers of this blog, do you have any examples that you can share where a company has taken logistics decisions not only because it is what they think their customers want but also because their concern for Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines runs deep within their corporate veins as well? I would really be interested to hear from you.

Please email me at mail@groenewout.com

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The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Stephen Cain

Stephen Cain

Stephen Cain is senior vice president, marketing and European project support, for Groenewout Consultants and Engineers, a Dutch-based supply chain and logistics consulting/engineering firm, Cain joined Groenewout in 1994, when he established its U.S. office. Today, he handles marketing and client relations in North America, and European project support for North American-based clients. Cain has managed European projects that cover sectors such as fast-moving consumer goods, OEM suppliers, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and third-party distribution. Such projects ranged from distribution center feasibility studies to detailed design and engineering through project management and realization.


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