The Move Towards Procurement with Purpose: Putting Sustainability Front and Centre

Anna Spinelli

Chief Procurement Officer at DHL Deutsche Post

Learning Objectives

Key Takeaways:



  • Understand how to build a purpose-led ecosystem to deliver on sustainable goals

  • What are the benefits of aligning procurement strategies with sustainable practises?

  • How can organisations better analyse their procurement environmental impact?


"We are convinced that sustainability is an area which Procurement can really use to generate substantial value for the business."

Anna Spinelli

Chief Procurement Officer at DHL Deutsche Post

Transcript

Charlie Roberts

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to Scope Supply Chain and Procurement Summit. I’m Charlie, and joining me today is Anna Spinelli. Anna is the Chief Procurement Officer at Deutsche Post DHL. A very warm welcome to you today, Anna.


Anna Spinelli

Hello, Charlie, and hello, everyone.


Charlie Roberts

Hello, lovely to have you here. Sustainable procurement isn’t something that is nice to have anymore. It’s a necessity and increasingly becoming a business requirement. We’re here today to discuss Deutsche Post DHL’s sustainability roadmap, and its wider impacts to procurement as a whole. Anna, my first question to you is, could you share with us what exactly the roadmap is, and what it hopes to achieve?


Anna Spinelli

Certainly. Sustainability, or as we say, leaving responsibility has been embedded in our mission already at the time we created the strategy 2015, so back in 2009. In most recent years, we have linked our mission excellence simply deliver to sustainability in an even more explicit way. In fact, if you look at the strategy, sustainability is incorporated in all its dimensions starting from the purpose statement, we say, “Connecting people, improving life,” and that guides our efforts and sense of responsibility in a sustainable manner. On our values, we say, “Respect and results,” and again, those are clearly linked to sustainable behaviors. Our recently announced sustainability roadmap builds on those aspects and focus on meeting commitments—clear commitments—on environmental, social, and governance framework. As a global company with more than 570,000 employees and presence in 220 countries and territories, we must have a responsibility. We recognize that very much towards our people, and obviously, the society at large. We have also a very big ambition. We want to be driving global trade, economic growth, and individual prosperity with this strategy. For this reason, one, we feel is our duty to reduce our carbon footprint and make our Supply Chain cleaner with the ultimate goal to reduce all logistic related emissions to 0 by 2050. Two, we want to ensure equal opportunities and a safe environment working wise for our associates, and this means also for our suppliers associates. Three, we must comply with all regulations and stand up as a world class role model for corporate governance.


Charlie Roberts

Great, so how has Procurement aligned itself to Deutsche Post DHL’s sustainability roadmap?


Anna Spinelli

Sustainability is a core element of our Procurement 2025 strategy house. We are convinced that sustainability is an area which Procurement can really use to generate substantial value for the business. With this in mind, our organization is taking responsibility for the governance related to ethical and sustainable Procurement for all the practices and processes in this area for the entire group, for example, as well as the supplier risk management and resilience programs. In this context, just to give you a bit of facts—recent facts—we have redesigned and re updated, let’s say our supplier Code of Conduct translated in more than 40 languages. We believe that this document sets a clear foundation of the sustainable behavior by which we mean both obviously social and environmental standards. We expect our suppliers globally to follow this. In parallel, we have also developed the training. We said we want to make sure that this document is not signed off without understanding it. We have made sure that this thing is also in multiple languages. Because after this, signing it also means that we have to adhere to it, we have to comply to it, and there is a structure—the due diligence and auditing process that is obviously as a consequence of this supplier agreement. If we move them to the environmental context, the connection from Procurement to the company is even more tight. We play a role that is important to the company in that sense that we are bringing in many suppliers for building this green ecosystem. Making sure that we tap into the ideas, making sure that we tap into the development, so that we can jointly get to the carbon neutrality.


Charlie Roberts

Definitely. As you know, for our attendees for this event, they’re primarily made up from the Supply Chain and Procurement sort of departments and Senior Executive in this roles. So, how can other companies look to reduce their carbon footprint specifically when it comes to Procurement?


Anna Spinelli

Companies need to ensure they understand deeply what drives their carbon footprint. For us, as a logistic company, obviously transportation and specifically, air transportation as the lion’s share. Procurement, being the interface between suppliers and the business, as to fully understand the goals of the company, and gather specific skills and knowledge to be able to get the opportunities as from the supplier base and bring them into the company and through this nice strategic framework. We also have learned that it doesn’t pay off to have a tactical approach on such a large and complex new landscape. You have to be really orchestrating this in a very structured manner. The beauty of this challenge is that it goes across vary dimensions, starting from adding green guidelines for natural supplies, for corporate wear, going into all sorts of digital solutions, smart metering, energy efficient buildings, but for us also means acquiring more fuel efficient aircrafts and fuel efficient ground fleets, obviously, electric ground fleet, and sustainable aviation fuel and [inaudible]. We finished with circular a solution, right? So recycling, recycling, reusing—all of this is part of the bigger picture that we have to be able to bring forward from Procurement. Clearly, the suppliers are playing a fundamental role into this journey, so we need to share with them our priorities, understand their priorities, so that we can better align on a joint roadmap, or as we say, join forces to make a positive impact on our commitment to sustainability.


Charlie Roberts

What are the benefits of aligning Procurement strategies with sustainable practices?


Anna Spinelli

There are a number of benefits of aligning strategies. First, by increasing the transparency with suppliers on their sustainability, we actually can improve the resilience of a supply base. Second, partnering with them. It really support a sustainable behavior over the globe. In fact, it makes the world a better place, and also company reputation. Third, sustainable supplier base leads to a competitive advantage, as for example, customers and employees are more and more requiring sustainability, to be reflected in our culture, in our products, and the way they do business with us. All of this leads to increase trust on our brand and obviously, from a customer angle from the stakeholders, from the suppliers, but last but not the least, also from our employees.


Charlie Roberts

Great. My last question then to you Anna would be, what can organizations do in order to be successful in terms of sustainability?


Anna Spinelli

In my mind, there are some important pre-requisites to be successful. Companies need to ensure that everyone from the shop floor to the top management in the organization know and fully stands behind their sustainability roadmap. Cultural shift, training, education, learning from others, and then again, you need to have a proper and correct data. Otherwise, you will not be able to measure your progress. We all know that it’s so important to be able to measure what you’re doing to show and to really track what’s happening. Again, be selective on the areas you will focus on and select the ones that have the highest impact. Set targets, engage them, and ensure they are very well-known within your own organization and also externally. Lastly, you need to measure against those targets, publish, and communicate at all levels of the organization.


Charlie Roberts

Great. Well, that’s fantastic. That’s sadly all we’ve got time for. Anna, thank you so much for coming along and giving up some of your time for a quick interview with us for our Scope, Supply Chain, and Procurement event. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. For the attendees at home watching, there should be a chat function below, so if you have any questions, do please pop them in. Thanks so much for watching. Thank you so much again, Anna.


Anna Spinelli

Thank you, Charlie.


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