A case for coordinated action

Customers are increasingly looking to work with international moving businesses that can demonstrate sound environmental credentials. Ben Ivory, Senior Vice President – Supplier Development at Graebel Companies Inc, advises FIDI Affiliates on simple changes they can make to ensure they fit the bill

Customers are increasingly looking to work with international moving businesses that can demonstrate sound environmental credentials. Ben Ivory, Senior Vice President – Supplier Development at Graebel Companies Inc, advises FIDI Affiliates on simple changes they can make to ensure they fit the bill

Those who seek the services of relocation management companies (RMCs) and move managers have increasingly sought out environmentally responsible partners and suppliers. More than ever, global companies are asking their RMC and move managers to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes and how they are making the world cleaner, fairer and more sustainable. As customers continue to seek eco-friendly partners and suppliers, the mobility industry must seize the opportunity to leverage its resources to be even more relevant to global concerns.

The International Maritime Organization’s new marine fuel regulation to reduce harmful emissions, known as IMO 2020, is just the beginning of how the mobility industry may be affected by future environmentally responsible initiatives. While the mobility industry has been practical and careful in how it uses materials, energy and labour, typically recycling a high percentage of materials, the planet and customers demand more action. There are four steps FIDI and its Affiliates can take today to leverage their strengths and make a significant impact.

  1. Take an inventory of current CSR activities. Most FIDI Affiliates are already doing activities that fall under a CSR umbrella, including recycling programmes, intelligent scheduling of vehicles, support of community organisations and employee training. Graebel even supports relocation-related donation schemes that reduce waste while helping those in need, for example. A good first step is assessing what you have in place, determining a baseline, and establishing the next steps. During your inventory, you might be surprised by how much you are already doing. 
  2. Consider signing the United Nations (UN) Global Compact. Supporting the UN Global Compact involves: a financial investment; a commitment to the 10 compact principles, which includes undertaking initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility and encouraging the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies; and publishing an annual Communication on Progress (COP) report. This commitment enables FIDI Affiliates to build, track and more clearly communicate a robust CSR programme to customers and prospects who prioritise an eco-friendly partner. Graebel, for example, has proudly reported across the UN Global Compact principles for the past three years, and uses its COP report as evidence of its commitment to eco-friendly initiatives in client requests for proposals (RFPs). Signing the UN Compact may be most appropriate for FIDI and larger FIDI Affiliates to demonstrate their commitment.
  3. Committing to zero-carbon goals. A number of large companies and governments have already signed a goal for carbon neutrality, which means eliminating carbon emissions, or balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal, by 2035 or 2050 deadlines. The UK, for example, has committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, through tactics as big as investing in clean energy generation and as small as companies using LED light bulbs or driving electric cars. FIDI and its Affiliates might work with trade organisations to research and establish best practices and measures for reducing carbon emissions in the moving and relocation industry. Also, FIDI could consider establishing a reduced or zero-carbon commitment, paving the way for its Affiliates to follow by endorsing and supporting that goal.
  4. Embracing and broadening certification. Just as FIDI Affiliates earn quality assurance certifications – such as theFIDI FAIM programme or EuRA Quality Seal – they should also commit to environmentally responsible certifications and standards. Plus, current certifications can always be strengthened to focus more on environmental standards, Graebel International became ISO 14001 certified in 2007, meaning our environmental management system continually passes the International Organization for Standardization criteria. 

Imagine the impact if FIDI and all of its 600 member organisations take all or any of these actions. Every industry member consumes resources and emits carbon emissions, so let’s coordinate action within the mobility industry to better our planet, build our businesses, and serve our customers and their transferees.

If we act now, each RMC, move manager and FIDI Affiliate will soon be able to respond to questions such as ‘Please describe your CSR programme’ or ‘What are you doing to protect the environment’ with coordinated answers – and back up their responses with compelling and measurable data.

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