Putting your money where your mouth is

Sustainability is the buzzword of the moment, with everyone – from politicians to business owners to celebrities – sharing big statements and pragmatic best practices. But, asks FIDI Secretary General Jesse van Sas, how do we apply it in our own daily professional lives?

You will have heard that FIDI, along with five other associations in the global mobility world (IAM, WERC, CHPA, EuRA and CERC), have joined forces to structure our efforts in the complex world of sustainability in our industry. There is a clear need for an industry roadmap and strategic direction; every company is frantically looking for defined next steps to respond to growing pressure from legislators, the public, customers and staff to take meaningful action in this area.

This really is a great initiative, particularly for the movers in the industry. They, after all, are the first to be singled out when carbon emissions are tallied up.

We operate trucks and vans, order air and ocean freight, and use other transport means. These are all polluting activities – and, as a result, fingers will be pointed at us. However, a move only takes place because a customer orders it, and that indicates a shared responsibility between customers and movers.

The customer is indirectly responsible for the carbon emissions caused by the relocation supply chain, which are identified nowadays as ‘Scope 3 emissions’. This makes the whole environmental sustainability matter highly complex and interconnected. Therefore, cooperation between all stakeholders in global mobility is not only a must – it is a simple and unavoidable fact.

FIDI has a clear intent to make this a focal point in its strategic development for the coming years.

The pressure is not going to go away; rather, it is going to increase as the impact of unchecked economic growth continues to take its toll on the world. We do this not just because of the push from all angles, but because we all feel this is the right way forward.

While legislators and global organisations are working top-down on this matter, what can we do, as businesses, to play our part in protecting our environment? How do we ‘practise sustainability’, and put our money where our mouth is?

Allow me to kick at an open door. In October and November this year, many of us went on a two-, three- or even a four-week business trip to North America, lining up multiple conferences and RMC meetings. All badly needed gatherings, after almost three years of COVID-induced virtual meetings. We are all human beings after all, and we need the social contact to forge true and long- lasting business relationships. But four weeks of rather uncoordinated travelling, with little or no respect for the time commitment and the environmental impact?

Deep down, we all know that this is very hard to justify, and that we can – and should – do better. Yes, the pressure post-COVID to increase our business performance is high. There is much to do to recover financially from what has been, and still is, a very challenging time.

But can we at least try to be more efficient about this? Can the organisers – and this includes our own association – find ways to combine events and meetings, and thus reduce the need for so much travelling?

If we are serious about environmental sustainability, we need to start with ourselves and get clever about how we do business.

Do share your views; we are listening.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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