Interview with Christof Ehrhart, Executive Vice President at Deutsche Post DHL Group
Climate Action interviewed Christof Ehrhart, Head of Corporate Communications & Responsibility and Executive Vice President at Deutsche Post DHL Group, the Official Venue Partner of the 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum.
1. Do you want to say a few worlds about how a logistics company is related to sustainability and climate action?
Our mission as the leading mail and logistics company is to connect people and improve lives. Due to the size and global reach of our Group – and our importance for global trade – we feel we have a special responsibility for our employees, for society and the environment. This strong sense of responsibility has a major influence on the way we conduct business and is the foundation of our corporate culture.
2. This year’s Sustainable Innovation Forum will take place on the lawn of the Deutsche Post DHL Group Post Tower (Post Tower) premises, which features some impressive sustainability elements. Can you share some details?
The Post Tower is exemplary in form of technology and environmental impacts, consuming 30% less energy than comparable buildings. Its highlight is a double glass skin. A technology based on wind, sun and water from the adjacent Rhine River cools down the building in summer, heats it up in winter and provides fresh air to the employees – without air conditioning. Further the transparency of the glass surface allows using daylight even in inner meeting rooms, which further reduces the Tower’s electricity consumption. And the friction used to slow and stop the elevators is reused as an energy source. Of course, remaining electricity comes from 100% certified renewable sources.
In 2014, the American Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat recognized the Post Tower’s advanced design with its “10 Year Award”, stating: “The Post Tower has changed our view of what a sustainable skyscraper is. It is an exemplary, sustainable icon of contemporary architecture.”
3. DHL has a climate protection target to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050. This is pretty big considering that it is one of the biggest logistic companies in the world. How do you plan on achieving this target?
In 2008 Deutsche Post DHL Group was the first logistics company to set itself a carbon efficiency target: To increase our CO2 efficiency by 30% until 2020. And while many observers were sceptical at the time, we even managed to achieve the target four years ahead of time. This success fuels our confidence for the steps to come.
Our Group-wide environmental protection program GoGreen is an expression of our strong sense of responsibility for society. The program’s main objective is to reduce and/or avoid emissions of greenhouse gases and local air pollutants. By the year 2050 we want to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero – again a highly ambitious goal.
To ensure progress towards the 2050 zero-emissions target, we have set four interim goals. By the year 2025, we want to:
- Increase our carbon efficiency by 50% compared to 2007 levels.
- Reduce local air pollution emissions by operating 70% of our own first and last mile services with clean pick-up and delivery solutions, such as bicycles and electric vehicles.
- Have more than 50% of our sales incorporate Green Solutions. This way we also make our customers’ supply chains greener.
- Certify 80% of our employees as GoGreen specialists and get them involved in our environmental and climate protection activities. This includes joining partners to plant one million trees each year to protect our forests.
4. What are your expectations towards COP23? Do you think it will build up on the momentum of COP21?
COP21 marked the political breakthrough. COP23 will be about the details of the implementation. Therefore it is very fitting, that this conference takes place in Bonn, at UNFCCC’s headquarters. It is like UN Climate Change is coming home to where its success will need to be steered day by day. As an official partner to COP23 Deutsche Post DHL Group will play its part in supporting the implementation – our Mission 2050, our commitment to reduce our emissions to net zero by 2050, is our agenda in this journey.
5. You are the official venue partner for the 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum. Why did you decide to get involved and what are your expectations from the event?
Deutsche Post DHL Group developed a holistic approach to support neighbouring COP23 – from content to volunteering to green logistics services. And we offered venue space to the United Nations as well as important third party side events – like the SIF – which share the aim to jointly work for implementing the Paris Agreement.
The 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum will take place in Bonn, 13-14 November adjacent to the COP23 Bula zone, on the DHL Post Tower premises. To learn more about the event and how to register, visit http://www.cop-23.org.