37 (132) 2018
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Corporate Social Responsibility

Sustainable supply chain – is it possible?

By Ewa Chwiłkowska, marketing specialist, Fresh Logistics Polska, Raben Group
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In the 21st century the key competence of a modern logistics operator is no longer exclusively transport and storage of goods.

Leading logistics players should monitor and observe the market from a broader perspective, being aware of their impact on other participants of the whole supply chain. Taking into account logistics of fresh products, it is even more complex process since we are talking about food – the quality of which has a profound impact of all of us.  CSR tools help us understand the importance of logistics in the economy and encourage business to search for environmentally friendly solutions.

In everyday life, we rarely realise the importance of logistics, although it plays a crucial role in shaping consumer habits and in macroeconomic development.

The fresh yoghurt in your fridge is transported from the warehouse 300 km away. Tea brought from India to a harbour in Hamburg then travels 620 km before you can find it on the shelf of your local shop. Bread is quickly transported from the local bakery so you can enjoy it still warm on your table. All these conveniences are possible thanks to transport.  For years, our campaign Transport is Necessary has been communicating the importance of transport for the economy and for every one of us. And we want to educate the society about the road safety. As part of the campaign, we conduct activities through our Facebook profile, special website, outdoor campaigns on our truck fleet. In addition, together with local police departments, we educate the youngest citizens making them aware of the importance of transport and training in the field of road safety by spreading safety tips in kindergartens and primary schools.

Can transport be ecological?

Transport activity has a profound impact on the environment. Therefore, we make every effort to minimise carbon dioxide emissions. Example – our long-running e-invoice=higher culture campaign encourages our clients to give up the paper version of the invoice. For each agreement, we allocate €1 to the Aeris Futuro foundation, with which we plant trees together. So far, 11,000 trees have been planted by the whole Raben Group, of which 7,500 have already neutralised 5,625 tonnes of CO2. We try to achieve a similar effect through a ‘double satisfaction survey’ – we donate €1 to charity for every customer satisfaction survey filled in by our clients.

We also analyse new construction technologies. We want to support the environment in a way that will contribute to the measurable benefits for our customers. The great potential is in new lighting technologies. After a phase of testing, we have rejected ineffective and non-ergonomic solutions and implemented LED lighting in warehouses. We also use more expensive –  but more effective – cooling systems and we invest in thermal isolation of our cross-docking platforms.

In addition, we are constantly modernising our fleet and implement innovative solution so that our impact on the natural environment is even smaller. Therefore, for example, we train our drivers with the eco-driving mode or exchange the fleet for trucks with less emissions (EURO 5 and 6).

This year we have launched a new social campaign: Eco2way - on the way with ecology based on a social experiment and a contest “Are you ECO Family”, in which we encourage ecological behaviour on a daily basis. The campaign is supported by influencers including Oczekujac.pl, Szczęsliva.pl and Zuch.

Integration with local community

Business does not operate in a detached social space. We are a part of a local community and therefore the engagement of internal and external stakeholders is of profound importance. For this reason, we conducted dialogue sessions with stakeholders according to the AA1000SES standard. Among participants there were our suppliers, employees, representatives of local communities and authorities. The main goal of our Common Way project is to find out about the needs and expectations of local communities, suppliers and neighbours. During such sessions we talked to more than a hundred stakeholders, who shared with us their opinion about our company as a neighbour. We listed and wrote down many interesting ideas concerning our cooperation. We believe that dialogue will enable us to conduct business in a more sustainable way and will contribute to various operational improvements inside the company.

Employees – the greatest asset!

One should also bear in mind that engaging employees in socially responsible actions is a key determinant of success. Therefore, since 2014 we have been conducting volunteering Show your initiative programme, thanks to which our employees and drivers may change local reality. The main goal of this action is to mobilise our people to undertake entrepreneurial, socially benevolent and ecological behaviours that will support and develop social communities.

We try to make every effort in order to retain the best employees. Warehouse staff is the core of our business. Therefore, we are trying to ensure them an engaging working environment. For years we have been organising our Dances with Pallets contest. The event targets fork-lift operators and its aim is to emphasise two major aspects of everyday work of a warehouse worker. It raises the awareness of safe work in the warehouse. Every year, this awareness is getting higher in Fresh Logistics Polska and the contest plays a major role in this. Secondly, it is extremely important to acknowledge the competencies and raise the prestige of the position of the operator, which is connected with employer branding. Each year, qualifications for the contest consist of two parts: theory focused on presenting good practices and desired behaviours, and a practical component during which fork-lift operators navigate a route with obstacles.

A sound mind in a sound body

A sound mind in a sound body means more energy, stamina and motivation. That is why, for many years now, Fresh Logistics Polska has been organising a Health Week filled with attractions promoting active lifestyle for the benefit of the health and well-being of its employees. Our employees receive newsletters with articles about healthy diets, the beneficial impact of smiling, slow jogging – running with a smile. They have an opportunity to consult a nutritionist, measure blood pressure, take part in lectures concerning ecology, create ecological furniture, go jogging and do some gymnastics.

Health and safety are unnegotiable in Fresh Logistics Polska. For years, the company has been building a robust safety culture among its employees and suppliers, and it cares not only for the education of its staff but also of all road users: motorists and pedestrians. That is why, in July 2018, the Don’t be wild! educational platform dedicated to road safety was launched. The platform is available on the website www.niebadzdziki.pl. It offers an e-training course in the form of 10 thematic animations which show selected principles of safe behaviour on roads and manoeuvring yards and which affect the safety of all road users.

Love food? – don’t waste it!

In our everyday CSR campaigns, we take into consideration the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of them is to stress the importance of food waste reduction. Fresh Logistics Polska has been cooperating for years with Polish Food Banks. In 2018 we rescued four tonnes of food from waste and at the same time we supported families in need. Food products that are obtained by the food banks for social purposes include fresh food, articles requiring refrigeration and freezing conditions. We also encourage our customers to take part in this action by e.g. asking them to provide food with a short expiration date.

All of this is to show that logistics has entered into new dimension – focused not only on the core competences of the logistics operator, but concentrated on mutual complementation and interpenetration of common priorities of each participant of the supply chain. CSR actions should not be regarded as activities to increase profits and make savings, but they should be aimed mainly at enhancing competitive advantage, increasing trust and building immaterial heritage and responsible supply chain.

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