53 (148) 2022

Corporate social responsibility

CSR is in our DNA

By Kim Ruymbeke, president, East Europe district, UPS
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Leveraging a supply chain network and workforce for good

At the end of February, our world changed irreversibly. Russia’s launch of military operations in Ukraine presented new and acute challenges.

UPS’s swift reaction demonstrated the efficiency of our logistics network, dedication to our customers and those in need, as well as the compassion and support of our diverse global workforce.

In my many years at UPS, I’ve seen our people pull together their skills and passion to provide aid where it’s needed – time and time again.

Throughout our 115-year history, being a responsible corporate citizen has always been fundamental to the way in which we operate. As a business, we can only be successful if the communities in which we live and work are thriving as well.

A responsibility to be responsible

At just over 534,000 employees worldwide and customers in 220 countries and territories, we have a responsibility to set standards of ethical behaviour for our peers, our competition, and our industry. This is as much a duty as it is our prerogative.

We are guided by a clear purpose to move our world forward by delivering what matters. We make supporting our customers, our people, and the communities in which we operate the cornerstone of our business. At UPS, corporate social responsibility is not just a promise, it reflects our plan of action.

Support for the people of Ukraine

At the onset of the crisis, the safety of our employees in Ukraine was our priority and we remain in contact with them daily.

A few of the many initiatives we are involved in:

  • UPSers in Poland leveraged their connections to assist our colleagues and their families to flee Ukraine. We now welcome displaced Ukrainians into our homes – in Poland, across Europe and beyond.
  • UPS and The UPS Foundation immediately announced a $1m commitment in funding and in-kind logistics support to UN and International Relief Agencies to begin moving supplies to the borders of Ukraine. At that time, we activated emergency funding to UN Refugee Agency, The Salvation Army, CARE and World Food Programme.
  • Our Logistics Emergency Team (LET), a public-private partnership and logistics sector collaboration to help speed humanitarian relief, is staffed with UPSers who are working with the UN Logistics Cluster to stand up a humanitarian supply chain along the Poland-Ukraine border. As one of the coordination leads for all 500 relief agencies on the ground, we have been using every transport means possible to support logistics movements of needed supplies and get necessary aid directly into Ukraine and to the centres receiving Ukrainian refugees.
  • UPS Healthcare offered its warehouse near Warsaw to the World Health Organization at no cost. The agency is seeking space for storage and distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment destined for Ukraine.  
  • The UPS Foundation approved a grant of $132,000 to our long-time partner WOŚP (the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity), to fund a fully equipped ambulance for a hospital in Przemyśl, which aids refugees at the border.
  • Our UPSers across the continent have been rallying to coordinate relief supplies and funding campaigns for the purchase of critically needed items. Without a moment of hesitation, colleagues in Poland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and others set up donation drives to collect, consolidate, and deliver specific goods to Kraków, and to be moved to our LET coordinated staging centres. Within just days, UPSers in Poland collected over 60 pallets of essential goods.

No matter their background or role at our company, UPSers have come together to do the next right thing. We are connected to the world around us and we’re making an impact.

A culture of philanthropy and voluntarism

Voluntarism has always been an integral part of our company culture. Jim Casey, one of UPS’s founders, regularly advocated for employees to give back to the communities in which they live and work.

We continue to look forward, that’s why we have committed to 30 million volunteer hours by 2030. We will reach these goals through a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), voluntarism, charitable giving and investing in our communities.

Laser focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion

From war to natural disasters to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s our people who make the difference.

At UPS, when faced with a challenge, on a smaller scale or like the current situation in Ukraine, it is overcome when people of different backgrounds and perspectives work together towards a solution.

Recruiting, retaining, and developing a diverse employee community has been a strategic priority for the company, because embracing diversity, equity and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes companies stronger. Diverse skills, experiences, and perspectives matter for society as a whole and for us as a business.

The diversity of our workforce is what enables us to connect with a diversity of customers and communities and helps us anticipate their needs. When everyone has an opportunity to fully participate, we make better decisions.

The product of intentionally examining diversity, equity and inclusion at UPS is that today, we have achieved more diversity not only in our business operations – in warehouses and in delivery vehicles – but in our top board rooms. And we’re not done yet. It is important that future leaders see themselves represented at every level.

Today, our storytelling seeks to showcase the differences we are making. Through our stories, we hope to inspire others – in the industry, in the region and around the globe. We believe everyone shares a responsibility to advance positive change.

Corporate social responsibility is a business model by which UPS makes a concerted effort to enhance society. We are using our resources to create innovative solutions for a healthy and safe global community and an inclusive workplace for our people.

UPS will continue delivering what matters by every means possible.

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