Lean and Green Educational Trip to KLM and TNT a success
The sun was barely up as the front-runners of sustainable logistics gathered in the TNT Innight car park in Nieuwegein for the Lean and Green educational trip. Their destinations for the day are other front-runners from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2010: AirFrance-KLM and TNT. How did these companies achieve this title, what are their actual ambitions in the field of sustainability and how do they realize these ambitions? Eager to find an answer to these questions, all 15 participants boarded the bus, which took them first to TNT in Utrecht.
TNT Post Pakketservice
Led by Leon van den Akker, manager of the distribution centre, and TNT host Perry Heijne (project director City Logistics), the front-runners were given an inside view of TNT Post's distribution process. Despite the obviously enormous amount of packages, it was remarkably quiet in the DC. Sophisticated machines separate small packages from large postal items, read the addresses and sort the mail by postcode and house number. TNT drivers are ready to load the postal items into the vans. At around 9.00 am the work at the distribution centre is finished and the drivers are on their way to the customers.
In the meantime the Lean and Green front-runners are given a presentations by Ruben van Doorn, project director Sustainability at TNT, and by Laurens Tuinhout, Manager Purchasing, Facilities and Subcontracting. It soon becomes clear that sustainability is in the company's genes: “It's about making this planet greener, in which case it is all about people. The drivers are the company's business card.” More than 10 years ago, CEO Peter Bakker realized that due to the global developments in the field of environment, society and economy, the rules were changing. From that moment on he decided to change his company to a more sustainable one: “We need to contribute to change!” It turned out to be a strategic choice, because in 2011 investors want to be able to invest in sustainable companies and the young and talented employees are all choosing to work for companies with environmental ambitions. TNT, with 160,000 employees worldwide on the road, is aiming for a CO2 reduction of 45% by 2020. That is a huge ambition, which the company intends to achieve by implementing attractive programmes such as Planet Me or the Drive Me Challenge for drivers.
For KLM too, awareness of the global developments in recent decades was the driving force behind sustainability. Inka Pieter, Head of CSR & Environmental Strategy at KLM, led the afternoon by explaining that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is essential for the continuation of an airline company, because this will only happen if the company flies its aircraft in a responsible and sustainable manner. Together with Air France, KLM is intent on setting the standard for the airline industry. Inka stressed that KLM's top management involvement with CSR was essential in implementing the measures taken by the company over the past years. In the meantime KLM is persevering with its innovations, in collaboration with partners in the chain, to minimize its impact on the climate. Some examples: the partnership between KLM and WNF in 2007 to achieve a far-reaching reduction and offset of KLM's CO2 emissions, the various measures surrounding and aimed at the aircraft for fuel savings and KLM's active research into alternative fuels. With the last-mentioned example KLM has distinguished itself through its approach, by establishing a company, SkyNRG, with the specific purpose to boost the production and availability of biofuels.
After lunch the group was given an explanation of 2 best practices. The first best practice was explained by Ronald Verkaaik, Business Manager MD11 & A330. He described the KLM Vliegdienst project, in which pilots are inspired and motivated to make a difference through flight behaviour; the pilot's flight behaviour has a major impact on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The second best practice was illustrated by Marjo Broertjes, Product Manager Inflight Services. Marjo explained about the steps taken by Inflight Services to make the catering and the products on board more sustainable; cutting back on resources and weight on board is helps reduce CO2 emissions and also contributes to the preservation of biodiversity. A next step for KLM is perhaps the Lean and Green Award for the logistics ground processes.
At the end of the afternoon the bus arrived in Nieuwegein at the last destination of the day: TNT Innight, where the first activities for the night had already been started up. Participants learned here that night distribution is good for the environment: less congestion, fewer emissions, more speed and more quality of life. “Given our responsibility as a haulier, and the inevitable impact on the environment, it is obvious why we have chosen for the Lean and Green concept,” stated Perry Heijne, who sees Lean and Green as a method for implementing continuous improvements. His colleague Ellen Witte explained enthusiastically about the global ‘Drive Me Challenge’, intended make drivers aware of their behaviour on the road and to encourage safer and more economical driving. Research has shown that each TNT PUD (Pick up and Delivery) driver can reduce his or her CO2 emissions by up to 25% by driving more economically. The camaraderie that develops during this Challenge, which is held once a year, illustrates the lasting success of TNT's method: “Sustainability is not something to compete about, you need to collaborate!” were Heijne’s final words before ending the meeting. As a result, in 2010, TNT organized the Drivers Challenge together with their competitor DHL . An excellent example, and at the same time an invitation to the Lean and Green Award Winners to join forces in favour of sustainable logistics.