Fiege has been a pioneer of green logistics for decades. The family business aims to prepare for the future as best as possible within the framework of its holistic sustainability approach.
As a family-run business and international logistics company, we bear a special social responsibility which we want to live up to”, says Martin Rademaker, who as a member of the Executive Board oversees the Business Development unit as well as Sustainability, amongst others. “Many people here at Fiege take on responsibility for others or for social projects. They commit to environmental issues, to people in need of help or support regional projects”, Rademaker says. A central business unit has now been created within the Fiege Group which merges all these activities under one headline: Corporate Sustainability. Fiege’s Sustainability Manager, Fátima Batres Bittel is the central contact both inside and outside of the company. This is where all activities and enquiries come together. Additionally, with support from the Sustainability Workstream team which is comprised of members from different business units, she develops the sustainability strategy for the Fiege Group.
Three pillars of sustainability
For Fiege, sustainability is a holistic concept which leans on scientific definitions. “In essence it is about aligning all our corporate activities towards the respectful employment of resources”, Rademaker explains further. This, however, applies not only in relation to nature and society, but also with regard to partners, customers, and naturally, the 19,000-something employees. To equally cover these very different facets, Fiege thinks sustainability in three dimensions – ecological, economic, and social – which mutually condition each other and interact with one another: “Only if we cultivate a respective awareness and effective measures within all three areas will we be successful in the long run”, Rademaker adds. The Executive Board is in agreement: “The responsibility is ours to develop the family business sustainably and to pass it later as a solid and healthy enterprise to the sixth generation once the time has come. This is what we attempt to live up to daily”, says the Executive Board member.
Ecology is not a fashion statement
Fiege thus continues the path which Heinz and Dr. Hugo Fiege, the fathers of the current Chairmen of the Board, Jens and Felix Fiege, chose over 30 years ago. Back then even, many fundamentals of today’s sustainability strategy were already apparent. “The philosophy of taking ecological criteria into consideration when building our properties is a legacy from those days”, Rademaker explains further. Many Gold and Platinum certifications from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) acknowledge successful energy management and particularly sustainable buildings. Beyond this, Fiege also supports many environmental projects that are not directly connected to its core business. “Our branches feature many green areas where we grow fruit trees or home bee colonies”, the Executive Board member details. And even ponds and special reservoirs that collect rainwater are found at a growing number of sites. In future, Fiege wishes to further intensify these efforts.
Economically sustainable business flows
The company’s financially-sound and future-proof position calls for a fundamentally sustainable way of doing business. As a pioneer of contract logistics, Fiege has been seen as a role model for years in this field, too. For many of its clients, the expert oversees all warehousing and transport logistics including value-added services while persistently tapping into the synergies this creates. “As a nexus, we impact the entire value creation process and put our green stamp on it”, 39-year old Martin Rademaker says. The more efficient the flows are, the more sustainable the offer becomes. Fiege will further expand its services offering within the field of ecologistics in the future. The goal is to always be able to present a green alternative to clients which specifically avoids emissions or offsets CO2 emissions accordingly. “We want to make the entire logistics chain more sustainable as a whole, and bring our partners along on this journey”, Rademaker concludes.
Living social responsibility
At Fiege, sustainability carries a third dimension within – a social one. As a foundation for this, the company has established an ethics code. It includes guidelines for managers on the selection of partners and on how to treat employees. Employees in particular are the ones that Fiege wishes to spotlight with this strategy. “Organisations only come to life through the people working there”, Rademaker says. One example here are the trainees at the location in Worms, who have been demonstrating their commitment to the local zoo for five years now. Up to forty young Fiege employees are designated Corporate Volunteers and as such work on a variety of projects, such as upgrading the enclosures.
One successful model is the Fiege International Team (FIT). The programme sees selected junior talent and potential managers take on a social project which they accompany for one year. During that year, they gather important experiences within leadership, management, and teamwork. In the past, a school was set up abroad under the FIT scheme. “Our juniors are currently helping a local project and working on a nutrition programme for a kindergarten here in Greven”, Rademaker adds. Beyond this, Fiege sponsors the Münster marathon where members of the integrative SV Blau-Weiß Aasee running club are given the opportunity to cross the finish line by the side of volunteer running buddies, while being cheered on by the crowds. Every year, employees at Fiege also become sponsors: “We are very proud that our colleagues all contribute towards creating a very special moment for people who are differently abled”, the Executive Board member says. “Our Corporate Social Responsibility measures strengthen unity and solidarity within the company”, Rademaker concludes.