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Q&A with Mitch Jackson of FedEx

Climate change, urbanization and globalization are just a few of the issues facing our world today. How does global citizenship help FedEx to address these concerns and to effectively operate in a rapidly changing marketplace?

At the most basic level, we serve our customers by providing high-value-added logistics, transportation and related business services. And we do so day in and day out to the very best of our abilities. We strive to make every customer experience outstanding—what we call the "Purple Promise." But beyond moving packages from point A to point B, we also connect the world—and we aim to do so responsibly and resourcefully. This means minimizing impacts on the environment and congestion, improving the safety of streets in cities around the world, utilizing our infrastructure to provide disaster relief and linking people to thriving markets and economies.

What global citizenship achievements are you most proud of?

Our people are at the heart of FedEx. When you look at what our team members do in moving possibilities for our customers and communities, it's hard not to marvel at their dedication, strengths, diverse backgrounds and impact around the world. FedEx® Fuel Sense team members have, for example, helped us save more than 334 million gallons of jet fuel since 2007, which equals 3.25 million metric tons of carbon emissions avoided, in addition to the economic savings. And our FedEx Express Vehicles team is within a half of a percentage point of our goal on vehicle fuel efficiency, five years ahead of schedule.

Our logistics expertise applies beyond our core business and benefits communities and stakeholders the world over. We're the logistical backbone for Orbis and its Flying Eye Hospitals. We work with EMBARQ to develop smart public transportation systems in growing mega-cities. We support legislation to reduce environmental and societal impacts of the transportation industry. And these are just a few examples. It's tough to pinpoint only a few areas of the transformative work we are doing, so I encourage you to read on and learn more about the breadth and scope of our activities.

What challenges do you face in achieving your environmental goals?

We have big ambitions. We set a strong goal to obtain 30 percent of our aviation fuel from alternative sources by 2030. One challenge we face is aligning our aspirations with the realities of cost competitiveness and available supply. Many smart, dedicated people are working on developing liquid fuels from biomass, but it is not currently available in volumes that are economically viable or meet commercial needs.

This obstacle is not unlike those that we face related to other business goals. Smart collaboration and unrelenting focus, clarity and execution will help to overcome these challenges. For example, we are working with several organizations, including the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative and The Nature Conservancy to support the development of sustainable alternatives to jet fuel.

FedEx recently conducted a materiality assessment. Will the results impact the company's global citizenship strategy?

In a word, yes. Materiality is a requirement for the Global Reporting Initiative G4 framework, but its value is much greater than that. If we were simply undertaking this process to satisfy a reporting requirement without using it to strengthen our approach, it would be like assembling the ingredients of a good meal without actually preparing and enjoying it.

By and large, the results of the materiality assessment reconfirmed our current global citizenship strategy and indicated that we are already focusing on those issues that are material for us. But the process shed light on places where we might improve our focus across the enterprise. In the next year, we plan to again reevaluate our goals and metrics in our top material issues to ensure we are measuring and managing what really matters, and having a meaningful impact wherever we can.

What insights were gained through the materiality process?

External stakeholder feedback was particularly enlightening. Broadly speaking, external stakeholders placed more importance on mitigating risks, such as greenhouse gas emissions, than seizing opportunities related to global citizenship through product and solution innovation. We feel both are important, however. Additionally, the views and values of external stakeholders are not always aligned. This underscores the importance of targeted,
issues-based engagement with certain stakeholder groups, and is the impetus for our plan to increase our external engagement efforts moving forward.

What all of this leads to, as I stated last year, is that FedEx is built on the belief that local economic growth requires connectivity with the rest of the world, and we accept that it is our role and responsibility to do this sustainably.

- Mitch Jackson is vice president of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, FedEx Corporation

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