Air cargo business is tough not only for the carriers but also for the forwarding agents and other logistics service providers.
Strong winds of globalization are shaking the industry, and we air cargo servicemen and servicewomen can often find ourselves out of our comfort zones. New global players are ready to strike in your weakest moment. Furthermore, the media is full of stories about social responsibility. "What does that have to do with business?" often comes to mind. A company aims to make profit. Based on the profit, corporate taxes are paid which, in turn, contributes to the welfare of the whole society. Simple as that. Or is it?
CSR, GRI, green this, green that... a cargo salesman is getting confused. I'm used to thinking in kilos, yields, load-factors, networks and revenues. Finding an economically sustainable solution using these basic numbers is challenging enough. How can I take social and environmental aspects into account as well?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) usually includes environmental, social and economic dimensions. They support each other, and each one is needed.
I interpret CSR simply as fairness. Even in a cold business climate respecting other people, the environment and the society is certainly possible and in most cases very easy, too. In the long run it keeps the business rolling and can create new revenue. Happy customers, motived staff, viable living surroundings and a stable society are all good for the business. Does this sound familiar? These are all basic things that we were taught back in school.
One important part of CSR is transparency. That's where the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) comes in. GRI is a standardized way to proudly tell the world how we are doing and what we are aiming at. For us oldies who are trying to keep up with current developments, a good place to start is Finnair's annual report where the GRI report is also included.
For our children, CSR and GRI will be similar codes as VHS or Walkman were for us in the eighties; unfamiliar first, something that just appeared, and then became a part of everyday life.