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Earth Day isn’t just a one-day celebration at DB Schenker Americas. It’s a long-term commitment rooted in a deep appreciation of our planet.


As a major global logistics player, DB Schenker enthusiastically shoulders responsibility for the sustainability of our planet. They recognize that if each of us shifts our behavior, this can trigger necessary change. Corporations can lead in that change and inspire and encourage team members to join in and be an example to other companies. This is the role that DB Schenker has taken on.

The leaders of this charge are Brenda Kelly, Director of Environment, and Deniz Tanacan, Environmental Analyst and Specialist for the Americas. They work in many different capacities to perform a wide range of duties centered on designing the most supportive, interdependent relationship between people and their natural environment. As Certified Internal Auditors, they propose actions and policies to create less harmful and cleaner interactions with the environment; and also determine the environmental impact of corporate practices and ensure regulatory compliance. Tanacan monitors all the sites in the Americas and makes certain that they’re performing to the best of their ability on the side of the planet.

Often changes are made including: setting up recycling processes; replacing lighting in the warehouses to be more energy efficient; switching over to electric forklifts; installing motion detectors for energy conservation; switching to digital files and EZ-Scan programs; purchasing ethanol fueled vehicles for managers and bio-diesel fuel for truck fleets; thinner paper and hand driers replacing paper towels in the restrooms to reduce paper consumption; and the list goes on.

Schenker Inc.’s central purchasing unit has developed partnerships with numerous strategic national suppliers, which in turn act in a very environmentally aware manner and have their own environmental programs. For example, Schenker, Inc. recycles used office equipment, like computers, copiers and fax machines, with the assistance of the manufacturers’ return/recycle programs.

All facilities in the Americas Region (US, Canada & Latin America) submit their best green practices to DBS several times a year. In the Americas, DBS is ISO 14001 Certified. To maintain certification, there are annual audits at the sites that the registrar randomly selects every year. The most recent audits were in February 2015 and the auditor was very impressed with what he saw at all sites, documenting no non-conformances.

Since 2008, Schenker, Inc. is Smartway Certified – a program originated by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of SmartWay is to identify products and services that minimize transport-related emissions. This involves the systematic sharing of tools and resources among the individual partners with the aim of reducing emissions. The emission values are to be controlled using an electronic system called FLEET (Freight Logistics Environmental and Energy Tracking). The purpose of the program is to save between 3.3 and 6.6 billion gallons of diesel each year, which corresponds to emission reductions of 33-66 million tons of CO2 and up to 200,000 tons of NOx.

And the commitment doesn’t stop there. Tanacan and Kelly, organize employee events throughout the year that help the environment. An example is an Arbor Day event at the end of this week. Employees are asked to volunteer time at Tanners Pond Environmental Center – a location familiar to the team when they assisted in cleanup after Hurricane Sandy. This year, they will be digging “tree pits” for an extensive planting of trees. If the plan is successful, Tanners Pond will go down in history in the Guinness World Record Book as the most trees planted in 1 hour. The DBS team will go on record as the crew that helped dig those holes. The benefits are extensive with such programs – not just for the environment, but also for team building.

Last year, an electricity savings contest, named Expedition to Success, was enacted in the US from July to December of 2014. The US offices competed in electricity conservation, tracing their energy usage precisely as they enacted new processes to conserve. The total sum of energy saved from the top three winners was 375,157 KWH. This is the equivalent of the CO2 emissions from 29,109 gallons of gasoline consumed. An added plus was the awareness that of a lot of small steps lead to a big return.

All of the efforts have not gone unnoticed. The time and attention have resulted in several significant HSE Awards, rewarding the commitment of its employees to a standard of excellence in all of its activities with regard to health, safety and the environment (HSE). DBS policies and procedures are designed to enhance this culture.

  1. Won the Inbound Logistics 2014 Top G75 Award for their measureable green results, sustainability, innovation, continuous improvement, and industry recognition. This is the fourth year in a row they’ve been selected.
  2. Supply and Demand Chain Executive’s “2011 Green Supply Chain Award” The Award highlights a variety of approaches to sustainability and the range of strategies and solutions that they have employed to incorporate sustainability in the supply chain. The Green Supply Chain Awards puts the spotlight on concrete results they have seen thanks to their sustainability initiatives.
  3. Nominated for the 2013 DB Award in the “Environmental” Category. – Showed how their region overcame roadblocks and drastically improved its recycling efforts in the past 3 years, along with a variety of volunteering activities they participated in. – One of the top three projects selected in their category. – First time ever nominated for this award. – Did not win in their category, however, they were greatly praised by upper management and recognized for their strong “Eco Pioneer” spirit.

In the United States, there is no national law that mandates recycling. Through years of environmental education provided to these branches, along with quarterly check-ups on their waste handling, the efforts have yielded significant increases in plastic and paper recycling activities in the last three years – to the point of being recognized internationally. It has now become a culture, showing savings in battery, gas and paper consumption; spreading to green consultancy to their diverse client base; and employee volunteers in nature conservation and cleanup.

But, they are not going to rest. DB Schenker continues to look at themselves. They continue to determine if they are maximizing employee performance with a healthy, safe environment, and making careful use of resources. They continue to make partnerships with other companies that are striving for a smaller CO2 footprint; and continue to inspire their employees to join in the fight on the ground. This is the culture of the next generation of corporations.

Thank you: Brenda Kelly, Director of Environment and Deniz Tanacan, Environmental Analyst and Specialist

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