Deutsche Post DHL Group is a publicly listed company headquartered in Germany. In 2021 its revenue was USD 93.16 billion. DPDHL comprises the global logistics brand DHL and the European postal service provider Deutsche Post. It operates air, rail, road, and ocean freight transport, and 80% of its activity is subcontracted. Between 2020 and 2021, DPDHL's revenue grew by 22% driven by the impacts of COVID-19.
DPDHL uses several levers to encourage its subcontractors to reduce their emissions. This is critical as subcontracting represents 80% of its business activities. The company has set targets for 60% of its pick-up and delivery vehicles to be electric and 30% of its air, ocean, road freight transport to use sustainable fuels by 2030. These targets include subcontracted activities. The company has a transport partner activation plan, which defines standards, offers training and provides incentives for investment in green transport solutions. Moreover, DPDHL has a Supplier Code of Conduct which requires subcontractors to provide a measurable contribution to climate-net-zero logistics. However, the company should require subcontractors to also provide their emissions intensity data, investment strategies and decarbonisation plans.
DPDHL’s monetary incentives programme for management is linked to climate change. In 2021, the company approved a decision to link 30% of its monetary incentives to environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. Specifically, 10% of these incentives are connected to the company’s decarbonisation performance, such as reductions in total carbon emissions.
DPDHL is actively developing technical business models for a low-carbon future across the range of transport modes it operates. These models include the development of sustainable maritime fuel, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), investment in e-planes and low-carbon last-mile road deliveries. Though DPDHL does not report the profitability of any of these models as yet, they are all already in operation at some scale. The company also has clear growth targets for each business model within the next 10 years. If its targets are met, the business models will make up a significant proportion of the company’s operations.
Through DPDHL GoGreen solutions, the company aims to reduce customers’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. DPDHL’s transparency tools include carbon reporting, a carbon dashboard to illustrate customers’ supply chain emissions and a tool to compare customers’ carbon efficiency to sector benchmarks. Additionally, the company provides services for customers to reduce their identified emissions. For example, it offers alternative transport modes, such as a combination of air, rail and ocean transport services. However, the company can set specific targets for reductions in client emissions and a clear strategy to continue to promote low-carbon solutions to customers.
DPDHL is actively developing technical and operational business models for a low-carbon future. It is investing in sustainable maritime fuel blending and SAF, which the company aims will meet 30% of its maritime and aviation fuel requirements by 2030. The company has also ordered 12 short-haul e-planes for delivery in 2024. Additionally, the company is trialling hydrogen trucks in its road freight operations and aims to electrify 60% of last-mile delivery vehicles by 2030. DPDHL can improve disclosure on the profitability, current size, growth potential and deployment schedule of these low-carbon business models.
DPDHL’s emissions intensity increased by approximately 4% annually between 2015 and 2019, and even more significantly in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by increased demand for goods. As a result, DPDHL failed to align with its 1.5°C pathway. The company has identified the importance of understanding and addressing its emissions from subcontracted activities and therefore reports these under its scope 3 emissions. However, DPDHL lacks robust data on previous and future emissions intensity of subcontractors. The company should improve disclosure on the emissions intensity of its subcontracted activities to better understand and align with its 1.5°C pathway.
DPDHL has pledged to undertake several decarbonisation measures, including a material investment and research and development (R&D) investment of up to USD 8.3 billion by 2030. The company states that it supports innovative technologies such as e-planes and SAF. It also runs the DHL Innovation Centre. However, despite these wide-ranging commitments, the company does not disclose the proportion of its total R&D expenditure dedicated to low-carbon vehicles and energies. The company should ensure that a significant proportion of its R&D expenditure is in low-carbon vehicles and fuel development.
DPDHL receives a trend score of =. If the company were reassessed in the near future, its score would likely remain the same. The company has targets to reduce its emissions and increase the proportion of low-carbon vehicles and fuels it uses. Crucially, DPDHL’s strategy includes subcontracted activities, which make up approximately 80% of its emissions. However, despite a robust transition plan, the company’s emissions intensity has been steadily increasing between 2015 and 2020. The company must accelerate the implementation of its strategy to be able to align with a 1.5°C pathway in the future.
DPDHL has set a target to reduce its scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 50% by 2025 compared to 2007, and a net-zero target for 2050 covering all emission scopes. The company has set a further target to reduce the group emissions to below 29 million tonnes by 2030 (compared to 39 million tonnes in 2021). DPDHL does not intend to use offsets.
The company plans to spend USD 8.3 billion on green technologies by 2030. This will include transitioning to 30% sustainable fuels across air, road and ocean transport. It will also electrify 60% of its last-mile delivery vehicles. The group is particularly targeting to bring down the emissions of its subcontractors.
In 2021, DPDHL spent USD 185 million (4% of its capital expenditure) on decarbonisation measures. The company has ordered 12 e-planes for delivery in 2024. It is also offering a sustainable maritime fuel option, currently used by 1% of customers. Additionally, the company has switched 23% of its road fleet to low-carbon vehicles.
The company’s emissions intensity increased on average 4% annually between 2015 and 2019. The company’s emissions intensity spiked in 2020 due to COVID-19, driven by increased demand for movement of goods. This increase is not aligned with the company’s 1.5°C pathway. Contrary to the ambition represented by its net-zero target, DPDHL has also recently lent support for the expansion of Leipzig Airport in Germany.
DPDHL’s strategy and targets, which include addressing emissions from subcontracted activities, suggest it is committed to decarbonisation. However, the company’s increasing emissions intensity and support for a German airport expansion signal that a lot remains to be done if the company is to translate its commitments into concrete emissions reductions.
No evidence was found of the company’s commitment to social dialogue or of the categories of stakeholders the company engages with on a just transition. Furthermore, no evidence was found to demonstrate the company’s ongoing social dialogue and meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders.
No evidence was found of the company undertaking low-carbon transition planning to mitigate the social impacts of the transition on workers, affected stakeholders and its business relationships. Additionally, no evidence was found to demonstrate the company’s engagement in social dialogue or engagement with stakeholders in its just transition planning.
No public commitment by the company was found stating its intention to create and support access to green and decent jobs as part of the low-carbon transition. Moreover, no evidence was found of the company’s action to promote these jobs in a way that ensures gender balance and inclusion of vulnerable groups. Additionally, no relevant disclosure was found of the company’s assessment of employment dislocation risks.
The company discloses the actions it takes to provide training opportunities for workers and affected stakeholders. For instance, it offers management training to employees, and it works with partner organisations to offer skills training to refugees in Germany. However, no relevant disclosure was found of the company embedding equality of opportunity for women and vulnerable groups in these actions. Furthermore, no evidence was found of the company having a process for identifying skills gaps for workers and affected stakeholders or a public commitment to help workers displaced by the transition to reskill or upskill.
No relevant disclosure was found to show if the company identifies impacts of the low-carbon transition on social protection for workers and affected stakeholders, nor how it contributes to social protection. Additionally, no evidence was found that the company expects its business relationships to contribute to the social protection of their workers and affected stakeholders.
No relevant disclosure was found to show how the company identifies any misalignment of its lobbying activities with policies and regulations that support the just transition, nor of the measures it takes to address misalignment. Furthermore, no evidence was found that the company lobbies for policies and regulations for green and decent job creation; retention, education and reskilling; and social protection for workers.
The company commits to respecting human rights and the ILO fundamental rights at work. However, its Supplier Code of Conduct does not disclose an expectation of its business relationships to respect all of the ILO fundamental rights at work. While the company discloses its process to identify salient human rights risks in its own operations, no relevant disclosure was found of such a process regarding risks in its supply chain. Furthermore, the company can increase disclosure on the assessment and mitigation of its salient human rights risks and its engagement with affected stakeholders. The company does, however, have a grievance mechanism available to workers and external stakeholders.
The company commits to respecting the health and safety of its workers and expects the same commitment of its business relationships. While the company discloses a target to employ 30% women in management roles by 2025, no evidence was found of a broader-level company commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. The company discloses the proportion of its direct workforce covered by collective bargaining agreements and some indicators of workforce diversity, including the age and gender of its workforce by employee category. However, it can increase its disclosure on these subjects, as well as on its living wage and working hours practices.
The company commits to protecting personal data. It also has a privacy statement regarding the collection and sharing of personal data. However, no relevant company disclosure was found regarding access to personal data. The company does have a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, and it includes corresponding clauses in its contracts with business relationships. However, no relevant disclosure within policy documents was found regarding the company’s tax strategy or its approach to lobbying and political engagement.