Business Brains

Your delivery company giveth, why shouldn't it take away?

Your delivery company giveth, why shouldn't it take away?

Posting in Environment

DHL has started up an environmental services division in Europe that will pull the company into recycling hauling and related activities.

Without fail, at least one express delivery truck drives down my street every day, dropping off something or other for me or one of my neighbors. Sometimes those vehicles make multiple visits. Often, I have wondered why those logistics aren't better coordinated. Or, for that matter, why those companies aren't making better use of progressively empty vehicles by taking things BACK to the company's warehouse facility.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who has been wondering this: delivery company DHL has just started up an Envirosolutions division in Europe. The services that the group will offer are outlined on its site and they specifically related to environmental laws that are in effect in the EU: packaging compliance, WEEE compliance, battery compliance, waste and recycling, local community support, and gathering the data to help companies prove that they are doing things the right way.

The idea is to extend DHL's existing lines of business, while offering DHL customers both better compliance postures and potential new revenue streams.

I haven't heard of any other major delivery company doing the same sort of thing. Mind you, UPS has focused on green shipping services. That is, it helps some of its business customers offer shipping options to their customers that are more environmentally sensitive than others. The company calls it their carbon-neutral shipping option. (There's even a Web site, GreenShipping.com, that helps you make shipments via FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service more carbon-neutral.)

A service like the one that DHL is offering is much harder to pull off, because it really requires a totally different mind set on the part of the drivers and warehouse personnel. But it should be interesting to see if the other major delivery companies -- or the USPS for that matter -- look at ways to follow suit.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure