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CSR in Focus at GL Group’s Green Wednesday Event

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Albrecht Grell, Senior Executive Vice President of GL's Maritime Solutions, stressed the importance to address CSR issues.

Albrecht Grell, Senior Executive Vice President of GL’s Maritime Solutions, stressed the importance to address CSR issues.

Hamburg/Germany, 13 February 2013 – The GL Group held its first Green Wednesday event at its head office in Hamburg. The event focused on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the challenges and solutions of sustainability reporting. More than 50 participants attended, including representatives from the logistic and trade sectors, NGOs, and organisations involved in CSR and carbon reporting.

Albrecht Grell, Senior Executive Vice President of GL Maritime Solutions, welcomed the participants to the event, stating that Green Wednesday was intended as “a platform where stakeholders could come together to discuss, share and approach ideas, as a dialogue rather than a lecture.” Green Business and CSR were intertwined, he noted, and being driven from both within industry and rising public interest. Through the upcoming series of Green Wednesday events, the GL Group hopes to give businesses the opportunity to address and find solutions to green and CSR issues.

The importance of CSR within the Otto Group organisation was the focus of the keynote speech given by Andreas Streubig, Division Manager of Corporate Development at the Otto Group. Emerging from the deep involvement of Michael Otto, he highlighted how the Otto Group has dealt with the increased demand for transparency in the digital age, and outlined their detailed Corporate Responsibility (CR) strategy. “Due to the rise of social media and the multitude of information that is available on the internet, companies no longer have control over what is said about them, ” Streubig noted. He suggested that in response companies should collect and maintain the information concerning their sustainability, social responsibility programmes, carbon footprint and other emissions, in as open a manner as possible, in order to compete with and distinguish themselves from their competitors.

The speech was followed by a panel discussion featuring Andreas Streubig, Laura Bergedieck, Head of Operations at Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Germany & Austria, Kristina Jeromin of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Communications at Gruppe Deutsche Börse, Daniel von Below, Senior Director of Corporate Development at Hapag-Lloyd AG, with Albrecht Grell Chairing the panel. The panel examined a number of questions, such as “Which areas will see the biggest push for CSR?” and “When will Carbon Footprinting (CF) become compulsory in the shipping industry?” The panellists saw the impulse toward green CSR emerging from many sides, stakeholders, clients, customers, even from within companies themselves, where it was emerging as a factor in recruitment, and as a response to the financial crisis, where a green supply chain was a point of distinction in competitive markets. The question as to whether CSR could ultimately result in lower prices for the consumer was also debated, with the observation being made that while a green supply chain could result in cost-reductions, extending CSR beyond simple efficiencies required investment.

After the panel discussion the attendees broke up into eight round tables, which focussed on individual topics such as building a business case for sustainability, Carbon Footprint Measurement, CSR Reporting, the perspective of investors and obstacles to implementing CSR. In closing, GL’s Carbon Product Manager Geraldine Findlay emphasised the importance of Carbon Footprint reporting, which to a large extent has become mandatory in modern business, she said and the role of the marketplace in driving firms to engage in and be transparent about their CSR and environmental efforts.

GL offers a variety of CSR and Carbon services, more information can be found here: http://www.gl-group.com/en/certification/25123.php

The next Green Wednesday Event will be held on 15 May, once again hosted by GL Systems Certification.
For more information and in order to register for the next event, please visit http://www.gl-group.com/en/certification/green-wednesday.php  or contact Geraldine Findlay on +49 40 36149 2492.

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