LQ’S EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW SERIES
BEST PRACTICES IN GREEN LOGISTICS

A Conversation With Enno Jakobson

Executive Vice President, Challenger Group

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LQ: How does your firm sell the concept of “triple bottom line” (economic, environmental and ethical) to shareholders? (David Closs, PhD, Michigan State)

Enno Jakobson: The concept of triple bottom line has been part of our culture for the past thirty years. It is best embodied in our vision statement: together, we will go the distance, constantly challenging ourselves to build new standards of quality and performance through leadership, respect and commitment. The tenets in our vision statement contribute to all aspects of the triple bottom line. It’s probably why we’ve been one of Canada’s fifty best-managed companies since 1991, with platinum status the last 2 years.

In terms of our work culture, people who work here truly want to be here. It’s a culture of respect, which fosters a unique dynamic of high energy, comfort and fun, so as a result our people are proud to work here because we genuinely believe in these basic principles.
We are committed to fostering this, and a great example would be our corporate facility, which is a LEED ™ certified building that we’re extremely proud of. The different areas of the facility, from administration to fuelling to yard management to vehicle maintenance, were all designed to blend and provide a single, efficient operating site.

LQ: What procedures does your firm have in place to identify and evaluate the environmental issues that will be important to your customer segments? (David Closs, PhD, Michigan State)

Enno Jakobson: We look to see where we can integrate our entire logistics package while ultimately reducing the client’s carbon footprint. For example, we have our people onsite at several of our clients’ manufacturing plants — and we actually handle the entire process, from the start of the manufacturing process to the time the product is delivered to their client. We mandate and accept the full responsibility for identifying and implementing segments of the process where we can effect reductions to carbon impact through reduced fuel consumption or by changing shipping patterns and modes. By controlling their supply chain we can track and identify for our clients the improvements that have been found. Our active KPI’s are focused on reducing empty miles and packaging and the reduction of overall energy associated with each stage of the process. 

LQ: Does your firm foster a culture of sustainability from the top down? Can you give examples that make this commitment palpable and visible? (Nicholas Seiersen, LQ Executive Editor & Senior Manager, KPMG)

Enno Jakobson:  Our facility and our constant investment in gaining fuel efficency in our fleet would be the two shining examples of our commitment to sustainability. We could have built a more conventional building but our collective vision was that the payback from the gained efficiency by including geo thermal heating, water conservation applications, to radiant heat in our maintenance facility would more than justify the increased initial costs. More than eighty percent of the materials in our administrative building are either recyclable or have been made from recycled material, from our desks to our chairs to the flooring. With the reduced off-gassing and a healthier work environment we have gained man hours with less absenteeism.

LQ: Can you name some of the concrete things your company is doing to enhance supply chain sustainability, and some of your plans for the near future? (Nicholas Seiersen, LQ Executive Editor & Senior Manager, KPMG)

Enno Jakobson: It affects everything from the trucks and trailers that we’re buying, to the accessories that we’re putting on to those units, to driver training. We have a mandatory annual certification for fuel-efficient driving. We have alternative power units, aerodynamics and different anti-idling technologies. All of our wash water is recycled, low flow water fixtures have been installed to conserve water usage, sensors determine when our lawns should be watered, and we have geothermal heating for our 60-thousand-square-foot corporate headquarters.
This year we were the only Canadian-based carrier to be awarded the SmartWay Award of Excellence, recognizing our ongoing commitment to sustainability.

LQ: Do you think the economic downturn will put a damper on your efforts to enhance supply chain sustainability? (Nicholas Seiersen, LQ Executive Editor & Senior Manager, KPMG)

Enno Jakobson: Not at all. If anything, I believe it’s more relevant now than it ever has been. It’s vital to the survival of any enterprise today.  As we move through these difficult times, aligning oneself with these ideals will make for stronger and more sustainable business partnerships.

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