What is a stakeholder dialogue?
Mariëlle van Spronsen, Corporate Social Responsibility Programme manager: “For PostNL, it is important that we know what our stakeholders think and expect from us. Which is why each year we invite a group of stakeholders to get together and discuss issues relevant to society. The aim is to gain insights and gather input that will help us shape our policies. On 29 October 2015, we sat together with around eighty customers, suppliers, employees and other interested parties to discuss their view on sustainability and how our company can contribute.”
What does ‘sustainability’ mean for PostNL?
“Essentially, ‘how can we contribute to a better society by reducing our impact on the environment, while taking care of people both inside and outside PostNL?’ Sustainability is an important measure of our success, as it impacts all our activities. This is one of the reasons why it is also a part of our Business Principles and strategy. We are continually developing with the world around us, which includes adapting our approach to sustainability. We do this according to three themes: being a good employer, taking care of the climate, and making society more vital.”
What can we do now in order to be more sustainable in five years?
What did you discuss during the stakeholder dialogue?
“We discussed what ordering and delivering will look like in 2020. For example, consumers are increasingly ordering products online, which means the number of parcels we deliver is growing, as is the number of return items. This means we have a greater presence on the streets and in local communities. The question we asked our stakeholders was: what can we do now in order to be more sustainable in four or five years?”
What can you do?
The stakeholders came up with a lot of good ideas
“The stakeholders came up with a lot of good ideas. Of course, sustainability is an issue we’re addressing daily. For example, in 2015, we started delivering mail on electric scooters. And we decided to site solar panels on the major part of our parcels’ sorting and delivery centres.”
You also invited the Kids Council to the Stakeholder dialogue.
“Yes, via the Missing Chapter Foundation. Children look at issues in a completely different way and pose really concrete questions. One young boy asked CEO Herna Verhagen: ‘What is a consumer?’ That was exactly one of the core questions during the stakeholder dialogue.”
What will you do with all these ideas?
“We first mapped out all the opinions and ideas and posted them online. We’re now starting to work with these ideas: what can we achieve, and where do we need to tighten our policy? Sustainability is not a separate project, it is a part of our organisation. We can really make a difference by asking customers, suppliers and employees for their input and by working together. That’s why such stakeholder dialogue is so important for us.”