The Company of the Month is selected due to recent developments and in connection with the topic ”Logitics”. The Erste AM Responsible Investments team analyses the strenghts and weaknesses of the selected company in terms of ESG.
Still below the radar of many research houses, Österreichische Post AG has developed into one of the three leading logistics companies in our global investment universe.
The company has chosen a very structured process in order to become such a role model. The sustainability strategy of Österreichische Post AG is based on a so-called materiality matrix, which plots the most important sustainability factors for the long-term success of the company vis-à-vis the most important expectations of its stakeholders as equally important in a chart. For every area of management focus resulting from it, the company has developed according goals.
In addition, the company discusses in detail its possible contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as established by the United Nations. These goals include the fight against corruption (goal no.16) as well as contributing to a sustainable life in towns and municipalities (goal no.11).
Another core topic of SDG is the fight against climate change. In this context, Österreichische Post AG contributes on several levels. More than an eighth of the company’s fleet is electric. This share has been growing continuously over the past years. In terms of traditional cars, the share is only 5%, but the future possibly belongs to alternative concepts anyway: at the moment, the company is testing an autonomous mail-delivery robot in collaboration with Austrian partners. Also, a fifth of the delivery is serviced without cars or motorcycles, i.e. by foot or bicycle. All CO2 emissions in Austria are compensated for. Although the compensation of emissions is always an inferior choice to outright avoidance, Österreichische Post AG handles it via clearly identified – and published – projects. This procedure ensures an actually measurable impact, in contrast to the mere purchase of certificates.
While the company has set itself high standards for the working conditions of its own employees, these measures have not yet reached the external deliverers (much like in almost the entire sector). The procurement of such services is subject to a code of ethics. And while it contains minimum standards, it still lacks any detailed behaviour guidelines or sanctions. In contrast to most of the competitors, Österreichische Post AG’s strategy still relies largely on its own employees. External deliverers play a comparatively small role. In the long run, this could potentially be a competitive advantage. Surveys have shown that an increase in outsourcing leads to a decrease in customer satisfaction.
Ensuring the future viability of the company is an important goal of the sustainability programme of Österreichische Post AG. For example, the company tries to compensate for returned deliveries by developing products for safe online delivery of documents. The data protection of these solutions has already been certified according to ISO 27001, the international standard in this area – a rare achievement in the logistics sector.
In the context of SDG, the maintenance of sustainable infrastructure especially in rural regions will become a big challenge for the company in view of the rising cost pressure. Numerous post offices have been closed down. But at this point, the company is also still in over-compliance with this statutory goal.