The understanding of business value is shifting in a post-pandemic world
COVID-19 has seen many changes in the world around us: serious disruptions in global supply chains, hundreds of millions of young people temporarily out of school because of lockdowns, a massive jump in digital adoption, and also the realization that pandemics, like climate change, are not just existential threats.
The role of business in this post-pandemic world is being redefined. The value of business is defined by its profitability, yes, but also by its impact on the wider environment and community in which it operates. As the pandemic taught us, global challenges require “all hands on deck.”
At Agility, this is not a new philosophy. Corporate responsibility has always been a defining part of our Agility culture, and we are proud of our leadership in this space in the logistics industry and in the emerging economies that we consider home markets.
Despite the challenges of 2020, we’ve held the course, maintaining strong sustainability performance while also contributing significantly to global COVID-19 relief efforts, particularly in the Middle East region.
Stepping up to help combat a global pandemic
2020 was a year of production challenges, air and ocean freight markets in turmoil, and supply chain crisis on a scale never seen before in our lifetimes. Agility has taken an active role in helping government and NGO partners, as well as business customers, navigate this crisis.
Drawing on our long-standing expertise in humanitarian logistics, Agility leveraged its global network and spirit of teamwork to join the relief efforts. More than 400 employees across 60 countries contributed to an interactive freight capacity platform, accessed by humanitarian partners, customers, and the public to improve supply chain decision-making and keep cargo moving. On a commercial basis, we’ve also helped to move everything from PPE to vaccines during a time of critical need.
In the Middle East, Agility mobilized quickly to deliver truckloads of food and essential supplies pro bono, donate warehouse space and transport services, and even develop a national food security plan.
Keeping kids learning
In response to school closures across the world, our community investments program pivoted to support access to digital learning, directly supporting over 3,000 students in Kuwait, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana and more. Agility also worked with Aflatoun to sponsor a digital curriculum effort that will reach over 500,000 students through a network of NGO partners around the world.
Doubling down on fair labor
For over a decade, Agility’s industry-leading fair labor program has been an important part of our leadership approach in emerging markets. In 2020, we introduced new initiatives to improve our visibility over the fair labor practices of our suppliers. While we already had a requirement to incorporate human rights language into all labor supplier contracts, we clarified our expectations through the new Agility Supplier Fair Labor Code this year. This protection now covers at least 90% of our contract worker headcount, and we are on track to achieve our target of 100% coverage in the coming year. We also continue to maintain high standards for human rights practice in our operations. Within our core logistics business, over 90% of Agility’s emerging market operations have undertaken a 3rd-party human rights audit, including 2020 audits in six markets (Abu Dhabi, Turkey, Oman, Kenya, Egypt, and Bahrain).
Driving forward with environmental action
In our core business, Agility reduces its environmental impact by reducing the amount of energy it uses and switching to renewable sources wherever possible. As with human rights, Agility sets a high standard for environmental performance in our operations. Over 75% of our core logistics operations are ISO14001 certified, up from 49% in 2019, meaning they have identified all material environmental impacts and have a plan in place to reduce any negative impacts. Our investments in solar energy generation in Dubai and Jordan will cut our regional carbon footprint significantly. In Abu Dhabi, Agility became the first logistics company licensed to operate double trailers, reducing fuel usage by more than 25% per container. Agility also continues to work closely with business customers to put in place more cost and environmentally efficient solutions to optimize supply chains.
Investing in innovation
Beyond our core operations, Agility invests in innovations that are beginning to paint a picture of a more sustainable future. Agility has invested in Hyllion, a game-changing technology that stands to transform road freight supply chains, a solar thermal energy company that helps decarbonize industrial processing, and also in a ESG Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) led by an all-female management team.
Looking ahead, Agility will continue to invest in the sustainability space and remains committed to making a difference for customers, public sector and civil society partners, employees and subcontractors, and the communities in which we operate. We will continue to partner with innovative organizations and stakeholders across the globe to drive a greener and inclusive recovery to this pandemic and beyond.
We would like to thank you for your support, and welcome you to give us feedback on how we can continue to improve and make a difference.