[Feature] FedEx Express & OzHarvest Partnership To Feed New Zealand
FedEx is easily one of the most recognizable courier delivery services in the world. But the company doesn’t just deliver your mail—it also delivers on its commitment to its surrounding community and staff.
Back in September, I wrote about corporate social responsibility in New Zealand (New Zealand Playing Catch Up In Corporate Social Responsibility, September 19th), specifically, what it was lacking. About a week later, a representative from FedEx Express Australasia emailed me about the company’s efforts in the community, focusing on collaboration with OzHarvest, Australia’s first perishable food rescue organisation. I have never been more willing to be proved wrong.
“We believe that many opportunities facing our business are directly linked to the ways that we interact with the communities where we operate,” said Kim Garner, managing director. “We see being a good global citizen as a critical component in our business strategy.”
Through his time at FedEx, Garner has learned that by giving back to local communities, employee engagement increases. High employee engagement leads to a better work environment, happier employees and, perhaps most importantly, employees that want to come to work. In New Zealand, FedEx’s employee engagement efforts have earned the company the AON Hewitt ‘Best Employer’ recognition seven consecutive years.
FedEx’s annual involvement in OzHarvest’s Cooking for a Cause is an “unforgettable corporate team building experience that is interactive, educational, inspiring and of course lots of fun—with a tangible social impact,” said Ronni Kahn, social entrepreneur and founder of OzHarvest. “Throughout these sessions, OzHarvest also educates the team about the work we do in the community, the issue of food waste, food security and homelessness in Australia.”
OzHarvest And FedEx Cares Week
Although in two different businesses, FedEx and OzHarvest are similar in several ways. Success for both lies in logistics, with OzHarvest delivering thousands of meals via van, and both obviously care for the surrounding community. These similarities led Kahn to approach FedEx in 2011 with the idea for collaboration.
“Our partnership over the four years has seen a continuous growth in staff participation in charity events year on year, as well as expanded our reach to engage FedEx staff in Australian cities—Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne—and 2014 saw us work together over the seas in Auckland and Christchurch,” shared Kahn. “Our key engagement program is Cooking for a Cause – a fun, hands on cooking workshop, led by a professional chef, in a commercial kitchen where teams cook hundreds of meals ready for immediate distribution by the OzHarvest vans to those in need in Sydney.”
The collaboration with OzHarvest on the ‘Cooking for A Cause’ initiative was part of our FedEx Cares Week 2014. FedEx volunteers provided support to OzHarvest by giving their time to collect, cook and distribute meals for those who are in need. FedEx Cares, its week-long annual initiative, is a global event with close to 10,000 employees donating 46,000 hours of volunteer service in 2013.
Outreach’s Impact On Company Culture
With such an informative, interesting opportunity for its employees, FedEx’s involvement with OzHarvest and Cooking For A Cause doesn’t just benefit the community—employees also reap some benefits. By providing staff the opportunity to give back and have a positive impact makes them proud to be a member of a socially responsible company.
“This helps us retain and attract talent important to the success of our business,” Garner explained. “We’re pleased that in 2014 FedEx was named in Forbes’ top 50 of the World’s Most Reputable Companies and the AON Hewitt ‘Best Employer’ for seven consecutive years, a significant recognition of our efforts in helping local communities.”
“The benefits of staff participating in our Cooking for a Cause program are boundless,” shared Kahn. “Getting the staff together to bond over a common goal encourages team cohesiveness and allows them to spend time together in a meaningful, fun and interactive environment. Not to mention the personal satisfaction for each person in knowing that they have contributed to those less fortunate in society. For the participating company, this goodwill flows on to create positive and charitable culture within your organization greater staff engagement. Many studies show that providing staff volunteering opportunities leads on to greater employee retention.”
Sometimes employers forget that the company’s employees live in the same community it could be helping with CSR initiatives. Not only can a company offer employment to an individual, but it can better the community in which that individual works.
“We are committed to giving back to the local communities where our team members and customers live and work,” said Garner. “We encourage all of our employees to volunteer in the communities and consistently receive positive feedback from employees who take great pride in seeing their contribution go a long way towards helping the lives of others.”
Changing New Zealand’s Current CSR Approach
Garner believes that education for businesses is the most important aspect of bringing New Zealand up to speed with corporate social responsibility. The benefits of implementing CSR initiatives and the knowledge that the success of a company is connected to the success of its community are just a few things Garner suggested.
“FedEx believes that being a good global citizen is a core value in our business,” said Garner. “Our CSR involvement helps to reinforce relationships with the community and strengthens our company for a brighter future.
“ [...] Global citizenship is not a secondary activity; it should be a core value of the business. By integrating this into every day decision making processes you can make a significant positive change in your communities. As part of being a good Employer you should view CSR as a long term investment which demonstrates your commitment to your employees, customers and communities. The benefits of CSR can be seen by higher employee engagement levels and better customer relationships that prefer to collaborate with a responsible business.”
One of the easiest ways to find success with corporate social responsibility is to find a charity that “aligns with your mission, and that actively works together with you to create a meaningful partnership,” shared Kahn. “It can’t just come from the top (although you certainly need management onboard) it is paramount to a successful partnership that your staff are also onboard and given the opportunity to be part of the relationship.”
Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?
Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.
Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.
JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.
Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.
Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?
A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.
The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.
According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.
Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.
“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”
How did JungJin get there?
JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.
Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.
And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.
With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.
“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”