A.P. Moller-Maersk and strategic philantrophy

A. P. Moller-Maersk Group

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The Danish oil, shipping, airline and retail giant A.P. Moller-Maersk (APM) donates free transportation to victims of the earthquake in Japan. It is not the first time that APM steps up and helps out using its core capabilities in line with strategic CSR.

Senior Consultant in APMs CSR department Jens Munch Lund-Nielsen was quoted by Reuters to say that the offer of free transport is sent out via diplomatic channels from the Danish Embassy in Japan. The beneficiaries are governments and organizations.

“We have allocated one million U.S. dollars for relief ship transport. So far we have received response from the UN and an Eastern European country that will send emergency relief. In this situation we can do what we do best” says Jens Munch Lund-Nielsen.

The donation follows A.P. Moller-Maersk same line as the flood disaster in Pakistan last year and the earthquake in Haiti, where it also sailed with free emergency assistance. At the same time the Danish Red Cross can look forward to a nice cash donation from APM and the many thousands of employees in more than 130 countries.

“We have started a collection among the staff through the Danish Red Cross. It runs until 15 April. The sum of this collection among the staff is being doubled up by the company” says Jens Munch Lund-Nielsen.

APM have for several years have been lacking on the CSR front but one of the things that the company always have done well it is to use it resources and knowledge as strategic philanthropy.

With the company ideally situated as the biggest freight forwarder in the world it can use it ships and terminals to help at a fraction of the expense that other companies would have to pay for a similar service. While APM have plenty of other issues that it have to deal with around the world especially related to Human and Labour rights this is one instance were the company really does things well.

When business moves forward

Within the world of CSR there is a tendency to focus on the negative stories who did what to whom or who and what effect did it have. But sometimes we need to look at all the other things that companies do in order to be good citizens. I have spent some time reading through the A.P.Møller-Maersk (APM) first published CSR report and it is big and impressive. For a company that has made a virtue out of being as closed as possible it is a giant leap forward.

There are some key areas which I would like to highlight for other to learn from.

It utilizes the tools that technology can offer when navigating the 140 page report. When I first took a look at the report I thought that it was a monster but when I dug into the material it was easy to navigate around. So the lesson for others is that you should provide extensive information about the performance of the company but keep in mind that mortal have to read it too.  

APM identify and create strategies for stakeholder engagement. I think is a sheer brilliance most companies just write that stakeholders are important and we communicate with them but APM goes a step further and tells us how they aim to achieve this. I like this a lot. (Yes, I know there are properly a lot missing but for a company the size of APM they give it hell of a shot.)    

They set them self ambitious target (from a Danish perspective) on getting female representation in top management. Knowing APM as a male testosterone driven organization it is clearly a way of showing that this company is moving also on the fundamentals.

I also like the absence of “Hurray”-words. There is nothing like a report filled with green this and green that it just does not do it for me. The APM report is a serious piece of work and they are ambitious but keep the business perspectives in focus.  A lesson to be learned from many others in the CSR industry.

I look forward to the reports to come on how APM have come true on the ambitions.