The yellowest is also the greenest

What most entrepreneurs don't know is that we produce electric vans. So we are not only the yellowest, but also the greenest carrier in the Netherlands', says Michel Clausing of DHL eCommerce. He himself has already ordered the charging station for his electric car. 'After the summer, I will switch from hybrid to electric driving. Solar panels will be installed on my house.'

The vehicles have the somewhat confusing name StreetScooters. But they are really electric vans. Michel Clausing, VP Sales and Customer Service at DHL eCommerce, says: "The StreetScooter is the future. DHL acquired and further expanded this startup in 2014. The cars are not only for us, we also sell them to other companies.' In the Netherlands there are already 150 driving around. The next 150 have been ordered and are coming in the summer.

With ease
'On average, a delivery driver drives 40 to 50 kilometres, which saves the StreetScooter with ease.' The latest models are equipped with a BMW battery. "Thanks to this collaboration, the new StreetScooters can drive 160 kilometers without recharging. This ensures that we can produce a larger model. And in the future, we will also be able to deliver our B2B shipments from our Brabant branches in Den Bosch, Roosendaal and Eindhoven co2-neutral.'

No marketing gimmick
He likes to explain to the skeptical reader that the StreetScooter is not a marketing gimmick. 'Certainly not. Driving on diesel would give us more profit. Sustainability is an essential part of our organisation.' DHL is also investing in training all 500,000 employees worldwide. 'So that everyone will have the same awareness.' And DHL goes further. 'Recipients can choose time windows and we encourage webshops to offer the choice for delivery to a DHL ServicePoint. Because the smaller the chance that we won't find someone at home, the lower the CO2 emissions.'

Michel Clausing, VP Sales & Customer Service at DHL eCommerce

Brand new
DHL is a major player in the market. 'In B2B we are the biggest delivery company. In e-commerce, so delivery to private individuals, one of the biggest two', he continues. In Zaltbommel, which is adjacent to the province of Brabant, a brand new distribution centre is currently being built. "This will be our largest e-commerce distribution center. From here we directly deliver our 139 DHL CityHubs in the Netherlands. Noord-Brabant, with its strong SMEs, is home to many of our customers.' This new building will receive the BREEAM Excellent sustainability certification and is CO2-neutral.' There will also be 3,000 solar panels on the roof. 'In addition, the rainwater is reused, it has a heat pump, all lighting is LED and of course there are charging stations for our StreetScooters.'

Under the name Go GREEN, DHL is working on becoming CO2 neutral. 'That's a challenge, because we're growing and therefore transporting more.' And with a wink: 'So we will have to give a lot of gas with sustainability.' The current figures show that DHL already had 25 percent less CO2 emissions in 2015 compared to 2007. That is the starting point of GoGREEN. The most profit can be achieved in the very last part towards the customer. 'This last mile contains the most emissions. By 2025, we will be 70 percent CO2-neutral.' When asked how sustainable the average DHL employee is, he answers: 'All employees with a lease car will switch to electric in the coming years. Dhl is also investing in this area.'

Educational projects
DHL also organises various activities in the field of CSR. 'At GoHELP, we make our logistics organisation available in the event of natural disasters. With GoTEACH we teach, for example, children who do not come along well at school. For this we work together with, among others, an MBO institution in Rotterdam and football club Excelsior.' Michel himself lives in Tilburg. He would therefore like to set up a similar project with his own club Willem II.

Text: Sara Terburg
Photography: Kees Bennema