The Rhenus sustainable development goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
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A more sustainable future for all

Rhenus contributes to the 17 SDGs to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.​ We conducted a materiality assessment to find out about the biggest fields of action for Rhenus. ​The goal of this assessment was to clarify the influence of Rhenus and its ability to positively contribute to each SDG (“Rhenus Scope of Action”). From the outcome, we have defined four main SDGs that we see as our core goals, while Rhenus also addresses and strives to meet the other 13 goals.

UN Global Compact

  • Rhenus is a participant of UN Global Compact.
  • Since 2022, Rhenus has been committed to the UN Global Compact corporate responsibility initiative and its principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.
  • For more information, please click here.

The four main Rhenus sustainable development goals

Goal 13

Climate action

As a logistics service provider, we offer the most sustainable transport and supply chain solutions possible to our customers. In addition, we operate sustainable logistics properties and look for alternative drive technologies.

In the field of e-mobility, Rhenus has set a focus on finding alternatives to the familiar diesel engine. Besides aiming to minimise road transport through the means of multimodal transport options, there are still few alternatives to trucks for the last mile. However, electricity, hydrogen, LNG and other drives are gaining more and more traction when it comes to truck engines. Rhenus is already testing and using many of these sustainable technologies today and will continue to do so in the future:

While transport accounts for a majority of carbon emissions worldwide, real estate – such as office buildings, warehouses oand terminals – also need to be maintained and operated in a sustainable way. Rhenus is committed to optimizing existing sites and building more sustainable warehouses. One example of this is “the Tube”, the Rhenus Warehousing Solutions location in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The building received a BREEAM Outstanding score and rating of 99.4 percent, making it one of the most sustainable commercial buildings in Europe. Not only does it offer methods to reduce carbon emissions through smart heating, rainwater usage and insulation, it also provides a healthy work environment through efficient climate control, lighting and ergonomic office equipment.

Goal 8

Decent work and economic growth

As a family-owned business and an internationally operating logistics service provider, we take our social responsibility very seriously. We want to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all our employees. Our pragmatic approach allows us to act quickly in any economic situation.

Many of our sites offer various benefits for our employees, such as canteens, social rooms, kitchens, company bicycles, subsidies for public transport and gyms or sports activities. Our goal is to extend these amenities to even more sites within Rhenus.

Of course, we ensure the compliance with all statutory regulations everywhere we operate. This includes adherence to rules and guidelines such as minimum wage, maximum working time, health and safety, etc. You can read more about health and safety at Rhenus here and can find our compliance guidelines here.

Goal 3

Good health and well-being

We are committed to providing safe work conditions for all our employees and to promoting health and well-being. This starts with regular training courses and health offers for our employees, through to ergonomic and safe workplaces and working conditions.

We value our employees as our most valuable asset for developing the Rhenus Group. That is why we are committed to providing safe work conditions and promoting health and well-being. Each of us embodies the statement “occupational health and safety starts with me.” Rhenus also offers regular trainings and co-determination in occupational health and safety, such as a reporting system and an accident analysis.

The Rhenus family also promotes proactive dialogue across all levels of the company. Our aim is to perfect the occupational health and safety organisation day by day.

More about our health and safety aspects can be found on our website.

Our global monitoring system allows us to track health and safety information and implement improvement measures quickly across our network.

Rhenus also has a zero-accident culture, which focuses on people and their motivation to work safely, allowing us to act proactively in dialogue, even before the accident happens. This culture is error-friendly and uses the knowledge gained from these, creating safe, intuitive work environments.

Zero-accident culture is not only a smart goal, but also a sign of appreciation for our employees as experts in their fields and their participation in an intuitive, safe and healthy working environment.

Zero-Accident Culture:

  • Focus on people and their motivation to work safely
  • Act proactively in close coordination even before the accident happens
  • Error-friendly, using the knowledge gained from mistakes
  • Create safe, intuitive work environments

We also have several programs to create awareness concerning physical health, knowledge transfers and implementation offers, which are integrated into everyday working life.

Goal 9

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

We collaborate with research institutions, start-ups and are involved in scientific projects to build resilient infrastructure, improve inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. Our goal is to create safer and more efficient logistics and better infrastructure worldwide.

RHEGREEN is a CO2 calculation tool that allows our customers to choose the most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft for their air freight shipments. This can reduce CO2 emissions per shipment by ten to 40 percent. Read more here.

RHEVO is a Rhenus-internal innovation initiative that was built around Alan Kay’s argument, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” The incubator program is targeted at all employees with an innovative mindset and aims to develop and digitalise our offered services as well as establish new services and products. More about RHEVO can be found here.

The “greentube project” was an idea to develop a warehouse sustainability dashboard in order to make the warehouses we own and rent greener. The idea came from participating in the Cross Innovation Lab 2021, which sees companies and the creative industry come together to develop new products within a stimulating and inspiring environment for a period of six weeks. The data from all Rhenus warehouses was used to create an overview of the real-time CO2 emissions and resource consumption of all locations. This, in turn, was used to motivate employees and managers to implement solutions to reduce CO2. The tool also allows for calculations on how these solutions will impact the location’s carbon footprint. Read more here.

Rhenus offers sustainable and cost-effective transport of goods thanks to its extensive inland waterway transportation network. Port locations along most major European waterways and a fleet of close to 1,000 ship units with capacities of up to 10,000 tonnes per unit make it possible to ship huge quantities with a low impact on the environment are possible. Learn more about our inland waterway transport.

Cargo shipped using the Rhenus Consolidation Box out of our Hilden gateway has been carbon-neutral since the start of 2022. This product will progressively be rolled out through all Rhenus gateways worldwide. Read our press release.

Additional sustainability development goals for Rhenus

Goal 1

No poverty

Within the goal to end poverty everywhere in all its forms, global Rhenus activities contribute to growth, fair working conditions and payment for our more than 37,500 employees and, beyond that, in many communities. Our logistics services also make goods available where they are needed.

Many Rhenus teams around the world have founded, support or donate to relief organisations, foundations and non-governmental organisations (NGO) for local communities. These are just a few examples:

Rhenus Thailand donates used books to the Baan Nokkamin Foundation on a yearly basis. This NGO assists homeless children by providing a safe place to live, better education and skills for the future.

In South Africa, our colleagues drop off canned food, clothes and toys on Mandela Day, celebrated on 18 July, in order to donate them to an orphanage.

In addition, Rhenus Air & Ocean cooperates with the Santa Shoe Box Initiative in South Africa to give children in need personalised gift boxes containing essential items such as learning supplies, hygiene products and toys. Rhenus employees pledge for and assemble the shoe boxes and arrange their delivery to the required destination. In 2021, 433 Santa Shoe Boxes were donated on behalf of Rhenus.

Goal 2

Zero hunger

Rhenus aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by investing in long-term and purposeful projects worldwide. We support this by creating meaningful and substantial work, helping families earn a regular income.

Wings for Aid and Rhenus Air & Ocean combined their efforts in 2019 to provide last-mile deliveries of relief goods in disaster areas. Rhenus handles the logistics regarding goods and taking the delivery systems to their destination. From there, the Wings for Aid system, using a small unmanned airplane and smart technology, allows self-landing boxes of emergency aid to land with great precision in otherwise inaccessible areas. Read more here.

Rhenus India has also created various CSR activities and projects. Among them is a community kitchen that Rhenus and several companies in India founded together in April 2020 to distribute food prepared on-site for free to daily wage earners who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Bhiwandi, a hub for logistics and the textile industry. You can read more about it here.

Goal 4

Quality education

In response to the goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning, Rhenus offers a wide range of trainings and skill development opportunities to all our employees. The Rhenus training system is also unique in its scope.

Rhenus offers employees training that forms the basis for a professional career and ensures a steady income. On a company-wide training and e-learning platform, each employee has the opportunity to choose specific training courses and workshops to expand and deepen their knowledge as well as learn new skills. In addition, mandatory training such as for data protection, occupational safety, information security and health management is easily accessible via the platform.

Rhenus also offers worldwide trainee programs and apprenticeships. In Germany, the training system is unique since it enables job training and practical experience alongside university studies. Trainees also receive annual book vouchers, with Rhenus covering the materials costs.

Each year, the team of Rhenus Thailand donates used calendars to the Foundation for the Blind in Thailand, which is under the Royal Patronage of H.M. the Queen. These calendars are used to produce teaching materials in Braille for the professional training of visually impaired people.

Rhenus also supports educational programs by donating used computers and laptops.

Goal 5

Gender equality

Rhenus embraces diversity and is committed to equal opportunities for all genders. As a company in a male-dominated industry, Rhenus strives to make the logistics sector more attractive to women and girls, providing training for female employees to empower them to take leadership positions.

In 2021, Rhenus APAC launched a campaign on LinkedIn to promote women in leadership. In the course of this, three articles (articles 11 – 13) were published sharing female Rhenus employees' thoughts on several topics such as gender equality or female leadership in the logistics industry. 

 

Goal 6

Clean water and sanitation

We ensure that our employees have access to clean water and sanitation at all our sites. Rhenus is also committed to avoiding harmful pollution and to using water efficiently through sustainable water management.

Rhenus certifies its sites according to the ISO 14001 standard, which includes:

  • Commitment to the careful use of resources (including water)
  • Compliance with all relevant environmental legislation such as water law, immission control and the Drinking Water Ordinance

24 percent of Rhenus units taking part in the matrix certification are currently ISO 14001 certified. Rhenus has created a uniform process for all certified locations on how to implement the requirements of ISO 14001. The determination and evaluation of relevant environmental aspects including water and wastewater are described in this process.

Many Rhenus locations have kitchens where employees can prepare their own meals and which also feature water dispensers.

Rhenus India has been making periodic investments in a small man-made lake that was created in 1984 in the village of Sherda, Rajasthan, a very dry region. Rainwater is harvested and accumulated in the lake for reuse rather than allowing it to run off. After proper treatment, the water is then used for gardens, livestock, irrigation and for household use by villagers.

Goal 7

Affordable and clean energy

Rhenus contributes to the production of clean energy to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. Besides our professional dedication through the transport and maintenance of offshore wind parks, we use solar panels on our buildings, amongst other measures.

When building, commissioning or renting new locations, Rhenus is committed to using sustainable means and integrating solar panels as sources for clean energy. This was done for example in the harbour of Basel, on warehouse roofs such as in Weil am Rhein, Tilburg or Eindhoven. Our goal is to equip more and more warehouses and sites in the near future. For all existing buildings, a review is currently being conducted to analyse what measures could be installed.

LED technology and motion detectors are used in buildings or outside to save on electricity costs and employ smart lighting. Another measure is the use of electric handling equipment such as e-forklifts and vehicles.

Within the business unit Offshore Logistics, Rhenus supports the wind industry by providing logistics support during the installation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. The heavy and out-of-gauge segments and parts are transported and shipped by Rhenus with sustainability always in mind. Find out more about our offshore logistics expertise.

Goal 10

Reduced inequalities

Rhenus strives to reduce inequality within and among countries. We believe that everyone is equal and provide equal opportunities to all employees. Within Germany, we are one team represented by 114 different nationalities. As a part of globalised trade, we connect countries with our transports.

Rhenus South Africa has supported various campaigns and projects, amongst them the Tekkie Tax, where employees purchase stickers whose proceeds of which go to causes supporting the elderly, children, people with disabilities, education and animals. Another such sticker campaign was Casual Day.

Goal 11

Sustainable cities and communities

Rhenus aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, for example through projects that create sustainable delivery on the last mile. We also actively invest in sustainable logistics solutions.

Within our Rhenus Home Delivery offering, we have been testing various means for sustainable last-mile delivery, for example in urban areas, where traffic congestion prevents larger trucks from driving through the streets. Examples include smaller delivery vehicles such as the Lieferrucksack project or even e-cargo bikes like Deliver it.

But also with larger truck transports, Rhenus continues to invest in an e-vehicle fleet, for both the home delivery and the 40-tonne truck segment. Find our current news regarding e-trucks here.

Goal 12

Responsible consumption and production

In order to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, Rhenus guarantees efficient and environmentally friendly logistics services. We continuously look for more responsible and sustainable logistics solutions in cooperation with our customers.

More and more of our business locations are certified according to the ISO 50001 standard. This enables us to:

  • Record and evaluate energy data through a monitoring system for continuous improvement of our energy management system
  • Develop indicators and targets related to our energy consumption
  • Continuously reduce our energy consumption and carbon emissions (e.g. through the use of LED lights to reduce the use of electricity and emissions)

Within the Rhenus warehousing solutions, we develop strategies for sustainable packaging with our customers in order to reduce waste and the use of filling materials as well as to provide them with packaging on demand. Rhenus continuously leads discussions with different packaging suppliers to offer the most suitable and sustainable solutions for each of our customers.

Goal 14

Life below water

The conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development are key to our strategy. We aim to improve life under water by investing in research for alternative propulsion for maritime and inland shipping.

Several Rhenus units participate in the annual RhineCleanUp event, which is organised in order to pick up garbage and pollutants that wash up on the shores of the river Rhine.

When loading and unloading dangerous goods at any port locations, Rhenus uses dangerous goods troughs in order to avoid accidental leakage of chemicals or dangerous substances into the water.

Rhenus is actively involved in the development of more sustainable cargo ships. In January 2022, the first of a new fleet of maritime short-sea ships called the Hanse Eco fleet was launched, which features a more economical and environmentally friendly propulsion system. Other projects include the development of hybrid inland vessels using hydrogen as a fuel. Autonomous vessels that operate without a conductor and can save fuel through optimised steering are also being tested.

Goal 15

Life on land

One of our goals is to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems by sustainably managing forests, combatting desertification as well as halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss. We do this by investing in biodiverse ecosystems on our premises.

Our warehouse sites are becoming increasingly greener. Our developments leave the surrounding landscape largely untouched and we also invest in green roofs, insect hotels and replacement habitats for specific species. An example is our warehouse in Giessen, Germany.

The Rhenus Group cooperates with Treedom to plant trees in agroforestry projects that promote the sustainable use of resources and land. During Christmas 2020 and 2021, we even gave away trees as presents to our customers. You can visit the Rhenus Forest here.

Rhenus India has been participating in a tree plantation activity for the past seven years. With the help of an NGO that helps in the field of protecting and upgrading of environmental conditions, a tree plantation site near Navi Mumbai was identified, which is a planned Mumbai township on the coast in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The local team and their families participate in the event every year.

Goal 16

Peace, justice and strong institutions

Rhenus promotes peaceful and inclusive societies. Our integrity and compliance with legal frameworks are the foundation of all our business activities and an immutable part of our corporate identity at all times. This is how we aim to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.
Goal 17

Partnerships for the goals

Rhenus wants to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. By supporting the SDGs, we emphasise the importance of these goals and their content. We see ourselves as part of this community and want to do our part to achieve the SDGs.

We build partnerships with our customers and suppliers in order to make our cooperation more sustainable. Rhenus works hard to exceed what is expected by governments.