Sustainability Month in Memphis

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Sustainability Month in Memphis

Environmental stewardship should be a collaborative effort
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Read Mitch Jackson's OpEd on connecting the world responsibly and resourcefully:


With Earth Day this month, environmental sustainability is both timely and top of mind. For FedEx, sustainability is a relatively simple concept: to connect the world responsibly and resourcefully.

Monday, April 22, 2013 - 12:00pm

This is the third in a series of columns celebrating sustainable initiatives in Memphis and Shelby County during April. Subsequent columns will appear every Thursday throughout April on the My Life Going Green page.

With Earth Day this month, environmental sustainability is both timely and top of mind. For FedEx, sustainability is a relatively simple concept: to connect the world responsibly and resourcefully. It helps us find new ways to serve our customers using performance, innovation and leadership. We call this underlying approach, Practical Environmentalism - strategic and transformational environmental stewardship that adds tangible value to an organization, community or individuals. Corporate philanthropy is nice. But, sustainability is more than that. It should bring value through action. That’s why we focus upon issues like vehicle fuel efficiency, cleaner vehicle technologies, reducing aircraft emissions, and finding alternative sources of cleaner domestic energy, including renewables - all while providing a portfolio of services to meet our customers’ needs, including sustainable-focused solutions.

And, sustainability is not just important globally. The local perspective is important, as well. And, others share this view. That’s why Mayors Luttrell and Wharton commissioned the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability. It’s why the Memphis BioWorks Foundation is focused upon jobs in a newer, cleaner economy. Other businesses in the Mid-South are also addressing it, since business and sustainability are not just compatible, but can be mutually beneficial.

In essence, sustainability is a team sport. Collaboration among government, businesses and non-profits is a positive approach. Along with this collaboration, we need more:

We must be involved. Recycle; be more efficient in day-to-day practices.

We must have a plan in order to be transformative, and be persistent in pursuing it, whether locally or nationally.

We must recognize that sustainable efforts should be valuable to those that undertake the work if they are to provide long-term benefit to others. If not, programs might not be successful or long lasting.

We must be innovative. Innovation is needed for long-term competitiveness and economic viability, whether within business or our communities.

We must align public policies to help these innovations thrive. And, let’s avoid policies that make sustainable actions more difficult to enact.

We must not be afraid to lead. FedEx led in the development of hybrid-electric commercial vehicles, and we have continued to do so in both the development of - and public policies for - electric vehicles. We pushed for standards that would reduce emissions and improve the fuel economy for all commercial vehicles in the country. And, we have been a strong voice for a coherent, well-throughout national energy plan.

Albert Einstein once observed, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Sustainability is like this. It’s a new lens of thinking about how to be responsible, to conserve, to continue to fulfill the core mission of an organization in our case, to serve our customers, and to help an ever expanding world population better its standard of living while lessening its environmental impact. In essence, it is about finding new ways to change what’s possible.

Mitch Jackson is vice president, of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability at FedEx Corporation.

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Keywords: Environment & Climate Change | Business & Trade | Commercial Appeal | Energy | FedEx | Responsibility | csr | mitch jackson | sustainability