Planting Seeds Now Produces a Future Harvest

Guest blog by Kathryn Beaven, Director of Global Sustainability, DP World

Business leaders over the centuries have dreamt of long term business success. Some planned for it. Some achieved it. Most will cite a commitment to it as part of their make-up, with strategies to get there and plans to weather oncoming storms.

For that to happen, businesses today and tomorrow must also be committed to the long-term success of the communities they operate in. No business works in isolation and today’s Generation Y expect far more than our ancestors ever did.

That’s why sustainability is front of mind for many global CEO’s and why it has become a central function of their operating model.

This can take shape in many different ways depending on sector, geography and need. For DP World, it means taking sustainability and putting it at the heart of our organisation. That’s why we launched the “Our World, Our Future” programme - our way of bringing sustainability into every aspect of our work. It’s a programme  formed of four commitments to our communities and wider society with a focus on protecting our environment, investing in our people, ensuring the highest safety standards and building a vibrant, secure and resilient society.

Over the years this has been the driving force behind a number of initiatives across our global business, from volunteering programmes to investment in renewable technologies.

Our latest, ambitious, initiative is a Global Education Programme to help boost the skills, aspirations and confidence of young people in the communities where we operate. It also aims to raise awareness about the maritime sector, trade and logistics, and related career options.

It aims to engage 34,000 children by 2020 and includes a robust range of modules including topics covering port management, sustainability; careers in trade and logistics and the maritime sector. Curriculum subjects covered also include geography, mathematics, design and technology.

We knew that to deliver a programme on this scale we would need to mobilise our 37,000 strong workforce. We want to empower them to go into their local schools and engage young people in ports, trade and logistics. That means translating our modules into several languages including French, Arabic and Spanish.

We hope our Global Education Programme will both engage our employees, both current and potential, while raising awareness of our sector and the career opportunities it provides. The initiative has the potential to improve the prospects of thousands of young people around the world and we will be monitoring its success over the coming years to ensure it has the best possible reach and impact.