How TNT put sustainability to work

From the boardroom to the shop floor
How TNT put sustainability to work
Publ. date 11 Dec 2007
The themes of philanthropy, sustainability and corporate social responsibility have penetrated most boardrooms. But how do you transfer social responsibility from the boardroom to the shop floor? And how can you communicate top management’s vision and intentions to the groups that matter: employees, people living in the surrounding area, consumers, shareholders and NGOs? Here you can read how TNT tackled the issue.

The product of a merger, TNT had a company culture that was not uniform. There were significant differences between the former civil servant work ethic of PTT and the Australian go-getter mentality of TNT’s express and logistics arm. In addition, the three company divisions were like silos and parochialism was predominant. In 2002, it became clear that Peter Bakker, TNT’s CEO, had to act.

Then, during a long flight to Singapore, Bakker read an article in Business Week. It spoke about the poverty and despair in the world and asked readers what they planned to do about it. This provoked Bakker to take immediate action. Market leadership also meant social leadership, which meant that he and his company should take up their responsibility and demonstrate their social engagement. TNT could work on good causes to help the poor and at the same time benefit from an enhanced company culture and improved company image.

Bakker considered the challenges his company was facing. How could he – the newly appointed CEO of a public company with 160,000 employees – make his company more competitive and more agile? And how could the creation of a corporate philanthropy program contribute to this? For more information, visit

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