What does
sustainability mean?

What does sustainability mean?

What do you think when you hear the word "sustainable"? Something is sustainable that lasts a long time, i.e. is not short-lived. This is also the original meaning of this word, which today refers to the idea that no more may be consumed than can grow back or regenerate. For example, it is sustainable to eat an apple from the apple tree, because apples will grow again next year - cutting down the tree completely is not sustainable. Unless you plant another young tree.

The sustainability model

The apple tree is a nice example, but of course quite simplified. And even if it is not so difficult to pay attention to sustainability in one's own everyday behaviour, it becomes much more complicated for internationally active companies such as DB Schenker.

The three-pillar model states that sustainable development must take place at three levels: environmental (ecological), economic and social. Let us look at the three terms. And how does the logistics company DB Schenker manage to unite the three?


Ecological sustainability means not to over-exploit nature. This means that we humans only use nature and the environment to the extent that it can recover and regenerate. To achieve this, you must first and foremost keep an eye on the consequences of your own actions for the environment - this is what DB Schenker also wants. The logistics group therefore analyses its own resource consumption very carefully and has set itself the goal of handling resources as sparingly as possible. To this end, employees are continuously trained and regulations and guidelines are drawn up in order to come ever closer to the green goal. By 2020, CO² emissions shall also be reduced by 30 per cent compared to 2006.


Sustainability and economy - are they connected? Yes, they should be, at least. In the past nearly 300 years, companies and corporations have only been concerned with maximising profits. And this without regard for losses and without any far-sightedness. This is what economic sustainability wants to change. For DB Schenker as an international company, this means ensuring that customers are satisfied in the long term. Economic success thus creates a basis for ecological sustainability measures. Only where customers are satisfied and feel well advised are they prepared to try out an alternative, sustainable approach. So for DB Schenker it is no longer about more, more, more.


Sustainability is much more than separating waste - you have probably figured out as much by now. And so there is also a social level of sustainability that strives for peaceful, conflict-free coexistence - a society in which social tensions are as low as possible. And why do social tensions arise? Exactly, because of injustice and poverty, which must be combated, as well due to the effects on future generations, who would not want these. For DB Schenker, this means acting sustainably and fairly as an employer, creating pleasant working conditions for its own staff and getting involved in local social projects. Whether protection health, childcare or an understanding work culture - DB Schenker offers this and much more to its employees, who are seen as the "most important asset" of the company.

Heal the world

You can tell: Sustainability is a complex issue, but one that can be summed up by the goal of making the world "whole again" - be it with regard to nature, which should not suffer under man, the economy, which must not only be greedy but wise, or with regard to the people among and with each other.

Do you already have a brilliant idea of how DB Schenker can make its logistics even greener? Then quickly implement it and take part in the competition! You can find all information about the participation, the prices and the course of the competition here!

Do you need more input? Then check out our report on sustainable logistics!