In recent years the supply chain industry has seen the development of many strong CSR programmes designed to put something back into the community and environment.

In recent years the supply chain industry has seen the development of many strong CSR programmes designed to put something back into the community and environment.

Help a South African School campaign

myHermes is part of the Help a South African School campaign

There is a famous Winston Churchill quote: “Responsibility is the price of greatness”, and whilst I wouldn’t put myself in his category, I do agree with him - successful businesses do have a responsibility to ‘put something back’ into the community and greater environment where possible.

In recent years in the supply chain industry we have seen the development of many strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes designed to do exactly that. These range from operating in a greener way, to encouraging and motivating staff fundraising. Federal Express always stands out for me as really making a difference with its disaster relief programme which helps deliver critical supplies, services and expertise to support victims of disaster.

At Hermes we are also committed to making a difference. For the last three years, myHermes has proudly teamed up with the South African Fruit Industry and its growers’ association Hortgro Services as a part of its Help a South African School campaign, to help deliver thousands of books to underprivileged children at farm and rural schools in the African nation.

In a world where information is at our fingertips, it is easy to take for granted the value of a good book, not only to fill the hours relaxing by the pool whilst on holiday, but also as an educational tool. Illiteracy remains a major problem across many countries, including South Africa, where only 20% of schools have access to a library. Pupils are in desperate need of resources, particularly reading and textbooks.

Pupils, parents and teachers at schools across the UK have generously donated the books as part of an annual initiative to promote South Africa’s culture and generate valuable educational resources for school children.

Last spring, myHermes collected almost 300 boxes of unwanted text and reading books from 120 UK schools for onward distribution to South Africa. In total, the campaign provided more than 14,400 books to those less fortunate, which remains a fantastic achievement. This year’s campaign is drawing to a close and myHermes couriers have been busy visiting schools up and down the country collecting boxes, and we fully expect to beat last year’s fabulous haul.

The Help a South African School campaign is a wonderful initiative that really makes a huge difference to the lives of young, disadvantaged children. We have been more than happy to use our extensive nationwide delivery network to collect thousands of books for such a worthwhile cause. As a part of the campaign, UK pupils have been busy creating South African themed collages, with the best entries winning prizes of up to £2,000 for their junior schools.

Our contribution to the campaign forms a key part of the company’s overall charitable work, which also included the Hermes 25 Days of Giving. Over the 25 days in the lead up to Christmas 2013 - including the big day itself - we donated a whopping £5,600 to charities chosen by staff. A wide variety of national charities were chosen, including Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Prostate Cancer UK and the British Heart Foundation. In addition, numerous team members opted to donate to local organisations, including Bradford Autism Support and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

  • Rob Edson is myHermes CFO