Friday, 17 May 2013

FedEx competition indicates increasing importance of social media and sustainability to major carriers

FedEx's launched its "Grow a Greener School Contest" on Pinterest yesterday, highlighting the growing importance of social media as well as sustainability within the industry. The competition aims to give teachers, students and parents the resources to create hands-on sustainability projects at their school. Any school in the United States can enter by submitting an on-line form and attaching a photograph, which FedEx will subsequently post on Pinterest, the photo-sharing social media website. 

Image c/o FedEx

Entries can be submitted until midday (CDT) on May 24th and then a week of public voting for the best projects via "liking" on Pinterest will determine the winners. There are prizes of $3,000, $2,000 or $1,000 prizes for the winning schools' green initiatives.

FedEx's competition comes at a time when both sustainability and social media seem to be high on the agenda for other major carriers including UPS and DHL. UPS have recently announced adjustments to their Boeing 767 aircraft which, as well as cutting fuel costs, will decrease carbon emissions by an estimated 62,000 metric tonnes per annum. DHL  released their 2012 corporate responsibility at the beginning of the month in which sustainability was one of their primary focuses. 

In addition, both carriers have a large and growing presence on social media. DHL have almost 100,000 likes on Facebook while UPS have a still impressive 35,000. TNT Express also has 25,000 likes. FedEx are leading the way, however, with an amazing 650,000! Using social media platforms allows carriers to engage with customers and clients in new and innovative ways and to take advantage of viral marketing opportunities. Carriers regularly post interesting photographs, puzzles or updates on their latest sustainability projects. Often they advertise special offers which are only available on Facebook or other platforms.

Given FedEx's competition, it seems they are keen to build their Pinterest presence next. On this platform too, they are leading the way: they have 1600 likes compared to DHLs 79 and UPS's 51 and, at the time of writing TNT Express are yet to establish a Pinterest account. 

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