Putting community collaboration at the heart of our work in Asia Pacific

Putting community collaboration at the heart of our work in Asia Pacific

By creating mutually beneficial relationships within our network, we can build more resilient supply chains and keep trade flowing, but also widen what’s possible for everyone.

Putting community collaboration at the heart of our work in Asia Pacific

Many of the items we rely on every day have passed through a DP World terminal and along parts of or the entire supply chains we support.

Explaining how goods travel around the world is just one of the ways we frame the extent of our impact on the communities we support in Asia Pacific. And we intend to spend more time on them, especially with our school programmes, demonstrating how our terminals are part and parcel of everyday life.

By creating mutually beneficial relationships within our network, we can build more resilient supply chains and keep trade flowing, but also widen what’s possible for everyone and hopefully shift the dial in other important areas, like promoting inclusion and diversity.

“When you show you want to make a difference, it changes the dynamics,” says Anna Craven, who champions DP World’s sustainability activities in Australia. “Communities are not only your neighbours, but they are also your families and co-workers in your workplace. When you invest in your community, everyone wants to do better, it becomes something bigger. The goodwill becomes contagious.”

Long-term resilience

Accruing and honing the skills, knowledge and resources required to successfully manage our operations and supply chains brings reassurance as we build resilience and sustainability for the longer term.

Community involvement – investing and nurturing relationships – is one of our seven priority areas, alongside safety, security, well-being, ethics, climate change and human development, underscoring how much strategic importance we place on it. 

Here are five ways we’re engaging with communities across the Asia Pacific to achieve our aspiration of not just making financial contributions and enhancing employment but empowering local people to take control of their future:

1. Supporting education

In Australia, we’re building programmes with schools that extend beyond education. Near our port in Botany Bay, Sydney, we’ve committed to providing a nutritional breakfast and lunch for local school children.

Alongside these initiatives, we also spend time on educational outreach and raising awareness, showcasing the diverse opportunities available in our industry, particularly for girls and women. 

“We'll be saying, even though we operate in a male-dominated industry, you can work with us. You can do legal, you can be a stevedore if you want to, you can do rostering,” says Craven. 

“We're always thinking about the long-term solutions, and embedding ourselves into these communities.”

The need to encourage women into the supply chain and transportation industry is clear. Women hold just 23% of leadership positions and it is among the sectors with the lowest share of female representation overall, according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2023.

Our partnership with the Stars Foundation in Western Australia supports First Nations girls to finish their education in remote locations, with long-term mentoring and educational programmes. We are also working with schools to ensure equitable access to technology, especially for remote communities in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

2. Supporting local businesses

Small businesses are the beating heart of any community and we try to support as many as possible. Our Batangas Container Terminal in the Philippines provides an example of this, where we’ve helped informal sellers in the terminal turn their enterprises into legitimate businesses.

Santa Maria Feliciano and Brenda Macaraig in front of their shop – Mister Donut

Residents Santa Maria Feliciano and Brenda Macaraig started selling their doughnuts – alongside local delicacies, food, water, biscuits and other novelty items – to travellers, vessel crew, and tourists crossing Batangas in the 1970s. By the time the modern port opened in 2023, they had secured a stall for their Mister Donut franchise, which now employs 11 people.

“Our business has uplifted and improved our lives in so many ways,” they say. “This has provided us with a decent livelihood and continues to give us economic opportunities, which we pay forward.”

3. Promoting volunteerism

Giving back to the community is also about volunteering and harnessing our strong relationships with local organisations and groups to promote positive social outcomes.

Our colleagues in Sydney volunteer to prepare meals for the less privileged at the Parish of St Sophia & Three Daughters’ Feed the People programme in Surry Hills. They provide a plethora of dishes, such as cheese triangles and bougatsa – a traditional Greek dessert with custard.

The meals are distributed at local parks across the city and the patrons include young people and women fleeing domestic and financial violence.

4. Protecting the environment

Protecting oceans and ecosystems is a central plank of our sustainability strategy, “Our World, Our Future” and several of our community projects demonstrate this.

For World Oceans Day 2023, our teams across Asia Pacific organised activities to raise awareness about water and waste pollution – around 100 colleagues collected litter during beach clean-ups in South Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong.

“The beach is not only a place of relaxation for us but also an important part of the marine ecosystem,” says Myung Hoo Kim, President & CEO of DP World Busan. “I hope that we can contribute to handing down a beautiful piece of nature to future generations.”

In Vietnam, at Saigon Premier Container Terminal, more than 90 of our colleagues came together for a cleaning day, while in the Philippines, others participated in ‘Run for a Cause’ to raise awareness about ocean protection.

We also sponsor the Reef Restoration Foundation in Australia, a non-profit focused on regenerating the Great Barrier Reef. Through this sponsorship, we are helping to re-establish healthy coral in damaged reef areas with a series of nurseries.

5. Doing our part for humanitarian relief

The strength of our communities is also shown when they come together to support charities close to their hearts. In South Korea, we collaborated with UNICEF to donate $19,000 as an emergency fund for children affected by earthquakes in Turkey. Coming together as a community in this way exemplifies our colleagues’ and community’s dedication and generosity in helping others.

These initiatives are just some of the ways we put community collaboration at the heart of our work in Asia Pacific.

Effective collaboration is not just a moral imperative, it also helps create more resilient supply chain processes and builds longevity into our operations. We use our initiatives to demonstrate our commitment to our three main areas: education, women’s empowerment and oceans.

By building trusted roles in our local communities, creating economic hubs and fostering long-term commitments, we’re also preparing our business for the future.

“When you invest in your community, you have so much more uptake, you have so many people that want to volunteer and be part of something bigger,” says Glen Hilton, CEO & Managing Director, Asia Pacific. “When doing the right thing by your people, and showing that you genuinely care for your people and your communities, your community does the same thing back.”