FedEx's New Sustainability Ad

FedEx's new commercial conveys its "Sustainable Solutions" in an animated story of "how a shipping giant can befriend a forest." The spot was Advertising Age's Creativity Pick of the Day.

On its website, FedEx touts its sustainability initiatives in three areas: the environment, our people, and our community. In another funny commercial, FedEx executives suggest printing on the back of used paper, but this doesn't turn out to be such a good idea.

Clearly, FedEx is trying to improve its sustainability image. A 2006 report by Roberts Environmental Center gave the company a C- rating:

On its website, Federal Express provided only minimal environmental and social
data. While their efforts to improve fuel and delivery efficiency are
commendable, their environmental website lacked any performance indicators
that would increase transparency. The corporation's partnership with
Environmental Defense is notable, and the results of this collaboration are
promising. Despite Federal Express' positive reputation for corporate
responsibility, they did not provide the information necessary to score well in
this report. It seems as though Federal Express has the appropriate data, it
need only make it readily available to the public.

Discussion Starters:

  • What are the key messages in the new ad? In what ways is the ad successful in conveying FedEx's sustainability initiatives? In what ways could the messages be clearer?
  • Review FedEx's "Environment" web page today. In what ways has the company addressed criticism of the Robert's Environmental Center report? In what ways could the company still improve?