How we’re building a better world through corporate responsibility
10 questions with Jeff Oatham, Director CSR & Sustainability at Delivery Hero.
1. Jeff, you’re Director, CSR & Sustainability at Delivery Hero – what’s your mission?
I want to save the world. We’re facing climate change, hunger, war, recessions, the list goes on. But there’s so much opportunity to make things better. We just need to consider how our actions affect others and adapt our approach. It’s about maximizing the benefit our actions can create and reducing the negative impact they can have.
2. What does that look like on a day-to-day basis?
Meetings! People want to do the right thing. And one of the things I love about Delivery Hero is people’s true commitment to acting with a mission-driven purpose. People just need to be shown how. My job is to lay out that vision and demonstrate how we can reduce our environmental impact, use our systems and expertise to create a positive impact on society, and build more diverse and inclusive teams.
3. What are the major topics that you and your team are focussing on?
Our primary focus areas are environment, giving back, and diversity and inclusion.
4. What are some practical steps that companies can take to reduce their environmental footprint?
To make a true difference, a company must make a commitment at the highest level to reduce its environmental impact. Real change won’t happen unless it’s driven from the top because reducing or avoiding environmental impacts may require changes to how the business operates. Activities like changing lights to LED are important. But without the willingness to confront the bigger challenges, they are immaterial.
Our CEO Niklas Östberg made the commitment to have Delivery Hero become a carbon neutral company. That’s ambitious and it will be challenging. But we know that it’s necessary if the world is to avoid the devastation of climate change. We are pursuing a strategy of measurement, offsetting, and carbon reduction plans. This will enable us to offset accurately and then reduce or avoid future emissions.
5. Delivery Hero’s second Hero Month is coming up. Why is it important to champion these initiatives and how are we collaborating with our brands around the world?
Hero Month is our month-long volunteering campaign, where employees get the opportunity to give something back. Our second edition of Hero Month starts in October, and we’re excited to once again come together as a company and make a difference on a huge scale.
We want to be a good corporate citizen and support our local communities. We also want to provide our people opportunities to follow their passions, as well as connect with each other and the society in which they all live and work. Volunteering provides a great way to do all these things.
There are people in need everywhere, and by giving some of our time to help –whether it’s by sorting food, cooking healthy meals or distributing clothes– we can make a difference. Our culture at Delivery Hero is driven by our values, one of which is ‘We are Heroes because we care’. Hero Month is about living this value. We care enough to take the time out of a work day to help others. The business cares enough to encourage and empower us to do so.
An exciting change for Hero Month this year is: we’re going international! We are being joined by our brand Delivery Hero Korea in South Korea and Talabat in the Middle East.
6. You joined in early 2019 – what milestones have you and your team achieved since then that you’re proud of?
Yeah, wow, that time has flown by. But we’ve managed to get a lot done.
I am very proud of our efforts to help our people create employee resource groups to promote their identities. We have our Muslim Heroes group that has brought together our muslim colleagues and given them an opportunity to share their experiences about Ramadan with fellow employees. We have our Proud Heroes that helped us organize Delivery Hero’s first ever participation in CSD, Berlin’s Pride march.
Another milestone I’m particularly proud of was our work on meal donations. A cross-functional group here in Berlin collaborated with our tech team in Romania and a solid external charitable partner. Together, we produced a new app that enables customers to donate meals easily and efficiently. I can’t say too much on this yet, but watch this space!
7. How do diversity and innovation feed into each other?
Diversity directly feeds into innovation by bringing different perspectives. The more people are different from each other, the greater exposure we have to new ideas and different ways of thinking. By nurturing an inclusive culture that helps each of those people thrive, we can gain their input into new products, approaches, systems, you name it.
8. Diversity means nothing without inclusivity. What would you say are the ingredients for a diverse and inclusive culture?
In some ways, Delivery Hero is very diverse. We have more than 80 nationalities that work in our headquarters in Berlin. Even in our entities, we see such diversity: our Talabat brand, for example, has more than 40 nationalities in the Dubai office. This diversity is absolutely something to celebrate and it gives us strength to build teams that can cater to the diverse markets in which we operate. But similar to all businesses, we also have areas where we need to improve our diversity. More women are needed in leadership and more women are needed in our tech teams. We know this and we’re working on how this can change.
To help us achieve greater diversity, we focus a lot on inclusion. The right tone from the top must be set, so we worked with our management team to create an inclusive leadership agenda. Managers must have the right tools and information to create inclusive environments, so we designed trainings to address inclusion as well as integrating inclusive thinking into other development materials. A company’s systems must be trusted to be fair, so we are reviewing all HR functions and processes to identify areas of potential inequity and correct them. And finally, employees must have a say in their own culture, which is why we have helped our people to create employee resource groups.
9. What projects are next? What are you excited about?
My whole program excites me! Sorry, that’s super nerdy but it’s true.
On giving back, we’re rolling out a new feature globally in our apps that will connect customers to causes they care about. This has the opportunity to transform how people give back and literally invite millions of people to make a difference.
On environment, I’m inspired by our commitment to become carbon neutral. That’s a big task. While we’re at the early stages of measuring our global footprint, we’re still making good progress and will be carbon neutral for our European businesses by the end of this year.
On diversity and inclusion, I’m enjoying the rollout of unconscious bias training. So much more needs to be done than just this training. But we have to start the conversation, and it’s great to see the impact the sessions we run have on people; the light bulb moments that occur.
I’m also super excited to see how Star Wars concludes with the final movie this December…but I don’t think you were wondering about that!
10. What personally motivates you in your job?
My mission to save the world and my desire to make my son proud by succeeding at that. And, the people around me at Delivery Hero. It’s easier to be motivated at work when you’re surrounded by colleagues you can trust, believe in and that share your aspiration to make things better. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy being at Delivery Hero so much.