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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Defining Business Commitment | International Post Corporation
 

Delivering on sustainability –
it’s all in the post

International Post Corporation

IPC launched its first Postal Sector Sustainability Report at COP15 in Copenhagen, December 2009. Pictured here are (left to right) Herbert-Michael Zapf, IPC President and CEO; Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT, The Netherlands; John Potter, CEO of the United States Postal Service; press event moderator Nadine Dereza; Jean-Paul Bailly, CEO of Groupe La Poste, France; Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL, Germany; and Lars Nordström, CEO of Posten Norden, Sweden and Denmark.
IPC launched its first Postal Sector Sustainability Report at COP15 in Copenhagen, December 2009. Pictured here are (left to right) Herbert-Michael Zapf, IPC President and CEO; Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT, The Netherlands; John Potter, CEO of the United States Postal Service; press event moderator Nadine Dereza; Jean-Paul Bailly, CEO of Groupe La Poste, France; Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL, Germany; and Lars Nordström, CEO of Posten Norden, Sweden and Denmark.
 
The International Post Corporation, (IPC) is the cooperative association of 24 member postal operators in Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific region. Over the past 17 years, IPC has collaborated with its members to upgrade quality of mail service by developing technology systems that bring transparency to the mail processing system and delivery chain.

The postal industry has long recognised that it has a significant carbon footprint; it is, after all, a sector whose core business is the transportation of post, parcels and goods. Collectively, the International Post Corporation’s (IPC) member organisations manage over 100,000 facilities, 600,000 transport vehicles, and employ 2.4 million people worldwide.

Although postal organisations have been individually committed to finding sustainable solutions for over a decade, IPC members believed they needed to do more as an industry to reduce the collective carbon emissions. Members, who compete with each other on many levels, have come together in cooperation to tackle an issue that affects us all, adopting a common carbon measurement and monitoring system for the postal sector.

Setting an industry-wide standard

Itella aims to change 50% of its traditional mopeds to electric power by 2012
Itella aims to change 50% of its traditional mopeds to electric
power by 2012

IPC, a participant in the Global Reporting Initiative and the UN Global Compact, began developing its sustainability initiative in 2008. Working collaboratively with members, it created the IPC Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS), which provides a common carbon measurement and reporting framework for the global postal industry. This gives participating members a way of measuring and benchmarking their sustainability initiatives and optimising their effectiveness. It can be used by all postal operators in their environmental programmes, regardless of size or what stage they are at.

The EMMS is based on the requirements of international best-practice standards, such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, DJSI, FTSE4Good, ISO 14001, and current best practice from the corporate environment. The system evaluates performance through the application of a scoring system that grades performance in key numeric carbon efficiency indicators and in the following ten carbon management proficiency areas:

  1. Principles and standards

  2. Management and strategy

  3. Policy and procedure

  4. Employee engagement

  5. Activity

  6. Measurement and verification

  7. Targets

  8. Performance

  9. Disclosure and reporting

  10. Value chain management

Twenty IPC member postal operators took part in the first year of EMMS reporting in 2008; the results of which were published in 2009. The results received third-party assurance and verification by Maplecroft and PricewaterhouseCoopers and were used to create the first IPC Postal Sector Sustainability Report. This is the first time a service sector has come together on a global level to create an environmental sustainability report for its industry.

If you can measure it, you can manage it

The EMMS system allows IPC to monitor the postal industry’s carbon emissions annually and track progress. When they looked at the emissions in this baseline year, as a sector, they focused on the core postal business – delivery of mail and parcels – and determined these 20 postal operators collectively emitted 8.36 million tonnes of CO2 in 2008.

Energy is the biggest factor with 51% of emissions coming from electricity consumption for buildings. The second biggest factor is emissions associated with transport (vehicles, aviation and rail).

This system allowed more accurate tracking of progress towards uniformly reducing emission levels across the industry. For example, electric energy is the industry’s single biggest source of carbon emissions, so the corporation is sourcing as much electricity as possible from renewables. Currently, 7% of the industry’s electricity comes from green sources or is generated by postal operators from geothermal, solar or wind power.

Postal organisations have also implemented building energy reduction programmes and are using energy audits to further decrease consumption. Today, 10% of the IPC member vehicle fleet operates on alternative fuels, such as liquid petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, biofuels, electricity, hydrogen, oxygen and hybrid vehicles. In 2008, over 130 million kilometres were travelled on foot or by bicycle, which represents zero emissions.

Lastly, by extending awareness to suppliers, customers, employees and families, there is the potential to harness and mobilise millions of people to decrease their carbon footprint.

20% by 2020

It is only by working together that industry and politics will have a chance of success in tackling climate change. In this spirit, IPC and its members have taken the lead as the first services sector to announce an industry-wide target for CO2 reduction. During COP15 in Copenhagen last year, 20 IPC members announced their target to reduce their collective CO2 emissions: 20% by 2020, based on 2008 levels. This translates into a reduction of almost two million tonnes of CO2 by 2020.

This 20-2020 target demonstrates that the industry is working in tandem with political goals already set by the European Union. It believes 20% is a challenging, yet realistic and achievable, target for the industry within the timeframe set, and one which can be met together. Already, they are well on track to achieving this.

The recently released second IPC Postal Sector Sustainability Report reports that nearly all participating posts have improved their carbon management scores, with nearly all the participating postal operators achieving a substantial reduction in absolute carbon emissions from 2008 to 2009, Indeed, this last year saw a CO2 emissions reduction of 564,000 tonnes, significantly more than the annual reduction of 140,000 tonnes calculated as needed to achieve the 20% reduction target.

Analysis of this year’s findings revealed that IPC companies performed best on issues relating to policy and procedure, management and strategy, target setting and measurement and verification. This represents a significant positive shift in performance with more than 95% of companies now having either internal or external targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Over 76% of participants already have targets in place that are at least in line with the sector 20% by 2020 reduction goal. Looking towards the future, this can be extended to services in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America – and also beyond the original scope of the sustainability efforts. While carbon was the focus in the first year, the corporation intends to expand reporting to include wider sustainability issues relating to employees, society and ethical supply chain management.

It is hoped this initiative will be used as a model by other industries who want to take action to reduce their carbon footprint.

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International Post Corporation
www.ipc.be

 
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