EXCLUSIVE: Robust systems essential for long-term sustainability

Sustainability professionals must stand back from their business and decide which areas are most important, and then focus on them relentlessly, says UPS' director of sustainability for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Peter Harris.

In an exclusive interview with edie, Harris explained how the role of a sustainability professional requires focus and a long-term view of how the business will progress.

“Sometimes you want to bring about a whole host of significant changes in an instant. But I know that, ultimately, working for sustainability in the long term requires careful planning and the building of robust systems to ensure success,” said Harris.

He also commented on how the recession has had a significant impact on the way businesses are delivering their sustainability strategies.

“Unfortunately, the current state of the European economy is leading to some rather short-term thinking. Nevertheless, I think we will see slow but steady progress towards a more deeply rooted understanding of the importance of sustainability for future business growth,” he added.

Closer to home, one area Harris thinks could progress the efficiency of the transport and logistics industry is the use of biomethane, which involves capturing methane gas from a landfill site or it can be produced industrially from an anaerobic digester.

UPS currently has 10 vehicles running on biomethane and it is about to double the fleet to 20.

“We’d like to do a lot more but the main thing that is holding us back throughout the UK and Europe is the availability of biomethane,” said Harris.

Read the full interview ‘In conversation with UPS’ Peter Harris’

For more on UPS’ strategy for reducing CO2 emissions read ‘UPS: en route to a fuel efficient future’

Leigh Stringer

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