UPS focuses on renewables and alternative fuels to deliver new science-based target

Delivery firm UPS has today (27 June) unveiled a new science-based target to reduce carbon emissions by 12% by 2025, alongside goals to source a quarter of its electricity needs from renewables and a scale-up of its alternative fuels programme.

UPS now has a target in place to source 25% of the electricity that it uses from renewable energy sources by 2025, a sharp increase from the current 0.2%. Additionally, the company has also set a 2020 goal to ensure that a quarter of new vehicles purchased each year will use alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technology, up from 16% in 2016.

The US firm listed the goals in its latest corporate sustainability report, which sets 2015 as the new baseline for the 12% carbon reduction. The target was settled on after using a methodology approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

“Because of our size and scale, we know our commitments can shape markets, advance technologies and be a catalyst for infrastructure investments,” UPS’ chief executive David Abney said. “We rely on the ingenuity of our employees, suppliers and technology partners to help us reach goals that will transform the shipping industry and spur innovation.”

Despite overall carbon intensity falling by 14.5% since 2007, the new science-based targets will prove a challenge to reach. In 2016, scope 1 and 2 emissions increased by 1.9% compared to 2015, although small package volume increased by more than 4%. UPS attributes the increase in emissions to next day air volume growth.

For global ground operations, which includes vehicle fuel and facility demand, an absolute annual carbon reduction of 1.7% was recorded. However, scope 3 emissions from suppliers increased by 3.3% in the same timeframe.

The last one billion miles

UPS operates more than 8,300 alternative fuel and advance technology vehicles globally. The new report outlines that by 2025, 40% of all ground fuel will be sourced outside of conventional gasoline and diesel, a figure which currently sits at less than 20%.

Last year, the company revealed that electric, natural gas, biofuel and hybrid delivery trucks in its fleet had passed a milestone of collectively travelling one billion miles a year early. The “Rolling Laboratory” initiative, established 10 years ago, has enabled UPS to invest upwards of $750m by the end of 2016 in alternative fuel and advanced technology fuelling stations globally.

In 2016 alone, 97m gallons of alternative and lower-carbon fuels were used in the UPS ground fleet and the company recently made an $18m investment into on-site solar systems across eight facilities.

UPS is a firm believer that the alternative fuel and renewables targets can integrate to deliver a holistic systems solution. Earlier this year, the company exclusively told edie that is would trial decentralised power generation and onsite storage systems at its London operating base.

UPS will deploy a “small” local battery storage system at its Kentish Town base, which will be used to systematically charge the firm’s fleet of EVs that are in operation around the city. Currently, UPS operates around 50 EV trucks in London, but as part of the trial the fleet will be increased to 72.

Matt Mace

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