UPS offers month-long carbon offset incentive for deliveries

Logistics firm UPS will offer the option to pay towards the offset of carbon emissions of shipped parcel deliveries throughout the month of June, to mark World Environment Day this Friday (5 June).

UPS offers month-long carbon offset incentive for deliveries

Since 2010

UPS is offering the offset service through the UPS carbon neutral platform. The initiative will see UPS match small fees provided by shippers to offset the carbon footprint of shipping their parcels.

“There is truly no better way to honour World Environment Day than to facilitate actions that will help the planet,” UPS’s chief sustainability officer Suzanne Lindsay-Walker said. “UPS hopes to create more awareness about our carbon neutral shipping option so additional customers will take advantage of it, thus helping to fund large-scale carbon reduction programs and reduce the total carbon impact of shipping on the environment.”

Through the platform, a per-parcel flat rate offset price has been set a 10p for domestic shipments, 20p for shipments in the European Union, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, 50p for shipments outside the EU and £12.50 per pallet for UPS Worldwide Express Freight shipments.

The offset options are verified by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) and the process also adheres to The CarbonNeutral Protocol from Natural Capital Partners. Since 2010, UPS has offset more than 60 million parcels a year for customers, equating to more than 100,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions.

Additionally, customers can choose from different low-carbon last-mile delivery options and can also participate in UPS’s Eco Responsible Packaging Programme. UPS also works with Optoro on a returns platform to help shippers in the US reduce the number of items that end up in landfill.

Fuelling change

The offset drive builds on the logistic firm’s efforts to reduce the emissions of its service and fleet. UPS has invested more than $1bn on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and infrastructure. It is currently the largest corporate user of renewable gas in the transport sector and has a low-carbon fleet of more than 10,300 vehicles.

Earlier in the year, UPS announced an investment into Arrival, which will see the delivery firm purchase 10,000 EVs to be built for UPS globally. UPS will collaborate with Arrival on new EV systems designed to increase safety and explore automated driving. UPS will begin testing new systems later this year.

UPS has launched a five-year partnership with the University of Dublin’s Trinity College Dublin to integrate a sustainable last-mile delivery service on campus.

The hubs allow UPS to make up to 720 delivery stops a day through more sustainable measures in Dublin and have eliminated the use of five diesel delivery vehicles in the city centre, easing congestion and reducing CO2 emissions by up to 45%.

UPS has been a leader in EV technology across the logistics industry in recent years, taking forward a variety of programmes and pilot schemes. 

In July 2018, UPS sustainable development co-ordinator, Claire Thompson-Sage, revealed to edie that it planned to incorporate batteries from its end-of-life electric vehicles (EVs) into its storage and charging network next year as it strives to create its first fully-electric fleet of delivery vans across London.

Following this, it also trialled power-assisted trailers for last-mile deliveries in central London, and then incorporated e-Bikes into its US-based urban delivery fleet for the first time.

Matt Mace

Comments (1)

  1. Ian Byrne says:

    I hope UPS publicise the outcomes of this; ideally not just how many tonnes of offsets bought, but also the percentage of customers opting into the the scheme. Data on voluntary actions by customers is all too often seen as commercially sensitive, but releasing it could help achieve the wider objectives of encouraging well-designed offset schemes.
    Obviously a flat rate per parcel can at best only represent a board average, and the balance between emissions attributable to mass or volume and distance to delivery point is hugely variable, but it would be great to have some clues as to how they calculated the correct fee level (or, more saliently, the correct offset level in kgCO2e/parcel).

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