UPS accelerates progress towards sustainability goals

The company says it almost tripled the number of miles driven by alternative fuels and advanced technology fleet in 2014
Environmental awareness, Fuel, Sustainability, Ups, NEWS
Environmental awareness, Fuel, Sustainability, Ups, NEWS

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UPS released its 13th annual Sustainability Report on Monday, highlighting its growing investment in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, and its pledge to log 20 million hours of volunteer time by the end of 2020.

With its 'rolling laboratory' approach, UPS accelerated its investment in an alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet of more than 5,000 vehicles last year, increasing the number of vehicles by 61% over 2013 and adding 1,100 natural gas vehicles.

According to the report, UPS logged 154 million miles in 2014 toward its goal of driving 1 billion miles with the fleet by the end of 2017 – an almost threefold increase from 2013.

“It took 13 years to drive the first 350 million miles with our alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet,” said Jean-François Condamine, UPS president Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa (ISMEA).

“In just one year we were able to build dramatically on that number and we are now more than halfway to our 2017 goal. With continued investments in this fleet, we are doing our part to help transform the transportation industry,” he added.

UPS reported 5.4% – or 25 million gallons – of its total gas and diesel purchased in 2014 was displaced with alternative fuels including natural gas, propane, ethanol, biomethane, renewable diesel, and electricity.

The commitment to alternative fuel and advanced technologies will allow the company to reduce its annual use of gasoline and diesel 12% by the end of 2017.

The report also highlights two global trends facing transportation and logistics: an increase in consumer e-commerce and growth in urbanisation.

E-commerce shipments are typically business-to-consumer and fewer packages per stop, compared to business-to-business deliveries, meaning carriers may be driving more miles and using more fuel to deliver fewer goods, the company said in a statement. 

While e-commerce drove a 6.8% increase in package volume globally in 2014, UPS emitted fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per package, with total carbon emissions growing just 3.3%.

The 14.1% reduction in carbon intensity achieved since 2007 is equal to removing more than 380,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

With consumer deliveries expected to grow to half of UPS’s US business volume by 2019, the company's strategies and technologies that address this challenge include the ORION routing system, UPS My Choice service and UPS Access Point locations.

These services give consumers control over when and where they receive deliveries, therefore UPS says it helps avoid unnecessary miles.

UPS is also developing new delivery methods to reach dense urban areas, such as deploying electric vehicles in London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Hamburg. In some cities the company is using bikes for deliveries.

“Urbanisation and e-commerce growth create unique challenges for us, our customers and the communities we serve,” continued Condamine.

“UPS is committed to meeting those challenges, minimising our impact on the environment and paving the way for a more sustainable future.”

In 2014, UPS pledge to commit 20 million volunteer hours by the end of 2020, which it said it expects to translate into nearly a half-billion dollars in economic impact to nonprofit organisations around the world.

UPS employees and the global logistics network have coordinated humanitarian relief shipments of food, health and emergency goods to support to areas affected by the Ebola epidemic, the Syrian refugee crisis and severe weather in the Philippines and U.S.

The 2014 UPS Corporate Sustainability Report can be downloaded by clicking here.

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