UPS Carbon Offset: Introduction to UPS sustainability services

Month-long UPS carbon offset scheme aims to introduce customers to the concept of becoming carbon neutral, or even carbon negative.

Delivery firm UPS has announced a new measure, allowing its customers to pay to offset the climate impact of their parcel delivery. The UPS Carbon offset scheme is running throughout June to mark World Environment Day celebrations. 

The month-long carbon offset measure is just one of many services that UPS are implementing to make the company more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. 

With this latest sustainable venture from UPS, does it signal a change in how couriers deliver parcels? And are more delivery firms looking to reduce their carbon footprint to protect the planet?

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UPS introduces a month-long carbon offset incentive throughout June

For customers to participate in UPS’s carbon offset service, shippers have to pay a small fee, which UPS will then match to offset the carbon footprint of shipping the parcels. UPS is running the incentive throughout June, with all proceeds going towards purchasing good quality offsets. 

The result is double the impact, thereby allowing their customers to become carbon negative. The per-package flat rate price for the optional service is 10p for domestic US shipments, 20p for deliveries 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.

“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.”

Suzanne Lindsay-Walker, Chief Sustainability Officer, UPS

Offering customers the chance to offset the impact of their deliveries is a welcomed step in the right direction for sustainability. UPS will hopefully continue the scheme past June and throughout the future. However, this carbon-offset scheme isn’t the only sustainability service that they offer.

How does carbon offsetting work?
How does carbon offsetting work? Source: climateactive.org.au

What other sustainable services and changes have UPS made?

Alongside the new carbon offset scheme, UPS also offers a wide selection of sustainable delivery and shipping solutions. The company states that by using one of the following sustainability services, they are helping their customers to measure, manage and mitigate their environmental impact.

The UPS Eco Responsible Packaging Program

UPS established their Eco Responsible Packaging Program to give customers, who are committed to helping the environment, the option to use sustainable packaging with their deliveries.

Companies that wish to take part in the programme allow UPS to evaluate their packaging processes. In return, UPS allows the company to use its Eco Responsible Packaging Programme logo on their packages. The idea is that the logo will differentiate the company from its competition to show that they have proactively chosen to conserve the planet’s valuable resources.

Companies shipping processes must meet UPS’ required criteria for the programme, including:

  • Damage prevention: items arrive intact
  • Right-sizing: shipping containers are no larger than necessary
  • Materials content: examine the environmental impact of chosen materials

If a company needs some assistance in reaching their sustainability goals, UPS also provides a consulting service, which will suggest what improvements are required to qualify for the packaging programme.

UPS Eco Responsible Packaging Program

Investment in electric vehicles

UPS has partnered with Arrival to purchase 10,000 electric vans to build and roll out globally. With people buying online more than ever, a higher number of delivery vehicles are needed to transport the increased number of parcels. In New York City, around 1.5 million packages are delivered every day!

By committing to electric, UPS and Arrival’s vehicles will produce zero direct emissions, making them less damaging to air quality than traditional petrol or diesel vans. Not only are these vans better for the environment, but they’re also 50% cheaper to run, increase safety and are allowing UPS to explore automated driving.

UPS Electric Delivery Vehicle

UPS Carbon Neutral Platform

UPS’ June carbon offset initiative is a part of the company’s carbon-neutral platform. This platform has, since 2010, offset more than 60 million parcels a year for customers, the equivalent of more than 100,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions!

UPS offers its customers a carbon-neutral shipping option so they can reduce their carbon footprint while demonstrating a commitment to sustainability. Customers can choose to contribute to projects like:

  • Wolf Creek, which captures methane landfill emissions to generate electricity in the US. 
  • Chol Charoen, which captures emissions released from wastewater to produce electricity in Thailand. 

UPS oversees the entire process, from calculating the CO2 emissions to purchasing and retiring the carbon offsets.

Is sustainability the future of parcel deliveries?

UPS’ various sustainability services have great potential for businesses to utilise when it comes to shipping products and packages. Customers and brands who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint when buying and selling online will no doubt find real value in couriers with sustainable methods of transport in place. 

UPS is not the only courier service that has committed to sustainability. Delivery rival DPD has also recently committed to creating an electric fleet of delivery vehicles, and DHL has integrated sustainability into its overall business strategy.

Consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impacts of their shopping habits, and as a result, many brands are making a conscious effort also to move towards sustainability. As a result, delivery and shipping methods will need to adapt and fall in line with the change in consumer habits, or risk being left behind.

If you’re interested in taking part in UPS’ month-long carbon offset scheme, you can do so by visiting their website here.

Further Reading: Electric Vehicles: Is Electric Last-Mile Delivery the Key to Sustainable eCommerce? Read More

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