UPS Sustainability Report: Normalized Water Use Drops 7.5%, CO2 6.5%
UPS’s normalized water consumption dropped 7.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, from 0.134 to 0.124 cubic meters of water per $1,000 of revenue, according to the company’s latest annual sustainability report.
When normalized against the number of packages the company sent, the metric decreased 2.5 percent over the same time period.
Last year UPS began developing a global water strategy to address what the company learned about its operations from the Global Water Tool developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The company will now focus its water conservation efforts on buildings the tool put within its top 20 percent for water usage and cost, as well as other locations for which the company has concerns about water scarcity. Measures to be implemented include the installation of high-efficiency water fixtures, and use of best practices for storm water and wastewater discharge at UPS operations sites, the report says.
UPS’s normalized emissions dropped over 6.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, from 24.65 to 23.03 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per $100,000 of revenue. The company’s emissions per 1,000 packages dropped under 2 percent over that time period, from 2.18 to 2.14 metric tons. In 2011, overall emissions declined 3.5 percent while package volume grew by 1.8 percent.
The delivery company says that by using what it calls “advanced route-planning technology,” it avoided driving 85 million miles, saving 8.4 million gallons of fuel and 83,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Through the ongoing deployment of telematics technology, UPS says it eliminated more than 98 million minutes of engine idling time, saving 653,000 gallons of fuel.
Drivers in telematics-equipped vehicles also improved stops per mile compared to 2010, the report says. This is an important metric for UPS, because each stop requires an engine restart that consumes fuel. In 2011, UPS’s improvement in stops per mile saved the equivalent of 5.3 million miles of driving, which translates to more than 528,000 gallons of fuel and 5,200 metric tons of CO2, the report says. The company’s gallons of fuel per ground package dropped just under 1 percent year-on-year (see graph below).
The company’s normalized energy consumption – when measured against revenue – dropped just under 6.5 percent over the course of the year. In 2010, UPS used 3.30 GJ of energy per $1,000 of revenue. In 2011, this figure dropped to 3.09. Along with fuel efficiencies targeting the company’s fleet, UPS also targets energy consumption in its facilities as a means of reducing energy consumption.
In 2011, the company says it completed a multi-year lighting upgrade program in which it replaced or upgraded about 9,000 fixtures with more energy-efficient lamps. The total since 2007 is nearly 98,000 fixtures upgraded, with an estimated annual energy savings of 34 million kilowatt hours, the report says.
Last year the company’s corporate headquarters gained LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council and Energy Star certification from the EPA. The Energy Star award certifies that the headquarters complex uses less energy, is less expensive to operate, and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than 75 percent of similar buildings in the United States, the report says.
The company earned the highest Carbon Disclosure Project score among S&P 500 companies last year.
UPS compiled the sustainability report using the Global Reporting Initiative. The report received the A+ designation after meeting GRI’s reporting standards and then receiving an assurance review from Deloitte & Touche. UPS says it is one of only 10 US corporations registered with the GRI this year that have achieved A+ status for superior transparency.
According to UPS, the company exceeded four of the seven key sustainability goals it established for 2011. The company met its goals for employee safety, auto accident frequency, aircraft emissions and full-time employee retention.
In 2010 it hit, a year early, its goal of reducing jet fuel use to 6.57 gallons per 100 available ton miles, but in 2011 this metric rose to 6.66 gallons per 100 ton miles. The company also missed goals on employee satisfaction and charitable contributions.
In July, UPS along with organizations including Coca-Cola, Nike, Shell and the US Department of Defense announced plans to be part of a working group run by sustainability consultants BSR that aims to help global companies understand the sustainability impacts of their transportation fuel systems.
With global energy consumption set to rise by 40 percent by 2030, the Future of Fuels group aims to publish research on sustainable fuel use and promote greater dialogue and understanding between the public, business, government and not-for-profit sector about fuel choices.
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