United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) plans to cut the carbon emissions of its airline by an additional 20 percent by 2020, for a total reduction of 42 percent since 1990, according to the company’s latest sustainability report. UPS said aircraft emissions account for 53 percent of UPS’ total carbon output.
UPS expects to cut its aircraft emissions and fuel costs by investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft types and engines, implementing fuel-saving operational initiatives, and using biofuels.
UPS competitor FedEx has a stated goal of using 30 percent biofuels in its fleet by 2030.
UPS Airlines claims to lead in fuel efficiency in the package delivery sector with an efficiency factor of 1.42 CO2 pounds per Available Ton Mile (ATM).
Fuel-saving operational initiatives include lower flight speeds, reduced flight segments, computer-optimized flight plans, computer-managed aircraft taxi times, and jet engine washing. The types of biofuels were not mentioned in the report.
The report shows that UPS’ global enterprise CO2 emissions, including Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 and 3 (indirect), increased slightly from 15.2 million metric tons in 2007 to 15.4 million metric tons in 2008. But CO2 emissions in the U.S. fell from 7.48 million metric tons in 2007 to 7.30 million metric tons in 2008.
UPS also reduced energy consumption (direct and indirect) at its U.S. Package Operations in 2008, falling from 100.06 million gigajoules in 2007 to 97.67 million gigajoules in 2008. However, energy consumption by Supply Chain and Freight operations increased from 18.78 to 20.53 million gigajoules over the same time period due to growth in these businesses, said the company.
In comparison to 2007, the U.S. Package Operations energy efficiency per 1,000 packages improved .35 percent and emissions efficiency per 1,000 packages improved .47 percent. The improvements resulted directly from better use of energy consuming assets (facilities, aircraft, and vehicles, for example), according to the report. Specifically, UPS attributes the greater improvement to a reduction in consumption of jet fuel and increased use of natural gas for heating in its facilities.
UPS is also working to reduce energy consumption in the workplace. Approximately 80,000 PC monitors in UPS facilities are now set to an energy-saving mode, and more than 85 percent of vending machines in UPS locations in the United States are now Energy Star compliant.
In 2008, UPS also funded 117 lighting upgrade projects that are expected to produce an annual energy savings of more than 25 million kWh. UPS said this is equivalent to the energy required to power 2,490 homes for a year. The company expects these projects to lower CO2 emissions by 15,893 metric tons annually.
Renewable energy is on UPS’ list of energy and emission reducers. In 2008, UPS deployed a solid-oxide fuel cell in its Anchorage, Alaska distribution facility that is expected to produce 100,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, and reduce CO2 emissions by 62 metric tons per year. Four other facilities also drew a significant portion of their electricity from renewable sources including solar and biomass in 2008.
UPS said it operates the largest private alternative fuel/ technology vehicle fleet in the package sector, which now totals 1,819 vehicles in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, the UK and the United States. In 2008, UPS increased its number of vehicles powered by electricity, compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, and hybrid combinations.
In 2008, the U.S. Package Operation also reduced water consumption to 4.36 million cubic meters (1.15 billion gallons) from 5.39 million cubic meters (1.42 billion gallons) in 2007. The U.S. Package Operations and Supply Chain and Freight operations generated approximately 120,000 tons of solid waste in 2008, and recycled approximately 51,000 tons or 43 percent of that material. In 2008, UPS also purchased 159,148 tons of materials that included recycled content.
Other environmental achievements include the prevention of 3 million metric tons of carbon emissions by shifting from ground to rail and air to ground, and the elimination of 100 million miles from its delivery routes since 2003 by using routing technology.