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UPS Sustainability Report: Sets Goal to Improve Fuel Efficiency by 20%

UPS has set a new target to improve the miles per gallon (mpg) performance of its entire U.S. package delivery fleet by 20 percent between 2000 and 2020, according to the company’s latest corporate sustainability report.

In 2009, UPS drivers logged 77.3 million more miles than in 2000, yet fuel consumption decreased by 3.2 million gallons. UPS says fuel efficiency levels were improved through vehicle technology, vehicle maintenance procedures, fuel conservation efforts, sophisticated routing technology and operational initiatives such as minimizing engine idling. Alternative fuel technology and vehicle deployments also helped improve UPS’s fuel efficiency.

In April, UPS expanded its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles with the deployment of 200 next-generation hybrid electric delivery trucks in Austin, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Minneapolis and Louisville.

This followed UPS’s deployment in January of 245 new delivery trucks fueled with compressed natural gas in Colorado and California, adding to a fleet of nearly 2,000 alternative fuel vehicles.

The fuel efficiency goal complements UPS’s announcement last year that it will improve the carbon efficiency (CO2/ATM) of its airline by an additional 20 percent by 2020, for a cumulative reduction of 42 percent since 1990. The airline represents 53 percent of the company’s global carbon footprint.

In 2007, UPS set a goal of reducing fuel consumption for its airline to 6.9 gals/100 ATM in 2011, representing a 32 percent improvement from a 1990 baseline. The company already has reached that goal, cutting aviation fuel use to 6.63 gals/100 ATM in 2009, and set a new goal of 6.57 for 2012.

Other environmental highlights in 2009 include becoming the first major global package carrier to offer a carbon neutral service for deliveries in the U.S. UPS announced its carbon neutral shipping program in 2009, and expanded it to include 35 nations in July.

UPS also was one of 11 members of the Air Transportation Association of America to sign deals with two potential aviation biofuel developers in 2009.

UPS also began reporting on greenhouse gas emissions in greater detail, including information on global CO2e emissions for Scope 1 and 2 for the first time and capturing and reporting more Scope 3 data from more sources.

Emissions for 2007 and 2008 are now stated at a higher level than in its 2008 report, due to UPS’s efforts to gather more comprehensive energy and emissions data even for past periods.

UPS reports that its direct (Scope 1) emissions declined in 2009 compared to 2008, in part because the recession reduced its delivery volume and package weight and changed its business mix. The company also implemented carbon avoidance strategies including modal shifting to help control emissions.

However, UPS’s indirect (Scope 2 and 3) emissions rose compared to 2008, due primarily to capturing more raw Scope 3 data from more sources and continuing to improve its analytical processes for quantifying reportable emissions.

UPS reports that its international package segment reduced Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 11 percent and its U.S. domestic package segment reduced Scope 1 and 2 CO2e absolute emissions by 6.2 percent in 2009, compared to 2008.

In 2009, energy efficiency for its largest business segment, U.S. Domestic Package, improved compared to the previous year, due to more efficient management of its ground and air fleets as well as it facilities and other assets.

Energy consumption was 3.5 percent lower per 1000 packages, and rose 3.6 percent per dollar of revenue. CO2e emissions declined 3.1 percent per 1000 packages, and increased 3.8 percent per dollar of revenue, according to the report.

Energy-efficient measures implemented by UPS to help cut its energy use include lighting retrofits and building automation system installations.

As an example, in 2009, UPS’s multi-year lighting upgrade program replaced or upgraded 22,683 fixtures. The total since 2007 is more than 69,000 fixtures upgraded, with an estimated annual energy savings of 25 million kilowatt hours.

UPS also is investing in renewable energy. In 2009, the company completed its test of a first-generation solid oxide fuel cell developed by Bloom Energy at its Anchorage, Alaska distribution facility. The fuel cell produced more than 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in 2009, and reduced CO2 emissions associated with the facility by 170 metric tonnes.

The company’s solar-powered facility in Palm Springs, Calif. produced 70 percent of its own electricity from solar technology, eliminating 500 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.

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