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UPS, FedEx Report Efficiency Gains

UPS and FedEx have released sustainability reports within days of each other, with UPS showing a 3.3 percent reduction in fuel consumed per package from 2009 to 2010, while FedEx cut all three scopes of greenhouse gas emissions in that time.

Highlights of UPS’s report include the company’s hitting a milestone of 200 million miles driven in alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicles since 2000. UPS also used telematics and routing technologies to avoid driving over 63.5 million miles in 2010, the equivalent of 251,987 trips to the International Space Station. This helped UPS avoid 68,000 metric tons of emissions.

Telematics alone eliminated more than 15.4 million minutes of idling time, saving 103,000 gallons of fuel, UPS says. By increasing its number of stops per mile by just 0.01 percent in 2010, the company delivered more packages with fewer engine restarts, saving the fuel equivalent of driving 9.13 million miles.

UPS reports that its U.S. package volume rose 1.8 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. The company attributed its 3.3 percent reduction in fuel consumed per package to “deploying the right vehicle on the right routes, using technology to minimize the miles driven and focusing on how behavior can affect fuel use.”

In this year’s report, UPS increased its reporting in several areas, including water usage, Scope 3 emissions, details about carbon offset purchases, and the company’s long-term “decarbonization” strategy. In 2010 UPS’s water consumption normalized to U.S. domestic package delivery rose slightly to 1.19 cubic meters per 1,000 packages, from 1.18 in 2009, but considerably down from 1.54 in 2007.

UPS’s greenhouse gas inventory (direct and indirect) was also verified and certified by third parties for the first time.

In 2010 its scope 1 emissions rose from 11.4 million to 11.7 million metric tons, scope 2 emissions fell from 0.924 to 0.917 million metric tons, and scope 3 emissions rose from 6.4 to 9.9 metric tons.

“The higher level of Scope 3 emissions in 2010 compared to 2009 is notable because it documents our continued efforts to increase the comprehensiveness of our Scope 3 inventory and demonstrates our commitment to transparency in this regard,” the report said.

“In 2011, we took another step forward by commencing to report according to the new Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting & Reporting Standard, which includes 15 emissions categories covering the entire corporate value chain. In the first year working with the new standard, we were able to include five of the 15 emissions categories defined by the standard.”

The report adds, “In particular, we saw an additional 3 million metric tonnes of CO2e due to the capture of three additional Scope 3 categories:

  • ‘upstream’ emissions associated with extraction, production, and transportation of fuels consumed by UPS (1.18 million metric tonnes of CO2e emissions);
  • emissions associated with employee commuting (1.65 million metric tonnes); and
  • emissions resulting from electricity and natural gas use by franchisees of The UPS Store (0.05 million metric tonnes).”

FedEx, in its report (pdf) said that it managed to reduce all three scopes of greenhouse gas emissions from FY2009 to FY2010. The declines were:

  • Scope 1 emissions fell by seven percent, from 14.1 million to 13.2 million metric tons
  • Scope 2 emissions fell by six percent, from 1.07 million to .997 million metric tons
  • Scope 3 emissions by 11 percent, from 1.13 million to 1.01 million metric tons.

FedEx has a goal of reducing the CO2 emissions intensity of its aircraft by 20 percent by 2020, from a 2005 baseline. It reached a 13.5 percent reduction in calendar year 2010, with 1.34 pounds of CO2 per available ton mile.

The company reports that by the end of FY11, it had increased its global electric and hybrid-electric fleet to 408 vehicles. These vehicles have logged almost 9.5 million miles, equivalent to nearly 20 roundtrip journeys to the moon, saving about 276,000 gallons of fuel and reducing CO2 emissions by almost 2,800 metric tons.

The company says it has a goal of improving the fuel efficiency of its FedEx Express fleet by 20 percent by 2020, and that it reached 15.1 percent in FY2010 – but the report fails to give a baseline figure for those percentages, rendering it difficult to make sense of the numbers (see chart, above).

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