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FedEx Sustainability Report: Absolute CO2 Emissions Up 4%

FedEx’s absolute carbon dioxide emissions rose around 4 percent from 2010 to 2011, from 15.1 million to 15.8 million metric tons, according to the company’s 2011 corporate sustainability report.

The company’s Scope 1 and 3 emissions rose 4.9 percent and 1 percent respectively over that time period. FedEx attributes the jumps in these metrics to increases in shipping volumes, which it says came with improved global economic conditions and strong demand for its service. FedEx’s Scope 1 emissions account for the vast majority of its carbon footprint. The rise in this scope from 13.1 million to 13.8 metric tons explains most of the overall increase in emissions.

Despite the growth in overall emissions, FedEx says it has made progress in “decoupling” its economic growth from its direct greenhouse-gas emissions. As evidence, the report says that the company’s Scope 1 emissions “increased by only 3 percent in FY11 compared with FY10” while its average daily package volumes at FedEx Express and FedEx Ground increased 5 percent, and its revenues increased 13 percent. However Environmental Leader’s calculations put the company’s Scope 1 emissions increase from 2010 to 2011 at around 4.9 percent.

FedEx’s Scope 2 emissions fell less than 1 percent year-on-year from 996,872 metric tons in 2010 to 989,874 metric tons in 2011, the report says. The company attributes the drop to energy efficiency efforts at its facilities.

Highlights of this efficiency drive include the FedEx Express World Headquarters in Memphis receiving LEED Gold certification in January 2011, under the LEED for Existing Buildings system; a FedEx data center in Colorado Springs, Colo., receiving LEED Gold classification for new construction; and two FedEx stations in Houston, Texas, receiving LEED Silver in the fall of 2011. The certifications of five other FedEx facilities are pending, the report says. The company has pledged to secured LEED rating on all its new buildings.

FedEx also installed a green roof the size of three football fields at its cargo facility at Chicago O’Hare airport, the report says.

The company’s normalized emissions from aircraft dropped 4 percent year-on-year, the report says. In 2010, FedEx aircraft fleet emitted 1.35 lbs of CO2 per available ton miles (the tons of carrying capacity by miles traveled). In 2011 this figure dropped to 1.3 CO2 lbs per available ton miles.

The company previously had a goal of reducing this metric by 20 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels. FedEx has increased this goal to a 30 percent reduction in intensity by 2020 over 2005 levels. The company’s cumulative reduction in this metric since 2005 is now at 13.8 percent, the report says. The majority of this reduction was due to the replacement of older, less fuel-efficient aircraft with newer planes (see graph, below).

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