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UPS, Postal Service Partner To Cut Carbon Footprints

The US Postal Service and UPS have partnered in an initiative that they say will cut costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In a video message, postmaster general and USPS CEO Patrick Donahoe and UPS chairman and CEO Scott Davis say the Blue and Brown Make Green partnership will reduce carbon footprints of both companies’ supply chains – but the two don’t give much detail.

While USPS and UPS are competitors, they say in the video they are also each other’s customers. The Postal Service delivers many of UPS’s packages through its “last mile” network, taking the deliveries through the final stage of their journeys to customers’ doors, which helps UPS reduce its GHG emissions, the companies say.

USPS also allows UPS customers to drop returnable merchandise at post offices for UPS retrieval and return to retailers. Last year, UPS carried millions of pounds of USPS letter and package mail across the country and around the world on its air and ground transportation networks. This, the companies say, cuts USPS fuel usage and indirect GHGs.

The Postal Service is the world’s largest mail service, delivering nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail to more than 151 million addresses in America.

UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company, and is one of the leading global providers of specialized transportation and logistics services. In 2011, UPS delivered more than four billion packages and documents to more than 220 countries and territories.

The Postal Service participates in the International Post Corporation’s Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS), the global postal industry’s program to reduce its carbon footprint 20 percent by 2020 compared to 2008. UPS is providing sustainability data to USPS for that program.

But according to USPS’s 2011 sustainability report, its carbon emissions rose 0.7 percent from 2010 to 2011, from 12.31 to 12.39 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The service’s revenues, net profits and mail volume all shrank over that time period.

CR Magazine ranked UPS as the No. 1 company for climate change efforts in its 2012 list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens. UPS’s normalized emissions dropped more than 6.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, from 24.65 to 23.03 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per $100,000 of revenue, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report. In 2011, overall emissions declined 3.5 percent while package volume grew by 1.8 percent.

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