The IPC [International Post Corporation] has published the first-year results of its Sustainability Measurement and Management System (SMMS), which will be used to set a baseline for the reporting of participating posts. Following 11 years of reporting against environmental indicators, the group says it will now report on topics across a broad range of sustainability areas. The results will be included in IPC’s annual Sustainability Report.
The IPC SMMS program was launched in 2019 to address the sustainability objectives of the postal sector for the next 10 years, aligned with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It expands on the 2009-2019 Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS) program, which focused on reducing carbon emissions, and broadens the remit to the seven sustainability focus areas most relevant for the postal sector.
The remit now includes:
• Health and safety.
• Learning and development.
• Resource efficiency.
• Climate change.
• Air quality.
• Circular economy.
• Sustainable procurement.
In the original EMMS program, two targets were set to drive postal sector progress on carbon management and carbon emissions:
• Achieve a 20% reduction in collective Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2020, compared with a 2008 baseline – achieved in 2014.
• Achieve 90% in Carbon Management Proficiency (CMP) – achieved in 2018.
According to the IPC, the aim of the SMMS is to build on the success and experience of the EMMS to inform its approach going forward. The seven sustainability focus areas were decided upon following a two-year process involving research, consultation with internal and external stakeholders and multiple iterations. They are aligned with the SDGs identified by IPC’s stakeholders and SMMS participants as most relevant to the postal sector. Reporting is undertaken annually on the preceding year’s data. Each of the 19 participating posts is assessed through various qualitative and quantitative elements.
For example, Sustainability Management Proficiency (SMP) is measured qualitatively through a 150+ question survey. Overall SMP scores and Focus Area scores on Strategy & Policy, Embedding, Measurement & Evaluation and Disclosure & Reporting are given in percentages, with data from 2019 used as the baseline.
The organization notes that posts in its group have successfully increased their use of renewable electricity from 14% of total electricity use in 2012 to 31% in 2019. Seven posts now use 100% renewable electricity, and a further six use more than 90%. The SMMS group has grown its collective alternative-fuel vehicle fleet from 65,000 (12% of total vehicles) in 2012 to over 130,000 (22%) in 2019, a particularly impressive feat given the challenging market conditions. Reported electric vehicles also increased from 2018 by more than 4,600, now comprising 15% of total vehicles in 2019.
Notably, in 2019, posts reported a 31% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions compared to the 2008 baseline. This equates to year-on-year decrease of 218,000 tonnes (4%) from 2018. Since 2008, the group’s cumulative reduction in emissions now equals 18,100,000 metric tons CO2 .
Having reached the absolute emissions reduction target in 2014, participants collectively agreed on a delivery efficiency target, measuring the carbon emissions associated with each delivery, and also expanding the scope to include outsourced transportation, to achieve a 20% reduction in Scope 1, 2 and 3 (from own operations and outsourced transportation) carbon emissions per letter mail and per parcel by 2025, from a 2013 baseline year.
In 2019, the group reported a 3% increase in grams CO2 per item for both letter mail and parcels, compared to 2018. Since the 2013 baseline, this equates to an increase of 7% for letter mail, but a decrease of 8% for parcels. These trends highlight the challenges posts face in reducing the carbon intensity of letter mail deliveries in a climate of falling letter mail demand.
Finally, in 2019, participants reused or recycled an impressive 47% of total non-hazardous waste. Five posts have publicly stated targets on waste/circular economy, and a further five have internal targets.