Wednesday 9 May 2018

Carbon footprints of designated postal operators take a step in the right direction

04.05.2018 - Now in its second year, the Universal Postal Union’s Online Solution for Carbon Analysis and Reporting (OSCAR) is galvanizing designated postal operators to pursue carbon neutrality and improve efficiency.

As the world gathers in Bonn for the next round of crucial UN climate change negotiations, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) continues to work with designated postal operators to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Eighty-three designated postal operators—the body authorized by a government to handle postal matters—have joined the UN agency’s Online Solution for Carbon Analysis and Reporting (OSCAR), offered free to UPU’s 192 members. Just as importantly, 20 of those OSCAR-users, as part of the process, report having signed-up to the UN Global Compact encouraging businesses to develop sustainable and socially responsible policies.
OSCAR enables users to create a detailed analysis of their greenhouse gas emissions and to assess a broad range of carbon performance indicators. Posts, based on industry assessments, own some of the biggest fleets of vehicles globally and are responsible for an average of 0.1 per cent of a country’s carbon footprint. This may sound insignificant, but the data indicates this figure is likely to increase.
Assessments of carbon emissions involve direct and indirect emissions. Examples of indirect emissions include flights carrying mail, or vehicles used by sub-contractors. Many OSCAR-users are addressing direct emissions from their own buildings and vehicles; but they are also becoming increasingly ambitious as they engage with their own supply chains and contractors.   
The commitment to this deeper analysis is visible in numerous countries from every part of the globe. Lovisa Selander, UPU’s Sustainable Development Expert, and the manager of OSCAR said, “I believe the energy and dynamism of OSCAR-users is connected to the growing recognition that sustainability delivers proven value to Posts in the form of enhanced efficiency and costs savings.”
Selander added that many companies now have sustainability experts or corporate responsibility officers working on these issues. “They are doing this,” Selander said, “because the evidence is visible and tangible.” The UPU’s sustainability expert also pointed to the impact of customers on Posts’ thinking. “Customers concerned about the environment engagement are pushing Posts through their e-commerce interactions,” she said. 
Discussing next steps for OSCAR, Selander said that the UPU was now working on adding detailed guidance for users, building greater flexibility into the process and specifying select contacts. The goal is to create an ecosystem of postal sector players focused on knowledge and promoting best practices. This year’s campaign on measurements of the Posts’ carbon footprint began on 30th April. 

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