Reflecting the importance of this issue to our sector, we will continue to measure and report on the group’s achievements related to Climate Change beyond 2020.

Introduction 

The SMMS builds on the Environmental Monitoring and Measurement System (EMMS) which has tracked and driven progress in the postal sector’s carbon management since 2008. Our participants have shown tremendous progress in that time.

The original EMMS targets were set in 2009 following a pilot in 2008, with 20 participants collectively setting ambitious targets to be achieved by 2020, compared to the 2008 baseline:

  • To reduce combined carbon emissions from own operations by 20% – achieved in 2014
  • To achieve a score of at least 90% in carbon management proficiency – achieved in 2018

Following the early achievement of the first target, a new target was introduced in 2014:

  • To achieve a 20% reduction in Scope 1, 2 and 3 (from own operations and outsourced transport) carbon emissions per letter mail and per parcel by 2025, from a 2013 baseline year. 

This target was approved by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTI) in 2016 (one of the first 12 globally) indicating that the level of decarbonisation required to achieve it is in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. As of 2019, 11 posts now have a target approved by the SBTI. 

Reflecting the importance of this issue to our sector, we will continue to measure and report on the group’s achievements related to Climate Change beyond 2020. 

Emerging trends

Given the size of the participant’s collective fleets, reducing the environmental impact of the group’s vehicles will be a continued focus going forward. Key activities in this area include a growing array of different low carbon vehicle types, and as discussed in the Resource Efficiency  section, our participants continue to be innovative in this area. 

Engagement with the supply chain on ways to reduce carbon emissions will also be critical in order to decrease Scope 3 emissions, which contribute the majority of the group’s total carbon emissions (66% of Scope 1, 2 and 3). Posts have shown a commitment to mitigating the impact of the value chain through a variety of initiatives, with examples found in our case study library

Results

  • Climate Change was the highest scoring Focus Area out of the seven in the Sustainability Management Proficiency (SMP) questionnaire, reflecting the group’s dedication to this issue over the past 11 years.
  • Posts scored 63.5% collectively for Climate Change, 11.3 percentage points ahead of the group’s Overall SMP Score and 4.3 percentage points ahead of the second highest Focus Area score (Health and Safety). 
  • The group scored highest in questions related to Measurement & Evaluation; reflecting its capacity for measuring ongoing progress. The group also scored well in the Strategy & Policy pillar, a crucial element of effective climate change risk management. Areas for improvement include the Disclosure & Reporting and Embedding pillars. However, the group’s scores for both of these for Climate Change were still significantly ahead of the average across the seven sustainability Focus Areas. 

Highlights of the group’s performance in 2019 include:

  • 13 posts have a dedicated policy in place that includes a commitment to performance improvement and a framework for achieving objectives
  • All 19 posts have either an annual, short-term, mid-term, or long-term target related to climate change
  • 13 participants define responsibility for climate change at the board/ executive level of their organisation.

We encourage posts to continue developing their approaches to Climate Change management, including participating in initiatives to build resilience to climate change within their own organisations and in the wider community, through employee education and outreach programmes.

Scope 1 and 2 emissions

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 18.1 million tonnes CO2.

Delivery Efficiency



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 transport: 

  • To achieve a 20% reduction in Scope 1, 2 and 3 (from own operations and outsourced transport) 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. 

Particularly as such advancements have now been made in building energy efficiency, the sector’s attention will turn to decarbonising the transport. IPC recognises that there is no silver bullet. In the short term, the industry will continue to draw on a host of different AFV solutions - of the total SMMS fleet, the proportion of AFVs increased from 12% in 2012 to 22% in 2019. Innovative programmes and battery developments have put electric vehicles firmly in the driving seat in the near term, with hydrogen expected to realise its potential as an alternative. Therefore, as we see the increasing penetration of low carbon transport in the sector, we expect the climate impact of these deliveries to come down again in the future. 

2008 to 2018 emissions were restated in 2020. Please see Annex 'Restatement' for more details.