ESG: Environment

Reducing our impact on the planet

couriers next to globe
man with target board

Key targets

  • Net zero by 2035 for direct and indirect emissions
  • Building energy consumption reduction of 20% per parcel by 2030
plant in pot

Highlights

  • 100% renewable electricity in operations
  • We’ve signed to the UN Race to Zero via Climate Pledge
  • New ESG software and Scope 1, 2 & 3 carbon assessment completed
  • We were the first UK parcel company to successfully trial electric HGV

We’re reducing carbon emissions across operations by focusing on our vehicles, infrastructure, and innovative products and services. 

2020 carbon figures

Using the latest technology, we’re continually measuring and reviewing our carbon emissions. We categorise these into three ‘Scopes’ – a method developed by the most widely used global accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Scopes 1 and 2 cover direct and indirect emissions resulting from business operations. We have reported our entire scope 3, which covers all other indirect emissions that are part of our entire value chain. By our calculations, the total CO2e per parcel is currently 508g.

 
Scope  Total (t.CO2e)
Scope 1 79,136.74
Scope 2 - Location Based (LB)  6,228.42
Scope 2 - Market Based (MB) 8,442.06
Scope 3 241,493.59
Total S1, 2 & 3 (LB)

326,858.75

Total S1, 2 & 3 (LB)

329,072.39

lorry and courier van

The fleet

We’re firmly on the road to net zero thanks to our ongoing exploration of alternative fuels across the first, middle and final mile. 

On trunking, we use a biomethane CNG (compressed natural gas) powered fleet as an alternative to diesel and currently have 90 CNG tractor units. We’ve ordered another 70, bringing the total to 160 – 50% of our core tractor fleet. This will give us the UK’s largest CNG parcel delivery fleet. Approximately 40% of our first-mile fleet is powered by CNG.   

Each new IVECO S-WAY unit reduces CO2 emissions by more than 80% when compared to a Euro 6 diesel vehicle – a reduction of 150 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle and 24,000+ tonnes of CO2 across the entire CNG fleet annually. 

Other CNG benefits include reductions in air pollution impact, such as 70% less NOX, 99% less particulate matter, 90% less NMHC and 88% less methane. They’re also 50% quieter than diesel equivalents.  

We partner with CNG Fuels, which sources 100% renewable bio-CNG for its stations. This is sourced from food waste, independently verified and approved by the Department for Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation.   

Electric vans give us an alternative fuels option for all journeys. Our Gemini site operates with 100% electric vehicles to service final-mile deliveries in central London. The 32-van fleet delivers an average of 6,500 parcels per day, rising to 11,000 during peak.   

We’ve ordered 168 new zero-emission Mercedes-Benz eSprinters to service our out of home ParcelShop network. This is the most carbon-efficient way to send, receive and return parcels, and we aim to undertake all ParcelShop collections with electric vehicles at the earliest opportunity. We’ve commissioned Pod Point UK to install charging points at our hubs and depots. 

lorry and courier van

Hubs and depots

The Rugby hub features transparent roof sections to increase natural lighting; LED lighting throughout to save energy; a rainwater harvesting system; and electric vehicle charging points. Around 77% of our waste is recycled, and we’ve also installed a new Optidrive system, which reduces sorter power consumption by 220kva.

The Hemel Hempstead depot, which has solar panels, charging points and transparent roofing sections, will have its whole-life carbon impact officially certified by The Planet Mark.

For the flagship ‘superhub’ at Barnsley, the first section of which will open in 2022, we’re including CNG fuel on site and solar panels. This will, like all our operations, be powered by 100% REGO backed renewable electricity. The 55-acre site includes a biodiversity area; solar panels and rain harvesting; acoustic bunds to reduce noise pollution; and the planting of 25,000+ trees and hedgerows.

bulb on cardboard box

Products and services

Our proposition, developed and trialled in our bespoke Innovation & UX Lab, helps customers and retailers become more sustainable. Many of our innovations can easily be integrated into our clients’ checkout process as we support them on their own sustainability journeys.

  • Divert to ParcelShop and Locker - Customers can divert their parcel earlier in its journey – before it’s even on the road. We can avoid the final-mile part of the journey by using our electric van fleet to deliver the parcel to the desired out of home location. Out of home is a priority because delivery/collection via ParcelShops and Lockers reduces CO2.
  • ‘Local to Local’ - Delivery by eCargo bikes, successfully trialled in our home city of Leeds. This has potential for a carbon-free ‘store-to-door’ delivery model while supporting local retailers hit by Covid restrictions.
  • Street portering - Carbon neutral delivery on foot to reduce emissions and congestion in urban areas. Successfully trialled in London, but we aim to commission this in 2022 to scale up with business/retailer buy-in. We’ve already delivered more than 75,000 parcels by foot and the benefits are clear: two electric vans and eight porters means six diesel vans are taken off the road.
  • Packageless returns - Customers take their return item to a ParcelShop where staff will package it in an FSC-approved eco-friendly bag and consolidate into containers, reducing the amount of driver collections and CO2 emissions. The bags save 42.3 tonnes CO2e emissions compared to degradable alternatives. We’ve seen 1 million+ packageless users since launch and we’re looking to increase the number of clients using this service in 2022. 
  • Digital calling cards - We reduced the number of printed paper slips by 66.2 million in 2020.
  • We’re continually improving first-time delivery success, which means fewer delivery attempts and less time on the road. We’ve enhanced tracking capability; employed geofencing technology; and partnered with innovative addressing service what3words to boost first-time delivery accuracy.