WASHINGTON — The international postal sector is the first services industry worldwide to commit to reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the International Post Corporation (IPC). The U.S. Postal Service and 21 other postal operators in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region — all members of IPC — have pledged to measure CO2 emissions and collectively reduce them by 20 percent by 2020, under IPC's Environmental Measurement and Monitoring system (EMMS.)

“The U.S. Postal Service continues to build on our long history of green innovation, and we’re proud to work with our global postal partners to reduce the size of our industry’s carbon footprint,” said Sam Pulcrano, vice president, Sustainability. “Collectively, the 21 EMMS participating posts manage more than 100,000 facilities, 600,000 vehicles, and deliver more than 80 percent of the world’s mail. Our joint effort to reduce CO2 emissions will have a major positive effect on the environment.”

The Postal Sector Sustainability Report 2010 recently published by the IPC announced that the global postal industry has already cut CO2 emissions by greater than a half million metric tons — more than one-third the goal — since 2008.

The IPC developed EMMS to provide a common carbon measurement and reporting framework. The EMMS tool measures carbon management proficiency (CMP) across 10 areas, including:
• Management and strategy
• Employee engagement
• Measurement and verification
• Disclosure and reporting
• Value chain management

In 2009, the global postal sector had an average CMP score of 61 percent. One of the Postal Service’s goals for this initiative was to improve its score and exceed the industry average, according to Pulcrano. The Postal Service met this objective by increasing its score from 53 to 73, a 38 percent improvement, and 18 percent higher than the industry average.

Another USPS goal is to lead the adoption of sustainable business practices, which includes encouraging suppliers to produce Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM products that have a reduced impact on the environment. Pulcrano said, “We are the only Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM mailing and shipping company worldwide, and we work with our suppliers to help improve their sustainability performance.”

The Postal Service’s 2010 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan describes the agency’s objectives and initiatives and summarizes milestones, including:
• a 10.8 trillion reduction in Btus (British thermal units) in facility energy use since 2005.
• $400 million in savings in facility energy costs since 2007.
• $314 million in savings from reduced contracted transportation fuel use in 2009.
• 10 million saved sheets of paper through online initiatives in 2009.
• Testing three-wheeled electric delivery vehicles that cost only 2 cents per mile to operate.

The Postal Service has won more than 75 environmental awards, including 40 White House Closing the Circle, 10 Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Partner of the Year, Climate Action Champion, Direct Marketing Association Green Echo, and the Postal Technology International Environmental Achievement of the Year.