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A healthy shipping industry is often described as the bellwether of a healthy global economy. Companies like FedEx and DHL argue that the more trade, the better—and for customers, there’s no denying the conveniences brought about by the speed and efficiency of their vast logistical networks, with goods sent by air, sea and road.

However, one of the greatest challenges for the logistics industry is the carbon footprint: simply put, the more vehicles on the road and planes in the sky, the greater the impact on the environment. Here’s what the major courier companies are doing to reduce carbon emissions and promote a greener world.


DHL launched its GoGreen strategy in 2007. Its aim is to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. By 2025 it aims to increase carbon efficiency by 50% compared to its 2007 levels, and to reduce 70% of local air emissions from first and last-mile services (to and from hubs and warehouses) by using more electric vehicles.

Aircraft are one of the major contributors to CO2 levels

DHL also offers “climate neutral” green services with carbon offsetting, investing in internationally recognised climate protection projects to counterbalance not only companies’ carbon footprint, but other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. DHL also advises on energy-efficient systems in warehousing, waste recycling and packaging.


In 2017, 21.8% of the ground fuel purchased by UPS was alternative fuel, rather than gasoline and diesel. The company has deployed more than 300 electric vehicles and 700 hybrids across the US and Europe, with almost a thousand more on order. It also recently installed a new smart grid at its depot in Camden, London, to boost EV capacity.

UPS’ aim is to use electric power or alternative fuel for one in four new vehicles purchased by 2020, to use renewable sources for 25% of its electricity by 2025, and to replace 40% of all ground fuel with alternative fuel by 2025.

UPS is crunching data for intelligent route planning that cuts down on mileage during deliveries, and says it’s working on improving less efficient e-commerce deliveries, which make fewer deliveries per stop compared to business-to-business deliveries.

UPS Airlines improved its carbon intensity by 9.3% in 2017.


FedEx’s goal is to reduce aircraft emissions 30% by 2020, from a 2005 baseline—the company has achieved 22% so far, with less than two years to go.

It also aims to use alternative fuels for 30% of jet fuel by 2030 (its first delivery of commercially viable alternative fuels is anticipated for 2019), and to increase FedEx Express vehicle fuel efficiency 50% by 2025, from a 2005 baseline. It’s achieved 35% so far.

Global warming is an urgent issue worldwide

With its FedEx EarthSmart programme, the company is also focusing on energy efficiency in its warehouses and other facilities, including its packaging processes.


DPD has made a carbon neutrality commitment. Like DHL, it measures its carbon dioxide emissions and seeks to reduce and offset them so that every parcel delivery is carbon neutral. To do this, the company works with EcoAct to analyse carbon performance, and finances renewable and cleaner energy projects in Europe, Turkey and India.

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