By 2040, Royal Mail pledges to have become net zero, with parcel deliveries creating 50g CO2e from their previous 205g CO2e. If successful, each delivery will emit the same emissions as a cup of tea being made with milk.
Previously the company had agreed to become net zero in 2050, to be in line with the UK Governments targets, however, they are confident they can hit the target 10 years earlier. Using 2020/21 as a base year, their targets include reducing their Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 25% by 2025/26 and reducing their Scope 3 emissions by 25% by 2030.
To do this the company have outlined four key pillars, in which they will focus on, to lower their carbon footprint to become net zero. These pillars include:
- Net zero deliveries
- Net zero operations
- Making circular happen
- Collaborating for action
With parcels and letters being delivered to 31 million addresses throughout the UK and 90,000 posties delivering them on foot, Royal Mail believe that with correct measures in place they can make their deliveries carbon neutral. To keep emissions down to a minimum, posties will share a delivery van and deliver from a central point. To cut emissions down further these vans are planned to become EVs, with 5,500 to be utilised in 2023. Alongside these electric vans the company plans to also use drones and micro EVs.
During this year (2022), Royal Mail have plans to make all their electricity usage across their business renewable. Around 49% of their current emissions come from domestic operations including their buildings and transport. They also plan to move the mail they must deliver longer distances by using rail rather than fights, which will significantly cut down their greenhouse gas emissions. In 2023, the company plan to make their new Midlands Parcel Hub self-generating by installing solar panels. If successful, this will be implemented to over 200 other sites.
By 2030, the company plans to reduce its waste by 25%, this will require them to reduce their use of single-use items, including rubber bands and cable ties. They will also increase their use of reusables in order for them to enable circularity. This circular journey does not end at the company itself as Royal Mail is putting a parcel collect service in place to encourage customers to also embrace circularity.
Collaboration is to become incredibly important for Royal Mail on their journey to become net zero. Due to their size and reputation, the company has a major platform to influence others to lower their emissions also. They plan to educate and encourage customers, employees, and communities to become sustainable, this will be through informing customers of the CO2e per parcel and discussing sustainability in their policies throughout their business.
As Royal Mail carry out their net zero policies, the company have plans to release an annual report outlining their progress against their ‘Steps to Zero’ objectives. The next update is due later this month (June 2022).