CouriersPlease aims to be completely carbon neutral across all areas of the business by 2025, beginning with offsetting 100 per cent of its operational emissions – which includes waste, energy use, staff travel and flights.
Emissions in the transport sector derive from direct burning of fuels for road, rail, domestic aviation and domestic shipping. Given that CP operates in the transport and logistics industry, this process will take some time before it can become carbon neutral.
However, the company has been certified Low CO2, from Australian carbon consulting company, The Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI).
It is a certification standard for organisations that want to reduce their carbon emissions over time, by setting annual CO2 reduction targets to reduce its carbon footprint across all areas of its business.
The parcel delivery business CP comprises more than 750 franchisees whose network covers 95 per cent of Australia. In 2019 alone, it delivered more than 20 million parcels. CP had its carbon emissions audited by CRI to quantify the baseline carbon footprint for the company, to allow it to set emission reduction targets. Audits are measured by emissions the business has direct control over, such as flights, waste or staff travel.
Since 1 July, CP has, and will continue to, offset 10 per cent of emissions related to last-mile deliveries performed by their franchisees, which is in addition to offsetting its operational emissions.
While freight contributes to a business’ carbon footprint, interestingly, CRI has found that this commonly accounts for 5-10 per cent of the carbon footprint of a product, with the product itself having a more significant impact than the delivery method.
By June 2021, CP will have prevented offset emissions equivalent to not burning 1546 tonnes of coal, 1.7 million litres of petrol, nearly 14 million kilometres off the road, and 540 laps around the Australian coastline.
“CP is committed to becoming a carbon-neutral carrier and lead by example in the industry and the business sector. We are low CO2 certified, and have commenced offsetting all operational emissions in an approved Certified Carbon Standard Project, the world’s most widely used program for voluntary emissions reduction,” said Paul Roper, Chief Commercial Officer at CP.
“In addition, as part of our climate change action and overarching environmental strategy to be a carbon-neutral carrier, we are working with CRI to become completely carbon neutral across the rest of the business in the next five years. We are adopting green procurement, whereby our purchase decisions will be based on reviewing the entire lifecycle of goods and services – taking into account environmental and social risks, benefits and implications – over a decision based on upfront costs.”
Roper said this will result in benefits including more efficient and effective use of natural resources, and a reduction in the harmful impact of pollution and waste.
He said sustainability is becoming important to consumers, and online retailers are becoming conscious of the need to work with eco-friendly shipping and fulfilment partners who share the same values.
“We all have a role to play in a greener future, and this starts with businesses understanding what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, we are in the middle of a 12-month discovery phase of our delivery app, CPGo, which helps our franchisees by defining the quickest calculated route to take before they commence their run in an optimised pickup and delivery sequence.”
Over time, their vehicles will also adopt new technologies and emission-savings tools to minimise emissions further.
“We encourage other organisations to review their carbon emissions and create an environmental action plan, so they too can contribute to climate change action. This is a really exciting time for CP and our customers as we play a part in delivering a greener future,” Roper said
Garth Mulholland, Environmental Programs Advisor at The Carbon Reduction Institute, said, “As one of Australia’s largest franchised businesses with a national footprint, CP has the potential to drive change in an industry which will need to adjust its operations and processes to see Australia successfully tackle its emissions.”
“This will also help us to achieve the reductions required to meet our global temperature increase targets set under the Paris Agreement. CP has not only committed to reduce its operational emissions but work with its customers to reduce their emissions via last-mile delivery. CP and CRI are at the start of this great journey, where we will assist CP and their customers to make their courier services carbon neutral,” Mulholland said.