Would you splurge for a small surcharge on UPS packages if it meant cutting down on carbon emissions? UPS is betting on it. The shipping company is now the first small package carrier to offer carbon offsets to customers. At $0.05 for UPS Ground and $0.20 for all other services, the offsets are cheap enough that even the most miserly customers might consider them. UPS will even match customer offset purchases in the next year for up to $1 million.
Carbon offsets can easily be fudged, but UPS has elected to have the Société Générale de Surveillance monitor its emissions, taking into account air and ground fleets, emissions from UPS facilities, and fuel used by third parties that provide delivery services to UPS. The company's carbon offsets will come from Climate Action Reserve, Gold Standard, and Voluntary Carbon Standard--certified sources--and the Carbon Neutral Company will monitor the whole offset process to make sure UPS stays honest.
Customers are guaranteed that their packages will be legitimately offset carbon while UPS gets green cred. Will other shipping-heavy companies (Amazon, Zappos, etc.) follow suit?