UPS Releases Sustainability Report, Plans to Increase Auto Fuel Efficiency by 20%

UPS has a problem: Gas prices show no signs of decreasing, but the company can't cut down on its driving--there are packages to be had, after all. That's probably part of the reason behind UPS's commitment to improve the MPG performance of its U.S. package delivery fleet by 20% between 2000 and 2020. The commitment, announced in UPS's just-released 2009 Sustainability Report, is one of many environmental programs highlighted by the company.

Other programs discussed in the report include the company's deployment last year of 245 vehicles running on compressed natural gas (expanding the total alternative fleet to 1,883 vehicles in North America, South America, Europe and Asia), a year-long study of hybrid diesel electric delivery vans as part of a partnership with the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the launch of a carbon-neutral shipping program, and a non-binding memoranda of understanding (MOU) for purchase of synthetic jet fuel from RenTech and AltAir Fuels.

All impressive stuff for the world's largest package delivery company, but UPS isn't alone in its quest for sustainability. DHL has committed to improving CO2 efficiency of its operations (and subcontractor operations) by 30% by 2020 compared to a 2007 baseline, and in 2009 the company started to offer carbon-neutral shipping in 30 countries. FedEx has made strides, too. The company recently built the largest rooftop solar array in the U.S., and it is one of the top 20 on-site green power producers in the country. It makes sense--for these package jockeys, sustainability is an immediate concern.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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