Royal Mail pledges to be net zero by 2040 and sets new emissions target for parcels

Royal Mail has brought forward its Net Zero target by 10 years to 2040 and plans to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025/26 and Scope 3 emissions by 25% by 2030, from a 2020/1 base year.
The company has also announced a long-term target to reduce its average carbon emissions per parcel it delivers in the UK from 205gCO2e today to 50gCO2e – the same as making a cup of tea with milk, claims the company.

Its four pillar Steps to Zero plan includes a number of new commitments. 13% of its overall emissions are from final mile deliveries and plans to reduce this include rolling out 5,500 electric vans for final mile deliveries by Spring 2023. It is also trialling drones for remote locations, micro electric vehicles and optimising on-foot deliveries by having a van delivering to a central point which will serve several posties on-foot.

The company is also looking to be using 100% renewable electricity across the Royal Mail business from this year to reduce the 49% of emissions that come from domestic operations. It also plans a reduced reliance on domestic flights and increased use of rail.

Royal Mail is also transforming operations to embrace the circular economy and helping customers do the same through its Parcel Collect service. Innovations to reduce single use items such as rubber bands are being trialled as well as changing the design of mail bags to eliminate cable ties and increasing the recycled content of plastic delivery bags.

Finally the company is calling for standardised industry-wide reporting on CO2e per parcel as well as working with several partners to help bring about further change.

Simon Thompson, chief executive officer at Royal Mail, said: “Environment is the next battleground for businesses and we are determined to lead. Setting an ambitious target to reduce parcel emissions to 50 gCO2e demonstrates our commitment to driving change and minimising our impact on the environment.

“We now merchandise the emissions per parcel for every delivery on the Royal Mail App, so customers can understand the impact of their order on the planet. We want to go much further and transform the way we collect, process and deliver the 10 billion letters and parcels we handle each year. All this means we can pull forward our net zero target by ten years to 2040.”

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