Environmental Responsibility

Optimized Network

Our optimized global logistics network meets customer needs with a single, integrated pickup and delivery system. Through the network’s use of innovative technologies and our intermodal shifting strategy, we are able to reduce inefficiencies and their associated environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions.

How Our Global GHG Reduction Strategy Adds Up

Technology Drives Efficiency

Technology has helped us fine-tune multiple aspects of our operations, from flying and driving to route planning. In 2003, we began using our proprietary Package Flow Technology (PFT), which enabled us to sort and load packages more accurately for optimized delivery.

ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) is another example of our recent technological advancements. It has improved route planning for our drivers who average 120 delivery stops on a typical day in the U.S. ORION software stores 250 million addresses and specific locations with required delivery and pickup times, then uses that data to calculate the most fuel-efficient route.

By the end of 2015, ORION had been implemented into 70% of U.S. routes identified as part of the initial deployment with full employment expected by the end of 2016. When fully deployed to all U.S. routes, we expect to reduce the distance driven by our drivers by 100 million miles annually and achieve a 100,000 metric ton reduction in CO2 emissions. That is equivalent to taking 21,000 passenger cars off the road for a year, according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

ORION at a Glance

The PFT and ORION route planning tools work in conjunction with UPS’s telematics system. The proprietary technology uses sensors throughout UPS vehicles to gather “big data” on more than 200 performance variables, including speed, seatbelt use and engine idling. We use the data to make operational advancements that inform route planning, improve vehicle performance and ensure driver safety.

Visit Fuels & Fleets to learn more about the cars on the road and planes in the air that support this optimized network.

Intermodal Shifting

When our customers choose a delivery time, we choose the most efficient transportation modes to meet it. That may mean using a truck instead of a plane, or a train instead of a truck. Since these various modes of transportation in our sector have different energy intensities (energy required per unit of volume transported), UPS uses an intermodal shifting strategy. It allows us to fluidly shift transport modes in real time to reduce energy intensity whenever possible.

Since 2010, we have avoided over 18 million metric tons of carbon emissions by shifting delivery volume to the most efficient method. This includes from aircraft to truck, and shifting from truck to rail.


Beyond our transportation network, the operation of more than 2,580 UPS facilities around the world offers opportunities to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions. UPS has also expanded our investment in renewable energy with an $18 million commitment to add solar energy collection to at least eight of our facilities in the U.S. in 2017. This builds on 13 years of solar experimentation for our buildings, and will provide a nearly five-fold increase in the amount of power generated from solar at UPS facilities today. The expanded solar portfolio is expected to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 8,200 metric tonnes per year.

UPS is committed to evaluating all new construction projects for green-building rating system implementation. The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM), and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) are the two rating systems most widely in use today across the globe.UPS currently has four facilities that have received LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. These include Gold Certification for our Corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia; Gold Certification for our Supply Chain headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia; Silver Certification for a UPS Supply Chain Solutions healthcare facility in Louisville, Kentucky; and Certification for a small package facility in Queens, New York. We also have a facility in Southampton, U.K. that has been BREEAM-certified excellent.

In addition, UPS currently has five facilities that have received Energy Star® certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These include our Corporate headquarters and Global Business Services facility in Atlanta, Georgia; our Supply Chain Solutions headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia; and our Global Operations center and Air Group building in Louisville, Kentucky.

We continually evaluate new technologies to reduce energy consumption in existing facilities. Our campaign to upgrade light fixtures to LED technology is one example. We identified 100 of our highest energy-usage facilities in the U.S. and began upgrading light fixtures in these facilities to LED lights in 2014. We further advanced this program in 2015 by identifying an additional 100 facilities and beginning the process to upgrade these light fixtures. We expect to save more than 32 million kilowatt-hours per year when all upgrades are complete.