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. Through improvements to this optimized network, we can begin to approach the possibility of a zero emission future.

Our Vision of a Zero-Emissions Energy Future

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, 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. Our ORION software stores 250 million addresses and specific locations with required delivery and pickup times, then uses that data to calculate the most efficient route for fuel and service.

In 2016, we completed deployment of ORION to 100 percent of U.S. routes targeted for implementation. Since beginning deployment in 2013, we have reduced the distance driven by our drivers by 210 million miles, achieving a 210,000 metric tonne cumulative reduction in CO2 emissions and realized annual cost savings of US$400 million. Now that ORION is fully deployed to these routes, we expect to see annual reductions of 100 million miles and 100,000 metric tonnes in CO2 emissions. The next generation of a dynamic real-time version of ORION will be deployed by 2019 to further reduce miles driven, fuel use, and CO2 emissions.

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 more than 21 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions by shifting delivery volume to the most efficient method. This includes from aircraft to truck, and shifting from truck to rail.

Facilities

Beyond our transportation network, the operation of more than 2,500 UPS facilities around the world offers opportunities to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions. We are committed to these reductions with a goal to source 25% of all facility electricity to be from renewable sources.

UPS has 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.

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.

Efficient Facilities

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 five facilities that have received LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council:

  • Platinum Certification for UPS Supply Chain Solutions headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Gold Certification for Corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Silver Certification for a UPS Supply Chain Solutions healthcare facility in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Silver Certification for a supply chain warehouse in Londonderry, New Hampshire
  • 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.