A reflection on the cultural shifts revealed in our changing supply chains, and the return of the milkman delivery model.

UPS Horizons
Sustainability Insights and Updates | February 2019
Montreal Automation

Tamara Barker

Coming Full Circle

By Tamara Barker
UPS Chief Sustainability Officer and VP of Environmental Affairs

A reflection on the cultural shifts revealed in our changing supply chains, and what's coming up next.

When I joined UPS nearly 31 years ago, UPS's operations were still powered by a significant amount of manual processes. It's hard to comprehend how we accomplished the global movement of goods without the technology that is now so deeply embedded in our business.

With technology enriching the possibilities for complex data management, supply chains are evolving as well. UPS is part of this evolution, creating leading edge approaches for our business customers, developing solutions for reverse logistics and returns management, and increasingly, finding ways to support the circular economy.

As business processes continue to evolve, our individual roles are changing as well. Companies are increasingly taking a stand on core principles such as ethical business behavior and the well-being of customers and communities. Consumers have become active, direct participants in supply chains, choosing how, where and when goods move. And all of this is being played out online in real time, with consumers connecting directly with companies to share expectations, kudos, and concerns.

The age of technology has created a new level of transparency. As an engineer focused on sustainability, this pleases me. UPS has been measuring, managing and mitigating since the company was founded. We're using the vast amounts of data we collect to help business customers increase efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. We're helping non-profit and government organizations create better cities. We're using what we've learned to build new approaches to disaster preparedness and response, creating life-saving and life-improving solutions. And we're sharing what we know, because we believe we have the responsibility to collaborate to build a better world.

You're welcome to share your thoughts: sustainability@ups.com.


Kate Gutmann

Why the Milkman Model Is the Future of Consumption

By Kate Gutmann
UPS Chief Sales and Solutions Officer

A cultural shift is changing how businesses operate – and interact with customers.

This seismic change was on full display at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where I participated in a thought-provoking event on the future of consumer goods.

Put simply: We saw the power of the circular economy in action. And we saw that what's old is new again.

I’ll explain.

We announced there our participation in a coalition of the world's largest consumer product companies, led by international recycling leader TerraCycle. Together, we unveiled an innovative new system designed to reduce single-use product packaging.

Known as Loop™, this breakthrough system provides consumers with direct delivery of a variety of products. The packages arrive not in a cardboard box — but in a customized, durable tote that can be reused again and again.

The products are designed for delivery, then collected, cleaned, refilled and redelivered. It's an exciting step toward reducing the use of disposable packaging and cardboard boxes.

TerraCycle is launching a pilot program in New York and Paris to fine tune efforts before wider deployment.

This is a creative solution helping to shape how consumer goods companies interact with customers. This new system positions customers as partners in reducing package waste and shows the power of innovation to move us closer to a greener future.

You can see the full-length version of this story here.

Sealed Air

Featured Stories
We chose a few favorites from our Longitudes blog for you

E-Tailers: Don't Make Reverse Logistics an Afterthought

Dan Healey, Director of Sustainability for Sealed Air's Product Care division
The return process is now so important that many online customers consider an e-tailer's returns policy before placing an order. Companies that don't offer a simple way to send products back lose business… Read more

4 Ways Cities Can Build More Climate-Resilient Neighborhoods

Lauretta Burke, Senior Associate at World Resources Institute Lubaina Rangwala. Managing Associate at WRI India’s Sustainable Cities Centre
Urban planners too often exclude those must vulnerable to the dangers of climate change. Here's how to make the dialogue more inclusive… Read more

Giving After Disasters

Eduardo Martinez, President of The UPS Foundation and UPS's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, spoke with Harvard Business Review about how the company maximizes the benefits of its work.
Strategic philanthropy helps a company's reputation and brand, but if you really want to mobilize an organization, you need to go further… Read more


Here are a few highlights to keep you up-to-date

UPS Launches Women's Economic Empowerment Partnership with USAID

A new collaboration between UPS and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) seeks to promote women's economic empowerment and improve women entrepreneurs' ability to export… Read more

UPS Advances Global Road Safety With Landmark Public-Private Call To Action At World Economic Forum

The initiative commenced in 2018 with a pilot project to establish a Road Safety Partnership for India (RSPI), where more than 10 percent of the world's road traffic fatalities take place. It now expands to a global scope, with particular emphasis on low- and middle-income countries… Read more

UPS Achieves Prestigious Spot On CDP’s Climate Change “A” List

Every year, thousands of companies disclose data about their environmental impacts, risks and opportunities to CDP. UPS is part of an elite group leading corporate climate action efforts… Read more
Innovations and Collaborations

Not On My Route: 96,000 UPS Drivers Trained to Spot Human Trafficking

UPS joined forces with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), a Colorado-based nonprofit whose mission is to train drivers on how to recognize the signs of sex trafficking, whom to call, what to do, and, importantly, what not to do. Here’s how you can help, too… Read more.
Here's Where You'll Find Us


PHOENIX | GreenBiz19

Join Crystal Lassiter, UPS Senior Director of Global Sustainability in a workshop exploring “the electrification of everything.”
Join Quint Marini, UPS Package Engineering Manager, as he unpacks packaging innovations that are changing the market.


LONDON | Economist Sustainability Summit

Join Peter Harris, UPS Europe Director of Sustainability, as he shares UPS’s vision for the future of city logistics.


SAN FRANCISCO | Ceres Conference 2019

Scott Phillippi, UPS Sr. Director of Corporate Automotive Engineering, will share how the company's fleet electrification strategy is advancing UPS’s renewable energy goals.

In Case You Missed It

WEBINAR | How Circular Thinking is Transforming Sustainable E-Commerce

Crystal Lassiter, UPS Senior Director of Global Sustainability, and Ann Starodaj, Sr. Director of Sustainability at Optoro, share how we're combining global logistics expertise and the world's leading reverse logistics platform to help retailers manage returned and excess inventory. You'll find the recording here.

This publication was created to bring you sustainability insights and stories that we hope will inspire you. A new issue will be provided every few months. We welcome your comments and ideas. Drop us a line: sustainability@ups.com.
"Our horizon is as distant as our mind's eye wishes it to be."
~ Jim Casey, UPS Founder and CEO, 1954
Get the latest sustainability insights and stories delivered right to your inbox.

Subscribe Now