participating posts from around the globe in the SMMS Programme
focus areas, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals
percent reduction in total SMMS group carbon emissions since 2008
The postal sector is committed to serving its customers while mitigating its environmental and social impacts worldwide. As operators of over half a million vehicles, thousands of buildings, and employing a workforce of more than 1.3 million, posts have considerable opportunities to make positive contributions to both people and the planet. To drive continuous progress on our ambitious sustainability goals, we have developed a common measurement and reporting programme – the Sustainability Measurement and Management System (SMMS).

The IPC Sustainability Measurement and Management System (SMMS) was launched in 2019 to address the sustainability objectives of the postal sector for the next ten years, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It expands on the 2009-2019 Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS) programme, which focused on reducing carbon emissions, and broadens the remit to the seven sustainability focus areas most relevant for the postal sector:
Health and safety 
Learning and development 
Resource efficiency
Climate change
Air quality
Circular economy
Sustainable procurement

The new system has been launched after the achievement of the targets set in 2008 in the Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS). The EMMS was developed in 2008 in response to stakeholder and postal CEO requests for the postal sector to minimise its carbon footprint. A global initiative, involving 19 participants from four continents – Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and North America - the programme provided a common carbon measurement and reporting structure that enabled participants to share their carbon and environmental management strategies, performance, and achievements.

In 2008, EMMS participants set two targets to reach collectively by 2020:

  • to achieve a score of at least 90% in Carbon Management Proficiency (CMP)
  • to reduce combined carbon emissions from own operations by 20%.

After achieving the emissions target in 2014, a new intensity reduction target was set:

  • to reduce total carbon emissions per letter mail and per parcel by 20% by 2025.

This target focused on delivery efficiency, and has also broadened the scope of the EMMS programme to include outsourced transport. It was approved by the Science Based Target (SBT) initiative. The 2020 CMP target was achieved in 2018.

Now, the group is looking beyond carbon in the expanded SMMS programme, aligning their focus areas with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

More information on the sector results of the Sustainability Measurement and Management System (SMMS) can be found under the Group Results section.



  • Posts benefit from a common third-party audited sustainability measurement and reporting system, including for carbon emissions. This provides additional verification of sustainability data, as well insight into data capture, management and processing – particularly useful for newer areas of reporting. Furthermore, each post is individually audited every two to three years, thereby providing additional opportunity for posts to further improve the effectiveness of their processes, and the quality and transparency of their reporting.
  • Posts receive a personalised summary of annual performance and tailored recommended improvement actions, in the form of company Scorecard, Assessment and Sector Scorecard.
  • Access to Sustainability Webinars (3-4 per year) and the annual Sustainability Workshop, which includes presentations by external speakers, best practice sharing, breakout sessions on relevant sector topics, and discussion of results and plans, as well as networking. Participants also receive access to White Papers (3-4 per year) on key evolving sustainability issues facing the industry, with topics driven by members.
  • Through best-practice sharing at numerous events, workshops and webinars, posts learn from each other and continue to make improvements. The programme provides a benchmark against which posts can measure progress and strategies against other leading postal operators, including insights into how to improve sustainability performance. The SMMS offers posts the opportunity to engage with employees through international initiatives such as the IPC Drivers’ Challenge.
  • Posts receive site visits (or virtual meetings) with IPC in order to discuss progress and questions on sustainability issues, related to both the programme and also company-specific initiatives.
  • It also provides a platform from which to share and celebrate progress against sustainability goals, and a public commitment to reducing environmental and social impacts.


More information

To find out more about the IPC Sustainability Measurement and Management System, contact: [email protected].