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
On this page, you will find a summary of the methodology and results for SMMS 2023 (reporting on performance in 2022). Within each of the seven ‘Focus Area’ pages (linked above) we have explained in further detail how the group is performing on these issues and how progress is measured.
The aim of the SMMS is to continually measure the performance of the participants on an annual basis. As well as giving recommendations based on their position amongst the group and their adherence with the seven focus areas. The seven sustainability focus areas were decided upon following a two-year process involving research, consultation with internal and external stakeholders and multiple iterations. They are aligned with the following UN SDGs, identified by our stakeholders and SMMS participants as most relevant to the postal sector:
SDG 8 - Decent work and economic growth
SDG 9 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 - Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 - Climate action
As such, the SMMS programme is designed to increase the postal sector’s contribution to global sustainable development, focusing on the areas in which it can have the most impact.
The following 2030 sustainability targets were approved by the IPC board in 2020, following consultation of all participating postal organisations:
- Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction of 50% from the 2019 baseline of 6,014,000 tonnes (1),
- Energy use in own buildings from renewable sources of 75%,
- Vehicle fleet comprising at least 50% alternative fuel vehicles, with at least 25% of the total fleet to be electric vehicles,
- 50% sustainable packaging,
- 75% diversion of waste from landfill to either recycling or reuse.
In 2014 we set a Science Based Target (SBT) to achieve a 20% decrease in Scope 1, 2 and 3 (outsourced transport) emissions per letter/parcel by 2025. As of 2023 posts are still working towards this target. We are currently revisiting the SBT process to ensure that the group is aligned with the very latest climate science around meeting the Paris Agreement’s objectives of holding warming well below 2°C and striving for 1.5°C.
For eporting year 2022, we welcomed Pos Malaysia and Omniva to the SMMS programme, to bring the total of participating posts to 23: An Post, Austrian Post, Australian Postal Corp, bpost, Correos, Croatian Post, CTT Portugal Post, DHL Group, Le Groupe La Poste, New Zealand Post Group, Omniva, POST Luxembourg, Pos Malaysia, Poste Italiane, Posten Norge, Posti, PostNL, PostNord Denmark, PostNord Sweden, Royal Mail Group Ltd, South African Post Office, Swiss Post, United States Postal Service. Please see the Annex for further information on participation.
Reporting is undertaken annually on the preceding year’s results (i.e. the results published on 29 November 2023 are for performance in 2022). Each of the 23 participating posts is assessed through qualitative and quantitative elements:
Sustainability Management Proficiency (SMP) is measured qualitatively through a 150+ question survey. Overall SMP scores and Focus Area scores are given in percentages. We assess the following four core management pillars for each of the seven Focus Areas:
- Strategy & Policy: Effective sustainability strategies set clear goals and objectives, and a vision for the future. We encourage posts to develop tools that specifically address all of the issues identified as relevant for the postal sector, and so we assess this pillar for each Focus Area.
- Embedding: This pillar assesses the methods by which posts embed their strategies and policies on the sustainability issues within their organisations. Posts are asked questions on topics such as management systems, certifications, employee engagement, and external initiatives.
- Measurement & Evaluation: Data collection and verification is a central element of the SMMS programme. Posts are encouraged to develop data collection and coverage, to develop KPIs and use these in management decision making processes, to drive progress across the Focus Areas.
- Disclosure & Reporting: An increasingly important area of corporate sustainability, public disclosure is how the postal sector communicates its progress and demonstrates transparency to stakeholders. We encourage posts to report against as many indicators as possible, via a range of public platforms and to provide details of methodologies, in line with reporting best practice, such as GRI guidelines.
In the SMP, year-on-year restatements are not backdated into previous year’s submissions. Each year, the group’s overall score is calculated as an average of all participants’ submissions. We also presume that new participants would have made progress on the seven focus areas outside the SMMS programme. Therefore, the influence of new posts joining the programme is judged to have no material impact on the group score in previous years.
In the Sustainability Performance Indicators (SPI) Tool, participants submit data on topics such as electricity use, carbon emissions, destination of waste, and vehicle types. The posts submit data for all Focus Areas, apart from Sustainable Procurement, which is only assessed qualitatively. The data is then evaluated through multiple rounds of plausibility checks and supplementary evidence is reviewed, to ensure high levels of consistency. In addition, we ensure our data is accurate and credible through a third-party review from our external accountant, PwC, providing us with limited assurance on the set of SPI data outlined in the Results Summary table.
(1) The baseline was restated in 2023 to reflect Pos Malaysia and Omniva joining the SMMS programme, thereby allowing year-on-year trends to be directly comparable.