IPC is working to systematically address the impacts of global climate change and collaborating to reduce carbon emissions across the sector through the IPC EMMS programme. We believe that through the knowledge sharing and positive action, the entire postal industry will be able to lower its environmental impacts, thereby addressing stakeholder concerns about its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

The IPC EMMS programme was rolled out in 2009, capturing data and progress for the 2008 calendar and financial reporting year. IPC and the participating member posts set as their goals an ambitious challenge to cut the global postal sector’s carbon emissions by 20%, and to continue our expansion of the global postal sustainability programme to extend its impact as widely as possible across the world. In 2014, participating posts achieved the collective target of a 20% carbon emissions reduction, six years ahead of schedule.

In 2014, a new target was introduced for the group to achieve a 20% reduction in carbon emissions  per letter mail and per parcel by 2025, from a 2013 baseline.

The current EMMS programme

IPC’s Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS) programme is a sector wide initiative acting to mitigate the impacts of global climate change via a collaborative approach to reduce carbon emissions. The EMMS programme was developed in 2008 in response to stakeholder and CEO requests for the postal sector to minimise its carbon footprint. This followed concerns regarding the contribution of the sector to greenhouse gas emissions. The EMMS programme is a global initiative, consisting of 20 participants from five continents – Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, North and South America. The 2017 IPC Postal Sector Sustainability Report analyses data reported for the 2016 calendar year.

Following a pilot in 2008, the full EMMS programme was launched in 2009, capturing data and measuring progress for the 2008 calendar year. In line with the programme’s aim to reduce carbon emissions across the sector, IPC and the programme’s original 20 participating posts together set two ambitious targets to be achieved collectively by the EMMS group by 2020 (from the 2008 baseline year):

  • To achieve a score of at least 90% in carbon management proficiency
  • To reduce combined carbon emissions from own operations by 20%

The group reached the 20% emissions reduction target in 2014, six years ahead of schedule. Nonetheless, further progress on absolute carbon emissions reductions beyond the 20% target will still be reported until 2020. Meanwhile, recognising participants’ continuous improvement in carbon efficiency, a new Science Based Target was introduced for the group in 2014, which broadened the scope of the EMMS programme to include outsourced transport:

  • To achieve a 20% reduction in carbon emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3 – outsourced transport) per letter mail and per parcel by 2025, from a 2013 baseline year

The underlying principle of the EMMS programme is that significant, systematic, and sustainable carbon emissions reductions can only be achieved through a comprehensive approach to carbon management. The programme provides a common carbon measurement and reporting structure that enables participants to share their carbon and environmental management strategies, performance, and achievements.

There are multiple stages of data collection involved in the EMMS process. The first stage is a qualitative section, which requires participants to complete a comprehensive self-assessment Carbon Management Proficiency questionnaire. Ten management pillars are considered, including Policy and Procedures, Activity, Measurement and Verification, and Targets. The next stage of the process is the quantitative section, which requires participants to report carbon emissions and other operational data in order to measure carbon efficiency and thereby assess the efficacy of participants’ carbon management systems.

In the 2016 reporting year, 20 participants submitted data to the EMMS programme. Please read the full 2017 report for more information on the EMMS programme participants.

The future EMMS programme: looking to 2020 and beyond

IPC’s EMMS programme was developed following extensive stakeholder engagement in 2008. This exercise aimed to improve IPC’s understanding of best practice carbon management among global companies, and to establish expectations for postal companies’ carbon management proficiency. The global sustainability agenda has evolved markedly since that point, underscored by recent developments including the adoption in 2015 of both the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such, stakeholder priorities are likely to have changed, necessitating a reassessment of their opinions. IPC therefore commissioned Verisk Maplecroft, an independent global risk analytics and advisory firm, to undertake a survey to ascertain the opinion of key stakeholders regarding the future direction of IPC’s sustainability strategy. Moreover, with the EMMS programme now in its eighth year, and with one of the programme’s key targets already achieved, feedback was also sought on the performance of the programme to date.

Between December 2016 and March 2017, 40 global stakeholders (including customers, suppliers, subcontractors, and NGOs) were asked for their opinion on:

  • The performance and achievements of the current EMMS programme
  • The postal sector’s sustainability performance in comparison to other sectors
  • Their expectations for the sustainability performance of the postal sector
  • The Sustainable Development Goals they deem most relevant for the postal sector
  • The future strategy and direction of IPC’s sustainability programme

Further information and a discussion of the results of the stakeholder research exercise can be found in the ‘Aligning the EMMS programme’s evolution with the SDGs’ section.