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 2018 IPC Postal Sector Sustainability Report analyses data reported for the 2017 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 acomprehensive 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 2017 reporting year, 20 participants submitted data to the EMMS programme. Please read the full 2018 report for more information on the EMMS programme participants.

The future EMMS programme: advancing the postal sector’s contribution to sustainable development

Since our launch in 2008, we have seen the global sustainability agenda evolve in response to shifting development trends, marked by significant events such as the adoption of both the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainability Goals (SDGs) in 2015. With this in mind, in 2017, IPC conducted internal and external stakeholder research to identify which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are most relevant to the global postal industry.

Together, our stakeholders and participants identified the following five UN SDGs:

  • 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

Each UN SDG has several sub-targets associated with the overall Goal. The content of the targets can vary widely, and so we asked our participants to rank the targets associated with each UN SDG, to identify those most relevant to the sector. Following the ranking exercise and further collaboration and discussions with participants – for example, at the annual Sustainability Workshop – the group agreed on five UN SDG-related priority areas on which to focus our future programme:

  1. Inclusive work
  2. Resource efficiency
  3. Waste management and air quality
  4. Procurement
  5. Climate change mitigation and adaptation