UPS Drives 1 Billion Cleaner Miles, Achieves Goal One Year Early02/08/2016
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UPS’s 14th annual Sustainability Report provides a comprehensive update on the company’s sustainability efforts, including an announcement that the company has achieved its goal of driving 1 billion miles in its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet one year earlier than planned.
“We had a big sustainability goal as we set out to make the most of our rolling laboratory by driving 1 billion clean miles in alternative fuel vehicles – that’s the equivalent of well over 4,000 trips to the moon,” said David Abney, Chairman and CEO, UPS. “While attaining this goal is new, our commitment to seeking out alternative fuels actually dates back to the 1930s when UPS tested electric vehicles. With more than 100,000 drivers logging more than 3 billion miles per year, our future depends on our ability to meet the growing demand for global trade while reducing our impact on the environment.”
Recognizing alternative fuels and advanced technologies each have unique advantages depending on the routes and geographies in which they are used, UPS deploys the more than 7,200 vehicles in the rolling lab to determine what works best in each situation. About 12 percent of the conventional diesel and gasoline fuel previously used by UPS’s ground fleet is now being replaced by alternative fuels including renewable natural gas and renewable diesel. UPS is putting sustainability innovation into action, all over the world.
“The question wasn’t should we make alternative fuels work?” said Mike Whitlatch, UPS’s vice president of global energy and procurement. “Instead, it was ’What’s the best way to make alternative fuels work for UPS, and for the environment?’ After more than a decade of focus, we are now driving more than 1 million miles globally each business day in our alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet.”
Along the way, UPS learned several lessons that can help other companies make sustainability investments that create long-term payoffs:
- Encourage innovation. What started out as an “approach” has become an ecosystem of innovation and progress shaped by collaboration with suppliers, policy makers and other stakeholders. UPS applied its expertise in logistics to the sustainability challenge and leveraged the scale of its 100,000 vehicle fleet to drive technology, market, and infrastructure improvements that make cleaner fuels and technologies economically viable.
- Adapt and tailor the solution. The best solution is not always the perfect solution. Technology constraints, range, infrastructure availability, government policies and local air quality goals all play a role in determining vehicle deployment and fuel selection.
- There’s no substitute for real-world big data. UPS is able to see 30,000 delivery route optimizations per minute through its On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (ORION) system, which uses fleet telematics and algorithms to reduce the number of miles driven. The application of this big data approach to the UPS Rolling Lab’s fleet has been a key enabler to improving performance and reducing costs.
- It takes consistent, unwavering commitment from leadership. Long-term investments don’t always pay off in the short term. Economic and market forces are constantly changing, and the political environment that is necessary to foster investment and infrastructure development can be unpredictable. It took UPS more than a decade to reach a point where the accumulation of miles driven by its fleet was rising nearly exponentially.
- Partner, promote and report progress. Sharing progress and learnings with key stakeholders and partnering with alternative fuel and technology developers, non-profits, government agencies and industry trade groups have been critical to the Rolling Laboratory’s success. UPS reports its progress annually in its Sustainability Report, which demonstrates the positive impact of the company’s sustainability and social responsibility programs.
UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. UPS is committed to operating more sustainably – for customers, the environment and the communities we serve around the world. Learn more about our efforts at ups.com/sustainability. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the web at ups.com® and its corporate blog can be found at longitudes.ups.com. To get UPS news direct, visit pressroom.ups.com/RSS.
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