The Postal Industry: Forging a Pathway in Green Logistics
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This paper explores the extent to which the logistics sector contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption and the barriers to greening operations within this industry. Four case studies examined national postal operators around the world to assess their progress; Canada Post, United States Postal Service, Australia Post, and Royal Mail (U.K). Using a common template, these case studies looked specifically at greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption in both transportation and building operations. Evaluation was based on industry standards and expectations as set out by the 2016 International Post Corporation Sustainability Report and Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS) protocol. Conclusions were drawn based on the information provided in annual and sustainability reports and climate change policy and mitigation protocols in place for each postal operator. Although postal operators are making strides in improving transport and building operations, their reliance on fossil fuels for energy and the subsequent lock-in to internal combustion engines and the network externalities they have cultivated remain key barriers to greening this industry. Despite this, the postal sector appears to be engaged with the issues and is making improvements in greening its operations. However this engagement varies greatly and there seems to be more concern with financial viability, profit margins and reliability of service. In addition, the absence of an enforcing governing body within the logistics sector may be a why reason postal operators and private logistics firms have yet to make progress at a faster rate. Ultimately, more effort and growth is needed to transition to low-carbon operations in the global logistics industry.