"Green" Shipping Practices

August 1, 2010
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Recognizing industry's desire to seek and adopt sustainable practices, UPS has launched a number of initiatives to help shipments become more environmentally friendly. For example, UPS' Eco Responsible Packaging Program provides assessments of shipment packaging based on environmental standards. Under this program, UPS evaluates a company's packaging processes in three areas of sustainability: damage prevention, right-sizing and packaging materials. UPS scores the results, and those companies that meet the requirements can display the program's logo on their shipment packaging.

Responsible packaging begins with protecting the contents; damaged goods not only frustrate customers but often lead to the need to remanufacture and reship, doubling the carbon footprint. Shrinking the size of the box means less material is used and fewer assets are needed to transport the package. Finally, using packing and shipping materials with a more sustainable profile is important for the environment.

UPS' assessment methodology and processes have been verified by Soci‚t‚ G‚n‚rale de Surveillance (SGS), an inspection, verification, testing, and certification company. The service has also been praised by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR).

"Our engineers have always directed our customers to use the right kind of packaging to protect their goods," said Bob Stoffel, senior vice president of Engineering, Strategy, Supply Chain and Sustainability. "This service gives our customers a new way to demonstrate that they are serious about sustainability when it comes to shipment packaging."

The evaluation will assess companies' transport packaging systems and procedures, rather than product packaging found on retail shelves. The contractual-based service is available to companies that commit to sustainable packaging solutions.

"Embedding environmental evaluation in day-to-day packaging decisions is a critical step to improving the stewardship and conservation of valuable resources for the future," said Anne Johnson, director of the SPC. "UPS brings an unprecedented scale to assessing the environmental impacts of transport packaging systems, and their Eco-Responsible Packaging Program will raise awareness and continually inform more resource-efficient and, ultimately, recoverable transport packaging systems."

Pickup Options

UPS also recently announced a new "green" pickup option for small- to medium-sized businesses. Part of UPS' Decision Green(r) efforts, Smart PickupSM is designed for companies that want the convenience of a scheduled pickup but may not ship a package every day.

This new service uses UPS technology to ensure that a UPS driver stops at a location to pick up a package only when a package is, in fact, being shipped. The service is expected to eliminate 8 million miles from the total driven by UPS each year in the U.S. and will save an estimated 793,000 gal of fuel and 7800 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

"Before UPS Smart Pickup, UPS would often arrive at a customer's location only to discover that the customer had no packages for pickup that day," said David Barnes, chief information officer. "For the first time, a UPS service integrates the company's operational and customer-facing technology to eliminate unnecessary stops. UPS Smart Pickup is particularly compelling for customers who are interested in cost-effective ways to make environmentally responsible choices, while at the same time helping UPS reduce miles and lessen our carbon footprint."

A customer uses a UPS shipping system, such as UPS WorldShip(r) 2010, UPS CampusShip(r) or UPS Internet Shipping, to process a package prior to a predetermined cutoff time. That shipping system then communicates with internal operations systems at UPS to notify drivers via their wireless, handheld computers that a pickup is required. The result is that a pickup is only scheduled when a customer processes a package in a UPS shipping system.

For additional details, visit www.ups.com/ecoresponsible or www.ups.com/pickupoptions.

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