UPS: Sustainability Reporting Helps Find Efficient Ways to Do Business

Aug 2, 2018 3:00 PM ET

UPS, the global multinational package delivery company, has been producing a sustainability report since 2003, and was the first in their industry to issue a report with environmental, social and governance (ESG) information. For the company, sustainability reporting is a means to create more positive impacts in the industry, for its stakeholders and on the world.

Sustainability reporting is not something that UPS takes lightly. As Chief Sustainability Officer Tamara Barker explains: “Reporting and transparent disclosure provide us the opportunity to share with stakeholders where we are making progress and where we need to improve.”  

Through UPS’s sustainability reporting, ESG information is held to the same standards as the company’s financial information and assured by an external party. UPS continually evaluates sustainability priorities through regular materiality assessments, which ensures continued reporting on topics most important for stakeholders and the business. 

For example, in 2016, UPS conducted materiality assessments in its key business regions, which gave insights into local sustainability issues that would not have emerged in a global materiality assessment. One clear example of action resulting from these regional insights is the company’s focus on urban delivery solutions in cities around the world. Solutions include a zero-emissions delivery program with electrically assisted cargo tricycles, which has expanded to other parts of the world following a successful European pilot.  

These regional assessments helped inform UPS’s 2020 and 2025 sustainability goals, focused on workforce, community, and the environment. The most ambitious of these is a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across ground operations by 12 percent by 2025. This goal is supported by targets to purchase more alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, use lower carbon fuels, and increase renewable electricity in UPS facilities.  

With its 2017 Sustainability Report, UPS took a new approach to more effectively reach stakeholders and target audiences, resulting in splitting the Report into two sections that would provide different stakeholders with the information they are looking for. This new format includes:  

  • An interactive Progress Report aimed at customers, influencers and staff, with stories about sustainability at UPS in 2017, and 
  • An online GRI Content Index for investors, NGOs, policymakers and rating organizations, to easily access detail about management approaches, data, and policies.  

While these are two separate documents, information is cross-referenced and includes links to other relevant documents of the organization.  

In the end, as Tamara points out, “our aim with the new format is to reach stakeholders with the information most relevant and useful to them. We continue to use the reporting process to find more sustainable and efficient ways to do our business around the world.

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