EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘Chinese pledge raises hopes of climate compromise‘:

The UN has already lowered expectations of COP 16 negotiations to rock bottom, and while only the most optimistic would expect a deal to emerge from Cancún, the fundamental imperatives underlying the urgency to adopt more sustainable economies have not gone away, nor can we afford to be lured into thinking they have.

In the face of the inability of negotiators to develop a common global approach, industry has been filling the void and providing leadership. The postal industry was the first services industry – and one of the very few sectors worldwide – to have adopted an industry-wide, concerted approach to reducing its carbon footprint, setting an industry target of a 20% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 based on 2008 figures.

Underscoring this initiative is a fundamental belief that only by working together transparently to achieve joint objectives can we make any progress in delivering on climate change. The results of collaboration speak for themselves: under the auspices of the International Post Corporation’s independently-audited Environmental Monitoring and Measurement System (EMMS), 20 postal operators representing some 80% of global postal volumes have managed to cut 597,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in just one year.

IPC is working for greater industry collaboration, and Österreichische Post and Poste Italiane have recently joined the programme.

The lack of political progress is, simply put, down to the inability of nations to work with one another, with the major fault-line splitting developed and developing economies.

Negotiators could take inspiration from the pragmatic approach the postal industry has taken in engaging carriers across the globe, irrespective of size or wealth, in tackling emissions. An entry-level scheme allows posts in developing countries and emerging economies that may not have the resources to participate in the full programme to nonetheless contribute however they can, and allows all postal services to share learnings and best practices to the benefit of the industry as a whole.

We are also eager to share our experience and tools with other industries ready to make the commitment to reduce emissions.

It is imperative that governments in their drive to slash budgets to reduce deficits do not disincentivise business investments in green technologies, and we very much support UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent call not to sacrifice green investments on the altar of austerity.

The postal business has long been dependent on extensive carbon-intensive infrastructures and operates probably the largest vehicle fleet in the world, estimated at 500,000 including trucks and planes, but it is marking the long-term capital investments to convert away, wherever possible, from carbon-intensive processes to less environmentally-damaging solutions. Just because the challenge is daunting does not mean we can shy away from it.

Industries like the postal sector can and have already taken the lead. They would benefit from a global political framework on climate change that would make their efforts all the more impactful. Governments need to set that framework. It’s time for the negotiators to catch up where industry has led.

Herbert Michael Zapf

CEO

International Post Corporation

Dag Mejdell

Chairman of the Board, International Post Corporation; CEO, Norway Post

International Post Corporation
Avenue du Bourget 44
1130 Brussels
Belgium
Contact:
Herbert-Michael.Zapf@ipc.be
George Candon, Head of Communications, Tel. +32 (0)4 77 53 00 40

About the International Post Corporation:
The International Post Corporation (IPC) is the cooperative association of 24 member postal operators in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. IPC develops technology systems that bring transparency to the mail processing system and delivery chain and drive improvements in the quality of mail services. IPC engages in industry research, creates business intelligence for its members, and provides a range of platforms for member CEOs and senior management to share best practices, discuss strategy and engage with third-party thought-leaders from industry, think tanks and academia. IPC also manages the system for incentive-based payments between postal operators. For more information on the International Post Corporation visit www.ipc.be.

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