Delivering some 430 billion letters and 6 billion parcels worldwide each year, the vast network of post offices – employing nearly 6 million people – must urgently rethink the way it does business to reduce its carbon footprint and change its patterns of energy consumption, the head of the United Nations postal agency said today.
“Operating over 600,000 postal establishments and as many vehicles makes it is a significant producer of greenhouse gas,” said Universal Postal Union (UPU) Director General Edouard Dayan in a message for World Post Day, celebrated annually on 9 October, the day the UPU was founded in 1874.
“The world postal sector cannot stand aside and do nothing,” stressed Mr. Dayan. “Like other organizations, we must look seriously at ways of becoming climate neutral.”
The UPU has launched an initiative to measure the industry's carbon footprint to be presented at the high-level UN climate change conference at the end of the year in Copenhagen aimed at finalizing a deal on global greenhouse gas emissions to take effect when the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
After presenting its findings, UPU hopes to propose industry-wide measures for reducing the postal service's carbon footprint.
“On World Post Day 2009, I call on all members of the postal family to think more carefully about the environmental impact of our activities,” said Mr. Dayan. “In this time of financial and economic crisis, sound management of environmental issues can be a significant driving force for growth.”
Mr. Dayan said that in taking up the challenge of “green” growth, businesses can modify their logistics chain processes, improve their efficiency, plan long-term energy-saving measures, develop new products and services that are less harmful to the environment – and therefore more attractive to customers – and project a responsible image.
“We urge you to go further by firmly committing to the UN's 'Let's Seal the Deal' campaign,” he said, referring to the online scheme attempting to harness the support of individuals, businesses, community groups and other organizations for the signing of a new international treaty in Copenhagen.
“The UPU will not fail to make the voice of the postal sector heard at this conference; make your voice heard too by signing the online petition – and take every opportunity to urge your staff and customers to do the same.”
At a ceremony at UPU Headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, marking both World Post Day and the centenary of the agency’s landmark monument – depicted on its emblem – commemorative stamps were unveiled portraying the sculpture and its creator, René de Saint-Marceaux.