As the UPS Archivist, I spend a lot of time researching documents that reveal our history and the stories of our people.
So in my search through the UPS Archives – while looking for something else I might add – I came across this document from 1933 asking for the funds for three new “Gould Batteries for two ton Walker Electric Trucks.” These new batteries were to replace three “very old and almost useless” batteries in package cars that were serving in New York City at the time.
Every year just in time for the holiday season, Climate Counts prepares a shopping guide to help environmentally-conscious consumers support companies who “get it” in terms of climate change. To make it really convenient, the guide is now available on a free iPhone app as well as online.
One of my favorite parts of being on UPS’s “green team” is learning how our customers are embracing sustainability. Geiger is one of the nation’s leading promotional products companies that is deep into the peak buying season for corporate holiday gifts They tell me the hottest items this year are eco-friendly products featuring biodegradable and renewable materials, organic or recycled content, and energy-friendly and hand-powered items. And starting this month, all of their shipments will be sent UPS carbon neutral.
When I wanted to see what makes UPS’s new hydraulic hybrid vehicle (HHV) special, I just had to look down. At its ignition ceremony on October 11 in Laurel, MD marking the delivery of the HHVs, there were mirrors on the ground to reflect the image of the new package delivery truck’s energy-saving system. People could inspect this alternative fuel vehicle’s (AFV) workings up close without donning a pair of coveralls and sliding underneath. Personally, I was glad for that convenience.
I want my son to grow up in a world that has everything I had and more. Gabriel is three years old right now, so he cannot choose what world he grows up to. You and I make that choice for him. That is why I try to promote actions to help the environment both at work, at home and in the community.
When I was in Europe, I was initially taken back by how COMPACT the compact cars were. They seemed to fit in any parking space and could zip in and out traffic. Those small cars would definitely work in South Philly, but they didn’t seem to hold much. What’s a girl to do with a big shopping list in the Italian Market? Could there be something small with cargo space? And if I’m wishing, could it also be stylish and eco-friendly?
Well, hello Germany!
Downtown Dortmund has new wheels in its neighborhood. UPS Germany is conducting a pilot test of its electrically assisted cycle, known as the Cargo Cruiser. The trial will help determine if this alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) is an ecologically and economically viable choice for deliveries to urban areas.
For a long time, the term “carbon offsetting” sounded to me like vague corporate speak. I had little or no idea what it really meant, and struggled to understand it. But when our video team at UPS was tasked with producing a video project centered around carbon offsetting at the Garcia River Forest, I finally had something tangible to (forgive the tree-hugging pun) “put my arms around.”
It suddenly seemed incredibly simple. Our carbon offset program at UPS is used to support projects such as the forestry efforts at Garcia River, and the trees in the Garcia River Forest suck carbon dioxide from the environment. At last, we had something visual – and real – to help tell the very non-visual story of what carbon offsetting actually is, and does.
I’ve learned a lot in the six months that I’ve been with UPS. One of the first is that around UPS, sustainability is a pretty big deal. As someone who loves escaping out to the Rockies for the beautiful camping and hiking, I was pleased to see the great sustainability programs we offer like carbon neutral shipping, and the emission offset projects we support like Big River Salmon Creek, Cholburi Wastewater Treatment, and the beautiful Garcia River Forest Project.
Seeing these projects got me thinking: with all the conservation opportunities available worldwide, how do we as a company decide what offset projects to support? Luckily, one of the other things I’ve learned during my time here is that there is no shortage of seriously knowledgeable people, so I knocked on a few doors and got the answers.
I’m not a tree hugger. Nor am I a scientist. I’m a conservationist and a marketer, and as of seven weeks ago, a mom. I was raised with a strong appreciation for nature, and I know how glorious it feels to hike up to a clearing to watch the sea mist roll in across the redwood forest at sunset. The sustainability and communication teams at UPS know this too. We shared a chilly sunset during a recent video shoot at The Conservation Fund’s 24,000-acre Garcia River Forest along California’s north coast.
We visited with foresters, ecologists and loggers, and witnessed firsthand that you don’t have to be an environmentalist to appreciate nature, or to understand the vast changes to the landscape we’ve experienced recently. Over the past several decades, millions of acres of forests have given way to homes and roads to support a growing global population. Forest loss has been hard on wildlife and our climate, accounting for nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But there are positive changes as well. Companies like UPS have changed the way they do business to measure and then reduce their impact on the planet. Customers can make a difference too.
Whether it’s saving 83,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions, achieving a net reduction in domestic energy use at United States facilities, or expanding the deployment of telematics technology to eliminate more than 98 million minutes of engine idling time, Scott Wicker knows a thing or two about ensuring that UPS’s integrated network is the most efficient it can be.
“Ten years ago, UPS began to construct its first Corporate Sustainability Report. Back then, the effort was seminal, championed by a small group of individuals who saw the connection between UPS’s behind-the-scenes efforts at serving the community and operating well with the emerging stakeholder cry for more transparency about business’s impact on society,” explains Wicker, UPS’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, who took the sustainability reins in 2011.