This piece was contributed by Elba Pareja-Gallagher
Director Stakeholder Engagement, UPS
Elba is a finance and strategy professional with 20+ years of experience at UPS. She’s held roles in Finance, investor Relations, Marketing and Strategy. Most recently, she has joined the Sustainability team as Director
For more information, head to her LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/elbapareja/
As Earth Day rolls around again, it’s a natural time to think about how your business can be eco-friendlier. By doing so, you not only help the environment but improve your brand perception and bottom line. According to a recent study, 77% of consumers say it’s important that the brands they buy from be sustainable and environmentally responsible. You can start by looking at how you ship. Here are four tips to help reduce your carbon footprint and make your shipping practices more sustainable.
Make Sure Your Box is Just Right
When it comes to choosing a box, think of Goldilocks. You are looking for one that’s not too big or too small, but just the right size for what you’re shipping. If the box is too big, you’re wasting resources. It’s also taking up more space on the delivery vehicles, adding to your carbon footprint. And your product can shift around more, which could cause damage. Similarly, too small of a box and any shock during delivery can also damage merchandise instead of only impacting the outer shipping box.” That means more returns and exchanges for you, and added impact to the environment with extra shipments.
Choose Recyclable and Reusable Packaging
It’s easy to use and reuse cardboard boxes for shipping. But they can also lose their structural integrity quickly if creased or dented. To keep your products from getting damaged and returned, make sure the boxes you ship with are in good shape. And encourage your customers to recycle the box when they’re done with it. If you’re mostly shipping documents, try reusable envelopes that your customers can use for shipping back to you. An affordable and sustainable option is an UPS Reusable Express Envelope which is made with 100% recycled fiber. So you can use, reuse, and then recycle it.
Use Packing Materials Over and Over
Unlike boxes, packing materials can be used again and again for your shipments, making them very eco-friendly. If you’re shipping lightweight items, choose reusable materials like packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and plastic air pillows. If you ever have more foam packing peanuts than you need, contact The UPS Store® location near you. Many locations will collect clean foam peanuts for reuse. You can also switch to biodegradable packing peanuts made of corn starch or wheat that easily dissolve when no longer needed.
Choose a Shipping Partner that Cares About Sustainability
Make sure the carrier you choose also has environmental responsibility woven into their business plan. For example, UPS started using electric vehicles for deliveries as early as 1933. Today, there are thousands of alternative fuel vehicles in the company’s fleet, helping to reduce the carbon footprint. Plus, UPS is constantly working to optimize routes, ensuring the most efficient delivery possible. To help businesses like yours lower your environmental impact, UPS offers an array of useful services that help customers decrease their carbon footprint:
Working smarter, not harder
The most sustainable mile is the one that is never driven. UPS’s award-winning On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation platform, known as ORION, provides drivers with the most efficient route for deliveries and pickups on more than 66,000 routes in the United States, Canada, and Europe. UPS enhanced ORION with Dynamic Optimization, which recalculates individual package delivery routes throughout the day as traffic conditions, pickup commitments, and delivery orders change. Annual savings generated from ORION include: 100 million miles, 10 million gallons of fuel, and 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Increasing sustainability and convenience
Save time and trips out with flexible drop-off options. Packages can easily be dropped off at The UPS Store® locations more than 5,300 convenient locations. You can also take advantage of the UPS Access Point® network. The amount of flexibility and sheer number of locations for dropping off your pre-labeled packages, including grocers and convenience stores near you, or trusted retail locations like Michaels, CVS or Advance Auto Parts, makes shipping with UPS both more convenient and more sustainable.
Rerouting and rescheduling deliveries
UPS My Choice® works hand-in-hand with the UPS Access Point® network, allowing your customers to reroute their packages to an Access Point® location for safe, convenient pickup, and allows them to reschedule deliveries. All of which saves the delivery vehicle extra stops and wasted fuel.
As ecommerce continues to rise, your business will likely create more shipments. But with a little planning and the right shipping partner, you can lower your carbon footprint and have a positive impact on the environment.