SBTi verifies Royal Mail’s net-zero strategy

Royal Mail net-zero strategies

The British postal service and courier company has received the seal of approval from the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) for its net-zero plan. Royal Mail has plans to become a net-zero business by 2040, and their strategy includes 1.5 degrees Celcius goals to curb emissions up to 2030. 

About Royal Mail’s net zero plans

Royal Mail brought its net-zero target forward from 2050 to 2040 last year and shared a list of planned measures to drive decarbonisation. Some of these measures included self-generation solutions like zero-emission vehicles and vehicle efficiency technologies, but also investments in renewable electricity procurement. 

The SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard has commended the postal service for its 2040 plan. Their plan aligns with The Standard, launched in autumn 2021, which calls on businesses to minimise their absolute emissions across all scopes by a minimum of 90 percent by 2050 at the very latest. 

Royal Mail selected a 2020 baseline year to utilise for its 2040 target. The demand for postal services increased between 2020 and 2021 in the UK as stores were closed during lockdowns, and members of the public and businesses had to rely on products by post.

The Standard has also approved Royal Mail’s new 2030 emission targets, in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees Celcius trajectory. They have committed to cutting their Scope 1 (direct) emissions, and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by half between 2020 and 2030. The Royal Mail has also committed to a 25 percent reduction in absolute Scope 3 (indirect) emissions in the same timeframe. 

What impact could Royal Mail’s plans have? 

If Royal Mail can deliver these targets, the carbon footprint of every parcel the courier delivers will be less than one-quarter of the current levels by 2040. Currently, the average footprint of a parcel is 128 grams, and the postal service’s aim by 2040 is to have this be 50 grams. The company’s ‘feet on the street’ network of postwomen and men walk up to a billion steps daily to deliver the nation’s parcels and letters.

This helps to curb emissions already. The average emissions per parcel comes at 218 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per parcel, and their long-term target is to bring this down to 50 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per parcel. The verification by The Standard is an important step in Royal Mail’s decarbonisation journey.

They are aware they need to make further efforts and speed up the decarbonisation process of their business. The Standard is mobilising businesses across the globe. To this day, over 2,300 businesses have committed to producing a SBTi-verified net-zero plan. Some of the businesses under its belt include CVS, Thai Union, Schneider Electric, and Tesco.

Final thoughts 

The Standard’s most recent report shared that the increase in the number of companies setting verified standards worldwide has increased by 87 percent each year. The uptake of the Standards is particularly strong in the UK and is allowing businesses to drive wider change. 

If you are keen to gain a comprehensive understanding of key sustainability insights and learn to put sustainability best practices into action to a positive impact on the world, a business sustainability course is the best place to begin. The Diploma in Business Sustainability offered by the Institute of Sustainability Studies will guide you on your decarbonisation journey, helping you to be a part of the solution. 

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