La Poste to be first major postal operator to go “carbon neutral”

French postal service La Poste Group is set to become the first major postal operator to provide full carbon neutrality for all its services. The Group said today that it is turning “carbon neutral” this year, with plans to invest in carbon offsets to counter the climate change emissions associated with all its services in France and abroad.

Post&Parcel reported this morning on plans by La Poste’s parcel subsidiary DPD to turn carbon neutral from July. But, the move is actually set to apply to the entire La Poste Group, including all services from physical mail and parcels through to digital and hybrid services.

For La Poste’s own mail and parcel services, along with Chronopost (express) services sold from post offices, carbon neutrality will apply from March 2012.

The company’s express businesses and subsidiaries like Chronopost and Exapaq, along with services outside France via DPD, will be “100% neutral” from July.

La Poste spokesman David Drujon told Post&Parcel that carbon neutrality would apply to La Poste and all its subsidiaries, and would also take account of subcontractor emissions.

Drujon explained that while mail volumes are decreasing, the investment in carbon offsets to cover that side of the service was likely to represent only around EUR 4m for La Poste, representing just 0.03% of the current mail turnover of about EUR 11.5bn.

Offsets

Carbon offsets allow a company to put money towards environmental projects that theoretically reduce global carbon emissions by an equivalent amount to the emissions generated by the activity being offset, in this case La Poste’s mail and shipping services.

La Poste said its carbon offsets programme would support various environmental projects in France and abroad, including climate change projects in developing countries.

Its project objective would be to sequester or reduce the generation of greenhouse gases, the company said, with postal workers being consulted next month to choose which environmental projects will be supported.

“Through these projects, La Poste Group intends to participate actively in the collective challenge posed by increasing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and the global warming that affects the living conditions of both developing and industrialised countries,” said the company in a statement.

With CDC Climat providing carbon offsets, the Group said the scope of its offsetting arrangements is being verified by Norway’s Det Norske Veritas, with the programme expected to meet the highest standards of the market, the Gold Standard or the Verified Carbon Standard.

The offsetting initiative comes alongside La Poste Group’s efforts to actively reduce its own emissions, with the company pursuing a goal to cut its climate change impact 20% by 2015.

Last year, the company ordered 10,000 electric vehicles from French manufacturer Renault, as part of a government-supported initiative to accelerate the development of the technology.

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