- FedEx has promised to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft by 20% by 2020, on a pound per available ton mile basis. It was the first U.S. shipping company to do so. “UPS would not have set a reduction goal if we hadn’t not it first,” Jackson says.
- It has set a goal of improving the fuel economy of its vehicles by 20% by 2020.
- It has created a corporate citizenship blog, signaling a willingness to be open and to engage with critics.
- It has engaged constructively in Washington. FedEx CEO Fred Smith lobbied a few years ago for fuel-efficiency standards for commercial vehicles.
Having said that, it’s clear to me that many of the steps taken by both FedEx and UPS to reduce pollution and emissions are driven more by economics -- specifically, by a desire to save fuel -- than by climate change worries.
FedEx, for example, recently took delivery of its first Boeing 777 freighter, uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions than the rest of its fleet. Even better, it can fly from FedEx’s Memphis hub to China without having to stop for refueling in Anchorage, as its older planes do.
In the end, motivation isn’t the issue. As Jackson put it: “We try not to separate the issue of “green” from economics. They go together.”
What’s encouraging is the competition. When UPS and FedEx, Coca Cola and PepsiCo, HP and Dell compete around “green,” the environment is better off. UPS recently took the shipping rivalry to a new level by deciding to offer customers a “green” option of paying a small fee, between 5 and 20 cents, to offset the carbon emissions of their shipping. Here’s the announcement.
Your turn, FedEx.
GreenBiz Senior Writer Marc Gunther maintains a blog at MarcGunther.com.
Images courtesy of FedEx.