May 17, 2020

What you need to know about UPS green shipping and carbon footprints

Freddie Pierce
3 min
Carbon Neutral Shipping options from UPS.
As the global economy recovers from one of the roughest stretches in our history, things like sustainability and green technology will once again make t...
As the global economy recovers from one of the roughest stretches in our history, things like sustainability and green technology will once again make their way to the forefront of company agendas. We all know that when things are at their worst—like they were in 2009—companies have to shift their priorities from a “let’s-protect-the-environment” stance to a “Shit-we-probably-need-to-worry-about-our-own-survival” stance.

Often, one of the first things to be nixed from the company agenda is those environmentally-friendly initiatives aimed at protecting the environment. It’s just the way we’re wired I guess. But as we move forward and the economy recovers, the executives of tomorrow will eventually start being won over again by green prospects and initiatives. “Go Green” will be a unified battle cry once again and companies will be willing to pay a premium for options that support sustainability and the environment. And that’s something that we can all get down with.

As far as the supply chain goes, we here at Supply Chain Digital feel like UPS is a company that’s doing its best to offset the carbon footprint of its operation. We say “doing it’s best” because UPS is still pumping CO2 into the atmosphere like a damn chimney. But when you are a rapidly expanding global shipping company, you can hardly expect to dramatically reduce CO2 levels. You have to focus your ecofriendly efforts elsewhere.

Using a “Carbon Neutral Shipping” option, UPS can monitor and track the carbon dioxide levels of customer shipments. Any UPS customer can direct the company to offset the carbon footprint of a shipment by paying a fee. Fees range from 5 cents for ground package and 20 cents for air packages to 75 cents for international packages. UPS currently matches all of its carbon neutral shipping fees up to $1 million. For larger companies contract services are available that begin with calculating the carbon impact from transportation.

Carbon neutral shipping options from UPS lets customers demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment. How it works though is a thing of environmental beauty. By using a calculator based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the international standard for carbon reporting, UPS is able to measure the carbon dioxide levels of shipments by using operational data like distance and transport mode. UPS uses the customer carbon neutral shipping fees and pumps that money into the Garcia River Fund, a non-profit organization that protects forests in California. The Garcia River Fund sells what are called “carbon offsets”, which is essentially a method to reduce carbon that is emitted elsewhere. Essentially UPS pumps it and then pays to have those emissions offset by environmental groups. 

The entire carbon neutral shipping process is verified by SGS, a third-party consultant. SGS also recommended the flat-rate fees that UPS uses. Carbon neutral shipping by UPS has recently expanded to include 35 countries across Europe, Asia and Americas.

By no means is carbon neutral shipping the final answer to our greenhouse gas problems, but it’s a start. And that’s all we can ask for right now.

Well played UPS.

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Check out what rain is doing to coal exports in South Africa or how lasers are the future of pirate defense

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Jun 17, 2021

Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics

3 min
Cainiao will focus on the customer experience in Singapore and Malaysia during its Tmall 618 Mid-Year Shopping Festival

As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.


Who Is Cainiao? 

According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00. 


For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’. 


What’s Part of the Upgrade? 

Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments: 


  • Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions. 
  • Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture. 
  • Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency. 
  • Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311). 


Where is the Company Headed? 

From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’. 


Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’. 



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