From climate policy to climate solutions – bridging the governance gap

05.06.2019 - Climate action has rocketed to the top of the political agenda in many countries amidst warnings that greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise, but what does this mean for postal services? From the COP 24 in Poland to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the message of urgency is clear, but how can we turn national and sectoral commitments into action on the ground?

An ever-expanding catalogue of solutions is available to help Posts reduce their energy consumption and meet the remaining demand in a sustainable way, and electric vehicles and solar panels are no longer science fiction.  A key question for Posts is how to choose which climate actions to take. Where should they invest their resources for the biggest reduction in emissions?  The most appropriate solutions will vary between operators, depending on factors such as the age of their physical infrastructure, the mix of services delivered and even the local climate. 

To support strategic decision-making, member countries requested the UPU to provide an online tool for postal operators to measure their greenhouse gas emissions. The result is the Online Solution for Carbon Analysis and Reporting (OSCAR), which is available to the designated operators of UPU member countries free of charge.

At a basic level, OSCAR can be used to record qualitative information about environmental management activities and broad summaries of greenhouse gas emissions, enabling users to track their emissions and demonstrate their growing engagement with this topic over time. This includes a very popular feature allowing users to record and, if they wish, to share updates about new sustainability projects and innovations.  This information also gives the UPU critical insights into innovative projects under way in member countries, and ideas for new programmes it could develop. These functions are valuable for decision-making at the postal-operator level, and are convenient ways of collecting data for other sustainability reporting and accreditation systems in which Posts participate, such as the Global Reporting Initiative. 

However, it is by engaging with the detailed reporting of data on emissions from building stock, vehicle fleet and energy mix that the full functionality of OSCAR is revealed.  The output is a list of KPIs designed specifically for the postal sector, which Posts can use to support strategic action on emissions reduction.  These indicators take abstract data and convert it into a more tangible form, such as CO2 emissions per item, percentage of alternative vehicles in the Post’s fleet, and more. Such data can help inform the climate change strategies of UPU members, irrespective of how advanced their progress is to date.

OSCAR’s 2017 annual campaign saw another increase in the detail and quality of reporting. Participation remains evenly distributed across the regions, which  we believe is a reflection of the level of support currently provided to users. The tool and guidance are available in six languages, with online help and an e-mail for sending queries directly to our OSCAR team.  We are keen to make this tool as inclusive and user-friendly as possible, so please send us your feedback. 

This year’s OSCAR campaign will open soon. Starting in May 2019, we will be collecting data on the 2018 emissions and sustainability progress of our designated operators. For more information, visit https://oscar.post or e-mail oscar@upu.int.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of UPU’s Union Postale magazine. Subscribe now to be the first to receive content like this.

Sustainable development
 

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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
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