UPU DG calls for sustainable environmental practices

07.12.2017 - “Responding to the call for action against pollution requires leadership, commitment and resources – and the engagement of us all,” said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein in his address to the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) on 6 December in Nairobi.

Mr. Hussein said that UPU supports member countries in sustainable postal practices and policies.



The UNEA is the supreme body of the United Nations Environment Programme. Held under the theme “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet”, the 2017 UNEA gathered heads of state and ministers, executive heads of UN bodies and international NGOs.

Hussein emphasized that the transport sector is a contributor to the pollution mix and that, “as a key component of the global transport and logistics chain, and especially with the growth of e-commerce, postal operators cannot ignore this fact. There is no more business as usual when we witness the damage pollution causes to people, nature and economies.”

Postal sector part of the solution through innovation

Many postal operators have come far in implementing sustainable practices. There are now operators that have transitioned their entire fleet to alternative vehicles, working directly with the automotive industry to design and develop electric postal vehicles. Many postal operators are generating their own renewable energy and have mainstreamed sustainability into their business management and procurement processes.

Sustainability makes good business sense for the postal sector. It saves money, fosters innovation, triggers efficiency in operations, caters to the increasing demands from customers, national authorities and funding agencies, and serves employees and communities. According to Hussein, “many postal operators are already leading by example and have come to realize that environmentally sound management of their operations can have direct bottom-line impacts and drive growth and profitability”.

UPU supports member countries in sustainable postal practices and policies

On an annual basis, the UPU carries out a global inventory of the climate impact of the designated operators in its member countries. On average, a designated operator is responsible for 0.1% of its country’s carbon footprint.

Through OSCAR, the UPU provides all designated operators access to a free state-of-the-art tool enabling them to measure, analyze and address their greenhouse gas emissions. In 2017, 83 countries from across the world and from all levels of development have used OSCAR.

The UPU serves as a global platform to share knowledge and best practices on sustainability in postal operations, identify joint responses to environmental challenges, and improve the ability of the postal sector to move forward together.

UPU call for partnerships

Hussein told the conference that “the UPU is fully engaged because we know that we can make a difference by supporting, promoting and developing innovative sustainable practices within the postal industry as well as the wider international community”. However, calling for partnerships to support the postal sector and the UPU in this fight against pollution and climate change, he declared: “We cannot do it alone; we all depend on each other to deliver.”

UPU leading by example

Recognizing that its operations as an international organization have an impact on the environment, the UPU regularly measures and takes action to reduce the carbon footprint of its secretariat, the International Bureau. For the second time, the UPU International Bureau achieved climate neutrality in 2017. The 2016 environmental inventory, performed in collaboration with the Sustainable United Nations programme, shows that direct greenhouse gas emissions from the International Bureau have decreased by 10% since 2014. In addition, the UPU has chosen to offset all emissions, earning the International Bureau climate neutral status for 2016. These positive results are a reflection of the UPU's commitment to sustainability and its efforts to implement greener approaches to managing its activities, resources and facilities.

For more information: bit.ly/2AvTH16




Sustainable development


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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
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