The Posts of Costa Rica, Ecuador, Finland, France, Ireland, Senegal, Switzerland, Thailand and Togo have created the very first carbon offset fund for the postal sector, the Postal Carbon Fund™.
The fund was officially created on 9 April at UPU headquarters on the sidelines of the organization’s annual Postal Operations Council session.
Based on voluntary participation, the non-profit association under Swiss law will enable Posts in industrialized countries to offset their carbon emissions by financing projects in developing countries that have a positive environmental impact on the postal network.
“This Fund is both an innovative project for the postal sector and a solidarity project in the fight against climate change. We hope the success of the first projects will lead to others,” says Stéphanie Scouppe, in charge of the project and an expert in responsible development and professional ethics at the French Post.
The Fund’s creation is the result of four years of feasibility studies and numerous consultations with Posts, international organizations and funding bodies, as part of the work of the UPU’s sustainable development group.
Carbon offsetting is a financing mechanism designed to reduce greenhouse gases through the purchase of carbon credits from emission-reduction projects or surplus CO2 quotas. Posts in developing countries can use carbon credits to finance environmentally-friendly projects.
One tonne of CO2 is today valued at 5.29 euros, according to ICE Futures Europe, a trading platform.
Carbon credits will go to postal projects focusing particularly on sustainable energy, used for transport and buildings for example, and can be used to finance initiatives such as training on eco-driving or energy efficiency.
That’s good news for Posts like Togo Post, according to Géraldine Keyewa, its marketing and planning director.
"Through the Fund, we hope to install five new solar roofs in post offices located in rural parts of Togo, because we often have power cuts," she said.
In 2012, the world's Posts generated an estimated 60 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, according to the UPU’s latest annual carbon inventory. This represents 0.9% of the transport sector’s total emissions.
With its creation, the Fund enters a pilot phase consisting of seeking funding, training representatives of founding Posts in the offset methodology and financing mechanism, selecting a carbon expert to assist in project implementation, and identifying eligible projects.
If all goes to plan, Posts could start using carbon credits to fund projects from 2015 onwards. Results of the UPU’s carbon inventory will be used to identify projects eligible to be financed by the Fund.
The French Post chairs the Fund, while the Swiss Post is vice-chair. The Ecuadorian Post heads the general secretariat.