UPU to promote circular economy in postal sector

On 15 December 2021, the Universal Postal Union (UPU)’s Communication and Events Programme (CEP) will host a one-off virtual discussion to highlight how posts can embrace the circular economy to achieve their sustainability targets. The event is being organized post-COP26, held last month in Glasgow, to assist designated operators to transform their environmental commitments into positive actions.

The circular economy seeks to reduce and eventually eliminate waste by circulating resources and extending the lifetime of materials and products. According to World Bank figures, global waste is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tons by 2050, up from 2.01 billion tons currently. To reduce these figures and to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, better waste management and the transition to a circular economy are essential.

The UPU CEP’s virtual event, which will be held online on Zoom between 10:00 and 11:30 CET and transmitted live on UPU TV,  will bring together a diverse panel of experts from the Post, the United Nations and other multilateral and regional bodies, to discuss the advantages of the circular economy for the postal sector in the areas of climate change and sustainable development.

The event, called “Posts, Planet and Economies: A circular route to postal sustainability,” will also explore the role and the opportunities of the Post as a consumer, employer and one of the key elements of the logistical chain, in accelerating the transition toward the circular economy; identify the gaps related to this transition and the ways to close them; and look at sustainable climate finance to support the development and implementation of new infrastructure, tools and technologies needed for the green transition.

Postal operators around the world are already investing time and money in the circular economy. An Post in Ireland, for example, highlighted in its latest sustainability report the work it intends to do to build a circular economy including working with suppliers to ensure less waste and energy usage.

Meanwhile, in October, Singapore Post launched an upcycling initiative to give its old blue uniforms a new lease of life. Close to 33,000 old uniforms weighing 12 tons were replaced in 2020 as part of SingPost’s uniform redesign. The uniforms were used in the Re:Post initiative to create 12 lifestyle products, including water repellent tote bags, tissue holders, cushion covers and picnic mats.

The UPU CEP’s circular economy virtual event forms part of the UPU’s commitment to the wider UN System’s environmental efforts, as well as its recently expanded mandate in climate action, which will see the UPU investigate possible emission reduction targets and carbon-neutral cross-border services in the postal sector.

To learn more and participate in the event on 15 December 2021, click here
Learn more about the circular economy first-hand on our dedicated Voice Mail podcast episode: “The future is circular”