Members unanimously adopted a resolution focused on greater action and cooperation in the fight against climate change during the 27th Universal Postal Congress in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.The resolution – co-authored by Austria, France and Germany – commits the UPU to investigate possible emission reduction targets and carbon-neutral cross-border services in the postal sector. It will also encourage knowledge sharing on emission reduction strategies, climate finance and climate adaptation.
Although many posts have already undertaken measures to reduce their carbon footprint, the UPU resolution will help define a coherent sector-wide policy on the issue.
“If the global community, and that includes the postal sector with all its emissions through delivery, sorting and long-haul transport, does not change its behaviour, our children and grandchildren will not have to worry about a postal network, they will have to worry about their existence,” said Felix Blaich, Head of International Postal Relations at Deutsche Post, who presented the resolution on behalf of Germany.
UPU Director of Policy, Regulation and Markets, Siva Somasundram, said, “I am delighted that Congress has reached a consensus and approved this important resolution, which further expands the extensive work of the UPU on environmental and social sustainability.”
“In particular, I am convinced that this will strengthen the ability of the postal sector to access funding for low emission and resilient infrastructure,” he added.
Delegations from numerous UPU member countries spoke to support the resolution, emphasizing both the importance of environmental sustainability to the postal sector, and the need for universal and equitable action on the issue of climate change.
Posts operate the largest physical network in the world with more than 5 million staff, 650,000 post offices and half a million vehicles in their fleets.
As a UN specialized agency, the UPU has a role to play in achieving the sustainable development goals, which includes climate action. The organization already supports carbon reporting across the postal sector through its Online Solution for Carbon Analysis and Reporting (OSCAR). The resolution comes at an opportune time, as countries prepare themselves for the COP 26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
Over the next UPU work cycle, which spans 2022-2025, the Postal Operations Council (POC) will study greenhouse gases emitted by the postal sector, as well as mitigation and adaption measures. The POC will also investigate how carbon neutral cross-border postal services can be developed for posts interested in offering them.
The UPU’s Council of Administration will be responsible for developing recommendations on greenhouse gas reduction targets to present to the next UPU Congress. It will also report on ways UPU member countries can improve knowledge sharing across the sector.
The next Universal Postal Congress will be held in 2025 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.