There is a difference between necessary and urgent, and Spain’s Correos is encouraging its customers to rethink the urgency of their overnight deliveries by choosing “Responsible Deliveries,” an option that takes more time and yields environmental benefits.“We live in an instant world, and we understand that sometimes customers need their goods almost instantly,” said Elena Fernández-Rodríguez, Director of International Affairs and SDGs. “However, other times, we, as consumers, could perfectly wait two or three days. This ‘impatience,’ has an impact on our environment.”
Responsible Deliveries allows Correos to consolidate deliveries in the most efficient way, with fully loaded vehicles, which significantly reduces emissions. Customers receive their packages within two to three days rather than 24 hours.
The post chose to launch the initiative in November 2020, the week of Black Friday, which is known as the start of the Christmas shopping season, to drive home the message that slower delivery is sometimes the best option. Fernández-Rodríguez said that, in Spain, 62 per cent of Black Friday purchases will be given one month later, at Christmas.
“So, in most cases there was no need for fast deliveries,” she said.
Responsible Deliveries works with already existing services, but the challenge has been to raise the “green” added value, she said. That challenge has been met with its motto: “Not everything is urgent, but taking care of the planet is.”
“We know that we are proposing a cultural change and it will take time,” she said, but the effort falls in line with other trends, such as “slow life,” a movement that promotes a less hectic lifestyle, with more responsible and sustainable consumption.
“This ‘controversial’ attitude received a very positive response from the media, customers, and society,” Fernández-Rodríguez said.
Once customers are informed of more conscientious ways to ship their parcels, customers tend to relinquish the need for immediacy to embrace the more environmentally sound approach, she said.
Correos was acknowledged for its initiative with the “Transformation to a Sustainable Economy Expansion” Award, organized by the Spanish economic newspaper Expansión, Bankinter and KPMG.
Additionally, Correos added emissions compensation to the Responsible Deliveries option after its emissions compensation programme of 2020 was named the most innovative project of the year by the Postal Union for the Mediterranean (PUMed).
Looking ahead to 2030, Correos aims to be carbon neutral. In addition, the post aspires to become "zero waste" and to have 50 per cent alternative technologies in its fleet.
“Companies, especially big platforms, are increasingly offering faster and ‘free’ deliveries,” Fernández-Rodríguez said. “I believe that these strategies are harming both the people and the planet. … We all need to reflect on the hidden cost that a generalized ‘free and quick delivery’ have both on people, especially on working conditions and taxes paid, and on the planet, through emissions and congestion.”