U.S. Postmaster General makes business case for going green to attendees at climate conference in Durban, South Africa, Dec. 9, says USPS recycled more than 222,000 tons of material in 2010, saved more than US$9M in landfill fees

WASHINGTON , December 9, 2011 (press release) – In a presentation delivered today at a media roundtable organized by the International Post Corporation during the COP 17 climate conference in Durban, South Africa, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe heralded the U.S. Postal Service’s sustainability successes, making the business case to go green.

“Leaner, greener, faster and smarter is our sustainability call to action,” said Donahoe. “It’s environmentally responsible, as well as a very good business decision.”

The Postal Service’s vision is to be a sustainability leader by creating a culture of conservation throughout the Postal Service and leading the adoption of sustainable business practices by employees, customers, suppliers, the mailing industry and U.S. federal government peers.

Donahoe talked about the Postal Service’s 400 Lean Green Teams, comprised of cross-functional postal employees who collaborate to identify and implement low- and no-cost ways to conserve natural resources, purchase fewer consumable products and reduce costs.

“Lean Green Teams have helped the Postal Service reduce energy, water and petroleum-fuel use, and solid waste to landfills, helping the Postal Service save more than $5 million in fiscal year (FY) 2010. Lean Green Teams also helped recycle more than 222,000 tons of material — an increase of nearly 8,000 tons over the prior year — which generated $13 million in revenue and saved more than $9 million in landfill fees,” said Donahoe. “This is a powerful story and makes the business case for sustainability,” he added.

The Postal Service works to achieve aggressive sustainability performance goals, including:

Reducing facility energy use 30 percent by 2015.
Reducing vehicle petroleum use 20 percent by 2015.
Increasing vehicle alternative fuel use 10 percent each year through 2015.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020.

The agency’s FY 2010 Annual Sustainability Report, released in June 2011, demonstrated the Postal Service is meeting or exceeding a number of its sustainability goals — including a 133-percent increase in alternative fuel use, a 33-percent reduction of supplies purchases and a nearly 30-percent reduction in facility energy use. Facility energy use reductions helped yield a cost avoidance of more than $400 million since FY 2007.

In FY 2011, the Postal Service, the first U.S. federal agency to measure and publicly record its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reported an 8-percent reduction in its GHG emissions from an FY 2008 baseline, an achievement for which the agency was awarded the Climate Registry’s Gold Status Recognition, the first for any U.S. company or federal agency.

The high-profile international media roundtable was hosted by the International Post Corporation (IPC) and the South African Post Office. Other participants included the head of the South African Post Office, Nicholas Buick; the director, United Nations Environment program, John Christensen; the director general of the Universal Postal Union, Edouard Dayan, by video message, and the IPC chief executive officer, and president, Herbert-Michael Zapf.

The 2011 IPC Postal Sector Sustainability Report was debuted and discussed at the roundtable. The report contains member posts’ sustainability business cases, and demonstrates how global postal sector members continue to make great strides in cutting the industry’s carbon emissions, making the business case for going green.

The IPC is a cooperative association of the U.S. Postal Service and 23 other postal agencies in North America, Europe and the Pacific, whose mission is to develop and improve international postal services.

The Postal Service has won more than 75 environmental awards, including 40 White House Closing the Circle, 10 Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise Partner of the Year, Climate Action Champion, Direct Marketing Association Green Echo, Postal Technology International Environmental Achievement and Climate Registry Gold Status.

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