David McGrath, chief commercial officer at Jersey Post Group, provides an insight into the organisation’s road to carbon neutrality and how it is playing a part in Jersey’s sustainable future
ISLAND communities are often pioneers for sustainability. Perhaps it is because we are so closely connected to the ocean that surrounds us, or because of our compelling sense of community.
As many of you know, Jersey Post’s sustainability journey began in 2016 when we started to electrify our 120-strong vehicle fleet by introducing 15 Nissan e-NV200 electric vehicles, each van reducing the carbon emissions by 95%. Jersey Post was one of the first large businesses in Jersey to make this commitment, earning us the Green Fleet Award for the Private Sector Fleet of the Year in 2016.
As a postal business, we have the ongoing challenge of delivering approximately 90,000 items daily, which equates to our vans travelling around 675,000 miles per annum. We understand the role we play in protecting our Island and its people and, ultimately, we aim to keep our carbon emissions as low as possible.
Jersey Post’s investment in zero- and low-emission vehicles is an ongoing programme. Today, our fleet is 70% electric and boasts 75 electric vans, 34 electric bikes and 27 bicycles. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Jersey Post delivered three million parcels by electric fleet. The rest of our vehicles run solely on biofuel, which is scientifically proven to be a carbon reducer, helping Jersey Post towards its overall goal of becoming locally carbon-neutral by 2030.
Over the past two years, Jersey Post has continued to look at replacement technology, including the adoption of electric bikes to complete mail rounds, and the company has also switched to energy-efficient LED lighting across its premises.
Knowing the facts
Having the right data at your fingertips is crucial for achieving carbon-footprint reductions. Accordingly, in 2021, the group began working with a specialist team to audit Jersey Post’s carbon footprint and help initiate the correct environmental strategies for the business.
In Jersey, the majority of thing that Islanders need for day-to-day living is imported. Indeed, 95% of food is imported, electricity is imported from France and petrol, diesel, oil and gas are also imported. Additionally, although water is processed in the Island, there are limited reserves. We recognise that to be more sustainable, we need to look at the resources we use, how we use them and follow a rapid decarbonisation away from fossil fuels.
The carbon audits are enabling Jersey Post to measure direct greenhouse-gas emissions which are owned and controlled by the group, as well as indirect greenhouse-gas emissions from purchased energy sources. The final phase of the audit records the bigger-picture emissions from a variety of scopes, including supply and treatment of water, staff commute, mail travel and materials.
Protecting and enhancing our Island and the special qualities that make it home are major drivers for human actions. We want our customers to know that we, too, care for our Island and take responsibility for our part in protecting it, our people and the planet.
Stakeholders, in the form of employees, board members, management teams, suppliers and customers are all drivers to creating a successful sustainability strategy.
People are our greatest asset, and we need to be engaged and drive the initiative together. Protecting our environment is not a trend, and therefore we must ensure your approach to sustainability lives and breathes throughout our organisation.
In 2020, Jersey Post set up an in-house eco team to play its part in protecting the environment, building awareness to help drive changes. The aim of the team is to help staff to feel empowered to take the necessary actions to effect real change – both within the business and at home.
The voluntary team consists of people from across the business with a passion for all things eco. They help to drive and communicate Jersey Post’s environmental vision and teach others across the business about sustainable development, including ways to help the environment at work through programmes, initiatives and educational experiences.
Breaking bad habits, whether at home, travelling, shopping, or in the workplace, is a topic of much discussion within Jersey Post Group. We are seeing an increased focus from everyone across the business on the importance of changing our environmental behaviours. A sense of pride and passion for what we are achieving and a collective push to reduce our impacts on the natural environment is becoming the norm.
Within the business, we have also taken many environmentally conscious steps, including the reduction of printed marketing materials, introducing the use of biodegradable elastic bands and removing single-use plastics from our canteen. We also continue to offer accessible recycling bins and battery-recycling facilities.
As part of Jersey Post’s environmental strategies, we encourage the wider community to take part in our climate-saving initiative to reduce ‘miles travelled’ for missed deliveries. We offer, and have frequently advertised, our alternative delivery services, which help to negate unnecessary travel within Jersey.
In 2023, 50% of Jersey households are recorded as using Jersey Post’s SecureDrop service, while the remaining residents frequently use its 24/7 parcel locker service, which comprises more than 500 parcel lockers across six locations. Each service plays a vital role in taking us closer to our commitment of being carbon-neutral in the Island by 2030.
Throughout 2022, Jersey Post engaged staff in various strategies to become more energy efficient and to reduce its reliance on natural resources. Hybrid working was initiated in 2021, and this reduced employee miles travelled. Meanwhile, the company also eliminated non-essential business travel with a Microsoft Teams call-first approach. Jersey Post also continued initiatives such as its ‘school bus’ which transports staff to and from work.
And our group’s efforts are not limited to the Island. With 40% of our business not even touching Jersey, we are conscious that we need to look at our carbon-neutral plans on a global scale. As such, our target is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions globally by 2040. We continually work to optimise transport across the Jersey Post Group, to ensure it is as efficient as possible across our global network.
At Jersey Post, we also hope to use the eco team’s sphere of influence to encourage our customers and suppliers on their own sustainability journey. To start with, we want to encourage suppliers to work towards environmental sustainability accreditation. In the longer term, we aim to establish a procurement policy that includes sustainability as part of the decision-making process.
This shift to more sustainable operations is being seen across the sector, driven by environmental targets set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UPU and Post Europ. The logistics industry as a whole is now looking to use sustainable fuels across air, ocean and road freight, by adopting clean fuel and looking at technological solutions as the way to truly eliminate emissions from transport and logistics businesses.
The only way forward is to work in collaboration. We do not want to work alone to achieve our goals, and part of the strategy for Jersey Post is to build relationships with other businesses, communities and individuals so that technology and innovation can be used to meet our zero-carbon emission target. However, we recognise we have a long way to go.