Road transport remains the single biggest source (49%) of Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Alternative-fuel vehicles account for 23.3% of the group’s combined fleet, compared to 13.1% in 2012.

Road transport remains the single biggest source (48%) of Scope 1 and 2 emissions. With this in mind, we encourage participants to transition towards alternative-fuel vehicles where possible. In order to track this progression, the group has been reporting the breakdown of their fleets by fuel type for the past seven years. 

Participants report on the numbers of alternative-fuel vehicles under the following ten categories: CNG, LNG, LPG, E85, M85, Electric, Hybrid, Hydrogen, Bioethanol and Other. For the first time last year, we also began collecting information on the different types of electric vehicles used by participants, which include vans, trucks, trolleys, walk-buggies, e-bicycles, scooters, motorbikes and cars for business travel. The group reported an impressive total of 148,000 alternative-fuel vehicles in 2018, up from 144,000 in 2017. This statistic underlines the group’s commitment to adopting new technologies in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Since 2017, traditional bicycles (self-propelled) are excluded from vehicle numbers to more accurately capture the transition from fossil fuel vehicles to vehicles powered by alternative-fuels. E-bicycles are included under ‘electric vehicles’ to show the speed of electric vehicle integration within the fleet and to demonstrate the range of options used by participants. As a result of changes to the coverage of the EMMS programme in 2018 we have restated vehicle figures back to 2012. Please see Annex ‘Restatements’ for more details. 

We continue to monitor the number of delivery routes performed by self-propelled bicycles. Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, we encourage participants to consider the positive impact on employee health, and related business benefits, of increasing deliveries by foot and bicycle. Where feasible, posts should prioritise carbon neutral modes of transport over less sustainable alternatives, such as choosing normal bicycles over e-bicycles, and where possible replacing vans and cars with traditional bicycles rather than electric models. These recommendations are designed to encourage the removal of unsustainable models from fleets.
Since 2012, the total number of vehicles has increased by 88,000 (16%), while the total number of alternative-fuel vehicles has increased by an impressive 80,000 (116%). In 2018, alternative-fuel vehicles account for 24% of the group’s combined fleet, compared to 13% in 2012. This demonstrates participants’ ongoing efforts to increase the proportion of alternative-fuel vehicle models within their vehicle fleets.

The number of electric vehicles reported increased by 9,300 between 2017 and 2018, such that electric models now account for 55% of all alternative-fuel vehicles and 13% of the total vehicle fleet. In 2012, electric vehicles made up 25% of the alternative fuel vehicle fleet, and just 3% of the total vehicle fleet. This impressive growth is another demonstration of our group’s dedication to reducing emissions and the postal sector’s position as a leader in the transition to low carbon transport. 

Many participants are now piloting or trialling electric vehicles. For example, Royal Mail plans to follow up its successful roll out of 100 electric vehicles in 2018, with a further 190 electric vans, and over the next four years An Post plans to replace 750 diesel vans with electric vehicles. For more information and for other examples, please see the Case Studies section of this report. 

The group does not operate any M85 (methane) or hydrogen vehicles, which could be a result of purchase costs, availability of national infrastructure, fuel efficiency, and range. We have also seen a decrease in the use of biogas vehicles in recent years in the fleet. While research, development, and piloting of new models is occurring in partnership with manufacturers, the investment required is often substantial, and can be prohibitive for posts. This is often the case if the fuel is not already widely available through the national infrastructure. With the focus currently on electric vehicle adoption in a lot of - mostly European - countries, these other alternative fuels may be unlikely to gain critical mass. However, we will still monitor the take-up of such options as they are a viable and preferable alternative to fossil fuel powered vehicles.

IPC congratulates participants on the ongoing adoption of alternative fuel vehicles in spite of the potential obstacles. In 2018 we observed a significant increase in the reporting of many different types of lower carbon transport.
Many posts are leading the way in adopting alternative-fuel technologies in their respective countries. IPC will continue to support posts in reducing emissions from transport. We continue to encourage posts to use alternative-fuel capable vehicles through best practice sharing and initiatives such as the IPC International Drivers’ Challenge.

Although we no longer categorise traditional bicycles as vehicles, we still collect data on the distance travelled by postal deliveries made in this way. In 2018, more than 161m km were covered by self-propelled bicycles - equivalent to cycling the circumference of the Earth approximately 4,000 times. A further 56m km were covered on foot (including both owned and subcontracted postal delivery), illustrating participants’ commitment to utilising the most sustainable delivery modes available. We recognise that transport will continue to contribute a major source of the EMMS group’s emissions as the parcel market continues to grow. However, through our group’s efforts to reduce the distance travelled by carbon-intensive modes of transport, they are dually advancing the transition to lower carbon transport and directly reducing the postal sector’s carbon footprint.