July 8, 2009 10:00 AM, EDT
UPS, FedEx Expand Reports of Carbon Emission Sources

By Dan Leone, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the July 6 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Parcel carriers UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. are broadening their accounting of greenhouse gas emissions, targeting sources beyond their own direct emissions.

In late June, UPS touted its public disclosure of both direct and indirect carbon dioxide emissions in the first change to the company’s CO2 accounting policy since UPS began tabulating these emissions in 2002.

A company spokeswoman cited UPS’ entry into different transportation segments, such as freight forwarding, as a motivating factor for more detailed carbon accounting.

“We’ve got 45 companies and we’re in a lot of different businesses” compared with 2002, when “we were much more small-package oriented, said Lynnette McIntire, a UPS spokeswoman on the company’s sustainability committee.

Besides the 7.5 million metric tons of CO2 put out by UPS’ ground and air delivery operations, the company said it indirectly generated 728,000 metric tons of CO2 through electricity generation.

The figures were published by the nonprofit Carbon Disclosure Project, which distributes reports on the carbon disclosure practices of the companies that make large stock indexes, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500.

The CDP report tracks emissions in three separate categories identified by an international carbon ac-counting standards group, The  Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative.

“Scope 1” emissions include those that are produced as a direct result of a company’s day-to-day business. For transporters, scope 1 emissions include fuel burned by airplanes, trains and trucks.

Conversely, “scope 2” emissions are indirect emissions tied to power generation. “Scope 3” covers all other indirect emissions, including purchased transportation costs such as trucking services.

UPS has not yet published its scope 3 emissions data, but McIntire said that an accounting of those emissions is under way.

FedEx is likewise tracking its direct CO2 emissions. Moreover, the company also has said that “we plan to include [scope 2] data in our 2009 report.”

Like UPS, FedEx is collecting data on its scope 3 emissions, but it has not yet said whether it will include “all of our purchased transportation emissions in future reports.”

In a 2008 report that contains FedEx’s latest accounting of its CO2 emissions, the company said that it “emits 39.5 metric tons of aircraft and vehicle CO2 emissions per $100,000 in revenue.”

FedEx had about $35.5 billion in revenue in its 2008 fiscal year, which ended May 31.

UPS, Atlanta, and FedEx, Memphis, Tenn., rank No. 1 and No. 2 respectively on the Transport Topics 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada.