As we work towards the decarbonisation of our operations, CitySprint’s CSR Manager, Natasha Marques, tells us about her role and what she’s doing to help CitySprint reach net zero
The implementation of our decarbonisation strategy has been my main focus. With the goal of achieving net zero by 2040 ahead of us, time is of the essence and some critical milestones are already looming on the horizon.
One of the most pressing challenges we’re addressing is onboarding couriers onto the journey of transitioning from diesel vehicles to electric alternatives.
The heart of the matter lies in comprehending the nuanced factors that influence the couriers' transition to EVs, which involves a deep dive into understanding how factors like delivery routes, customer expectations, operational costs, and concerns about charging infrastructure impact the couriers' daily experiences when operating electric vans.
To tackle this, we’re working diligently to establish a comprehensive framework that addresses the practical concerns associated with the transition. This includes strategising ways to optimise delivery routes for electric vehicles, exploring opportunities to enhance charging infrastructure in key operational areas, and identifying financial incentives that would make this transition economically viable for our couriers.
In addition, we’re actively engaging with stakeholders across the organisation to garner support and resources for this initiative. Creating a shared understanding of the benefits and potential challenges of transitioning to EVs is crucial to foster a sense of ownership and commitment among all team members.
How has sustainability become an essential element of CitySprint’s business?
Consumers are reshaping their habits, with global searches for sustainable products rising by 71% since 2016, as highlighted by The Economist Intelligence Unit. This shift is reinforced by authoritative actions, such as the UK Government's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Their incorporation of mandatory reduction targets for suppliers, as well as the publication of the Net Zero Strategy (Build Back Greener) in October 2021 and its subsequent update in March 2023 through the Powering Up Britain: Net Zero Growth Plan, signals a broader recognition of the urgent need for environmental responsibility.
For CitySprint, the transition from viewing sustainability as a 'nice to have' to an absolutely indispensable element was catalysed by the collective expectations of our customers and government. Our pivotal step towards sustainability dates to 2007 when we achieved ISO 14.001 accreditation and initiated our carbon emissions reporting.
In 2009, we successfully transitioned all our sites to operate on 100% renewable energy. Then in 2022, we achieved carbon neutral status and become London's largest courier with a push bike fleet. This year, our parent company Geopost, achieved another milestone - they proudly became the first international parcel delivery company to have both near and long-term net zero targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and we have aligned our carbon emissions targets and reporting within the group strategy.
In essence, our journey showcases how societal shifts and regulatory actions have elevated sustainability to a cornerstone of our operations.
What changes have made a real difference in your operations?
In our journey towards sustainability, a simple change had significant results. Despite not being the largest waste producer, our service centres still generated a notable amount of waste. Recognising our responsibility towards waste produced within our facilities, we took proactive steps to enhance our waste management strategy.
In 2022, our procurement team successfully partnered with Veolia, a waste management supplier. By aligning with them we gained a newfound sense of control over the destination of our waste. Thus, starting from June this year, we have achieved the remarkable milestone of diverting 100% of our waste away from landfill sites. This accomplishment not only reflects our commitment to environmental stewardship but also underscores the effectiveness of even incremental changes in waste management practices.
Moreover, we introduced internal reports that showcase recycling performance to our service centre managers. This data-driven approach encourages healthy competition and ongoing improvements in recycling practices.
This demonstrates the power of making conscientious choices in our operations. By strategically partnering with Veolia and introducing simple yet effective reporting mechanisms, we achieved a remarkable transformation in our waste management journey.
Details of CitySprint's CSR strategy can be found at www.citysprint.co.uk/about-us/csr.