UPS says it is target a 20% reduction of carbon dioxide output by 2020 for its airline operations.
The total, if reached, would represent a 42% cut over 1990 CO2 emissions levels. Currently, UPS's airline operations produce about 1.42 CO2 pounds per available ton mile, which the company says is well ahead of most.
A mix of measures, such as fielding more fuel efficient aircraft, fuel saving operations, and introduction of biofuel use are seen as key to meeting the objective. It cites, as an example, the decision to start replacing 747-200s with -400s, which began in 2007.
Other steps the company says it is taking to reduce emissions include the use of electric rather than fuel powered auxiliary power units when aircraft are parked; use of a 5% biodiesel blend in ground support equipment, which is undergoing a trial phase; engine wash on Boeing 767s and MD-11s, and use of less hazardous paint.
“We set our first goal for aircraft emissions because our jet planes are the source of 53% of UPS’s carbon output,” says Bob Stoffel, the UPS vice president in charge of the company’s sustainability efforts. But meeting environmental targets also hasn’t been easy. UPS says it missed its 2008 target of 0.75 emissions (hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides) per payload capacity, reaching only 0.78. UPS says that was caused “by challenging business conditions during the year, which we responded to in part by using larger, less emissions-efficient aircraft to consolidate shipments on multiple routes.” It has now also set new, less ambitious targets, with the goal of reaching 0.74 aircraft emissions per payload capacity in 2011 – an earlier goal was 0.70.