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A More Sustainable Postal Service

Deloitte helps one postal industry client deliver a greener future

Abstract

With more than 37,000 facilities, 220,000 owned vehicles and 600,000 employees, one of the largest postal and shipping organizations has a massive environmental footprint. Recognizing this as part of its near-term strategy, this organization has committed to becoming a sustainability leader. As such, this organization engaged Deloitte to help write their inaugural public-facing sustainability report, identify key environmental metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) and support energy consumption reporting and analysis.

The Challenge

Publicly announcing aspirations to be a sustainability leader comes with challenges — increased internal and external scrutiny, a need for very clear direction on future strategy and alignment across the entire organization, to name but a few. To manage these challenges, jumpstart consolidation of disparate sustainability initiatives and create a way to consistently measure and report on sustainability efforts, the client created an office dedicated to sustainability. A primary initiative of this office was to develop an inaugural sustainability report in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI); however, given that this type of report had never been developed before, data to support that report was spread throughout the organization, came with varying degrees of quality and in some cases, simply didn’t exist. The client needed to clarify what metrics were most material to their organization and which they would commit to reporting publicly now and in the future.

How We Helped

Deloitte leveraged a deep understanding of the postal industry and thorough knowledge of sustainability strategy and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to support development of the client’s report. Key tasks included:

  • Identification of 31 sustainability key performance indicators that are most relevant to the client, such as greenhouse gas emissions, fuel consumption and hazardous waste generation and calculating historical performance for the 31 KPIs.
  • Working with the client’s internal sustainability office to prepare a corporate sustainability report in accordance with GRI’s guidelines, including writing the report content, creating charts and data tables and executing final graphic design.
  • Preparing a white paper detailing lessons learned and recommendations for improving future sustainability reporting efforts.
  • Assessing the process for reporting on energy use and spending and recommending opportunities for improving efficiency of that process.
  • Recommending energy-related benchmarks that are appropriate for a large organization and providing insights into tracking performance against benchmarks.
  • Performing cost analyses for different operating scenarios, as well as analysis of potential reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Solution

In addition to being able to issue their first sustainability report in accordance with the GRI guidelines, the client, as a result of this engagement, will gain a deeper understanding and quantification of their major environmental impacts so they can better focus their sustainability initiatives and investments in the future. Specific benefits include:

  • An understanding of stakeholder expectations, competitors’ priorities, material environmental and social impacts and ways to “operationalize” the organization’s sustainability strategy.
  • The ability to gather data and calculate its performance for the first time on an enterprise-wide level and also set expectations throughout disparate business units that performance on these metrics will be monitored and evaluated from this point forward.
  • Discovery of potential roadblocks related to the manual nature of data collection and compilation. (The client engaged Deloitte to assist with the automation of two internal systems and two reporting methodologies to facilitate this process.)
  • A thorough assessment of lessons learned gleaned from the report generation process, particularly around the effort for gathering 119 data points across a large, geographically dispersed organization. Also included were higher-level recommendations on improved sustainability performance measurement and management.

The USPS 2010 Sustainability Report can be downloaded at the following link: http://www.usps.com/green/

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

 

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