The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has been actively reducing its climate footprint since 2005, when it established the Environment and Sustainable Development Project Group and adopted an environmental policy.
A key area for emissions reductions at UPU is travel. To this end, UPU has adopted a travel policy that has been successfully implemented over the past years.
UPU’s travel policy includes recommendations for staff, including taking the most direct route and giving preference to traveling by train instead of flying, particularly for short distance trips. As an incentive to promote train over air travel, UPU offers its staff first class travel on trains and pay for a half-fare card on public transport within Switzerland. When air travel is unavoidable, UPU only allows travel in economy class (except for the Director General and the Deputy Director General) rather than in business class owing to the latter’s larger climate impact. This larger impact arises because a business class passenger occupies more space and has a greater luggage allowance than one traveling in economy. The recommendation has been broadly accepted by staff.
Other UPU travel recommendations include promoting the use of teleconferencing as an alternative to travel, reducing the number of staff traveling on the same mission when possible, and deploying local staff instead of staff from headquarters.
Information on travel emissions is collected on an annual basis and communicated by the organization. UPU’s travel policies have resulted in considerable cost savings and have reduced the organization’s climate footprint.