An Post – A Beacon of Hope

An Post the state-owned provider of postal services in Ireland, is the first postal service in the world to attain zero emission delivery status in all major cities.

As one of Ireland’s largest employers, operating one of the largest vehicle fleets in the country, and also running the largest retail network, An Post has deep roots into Irish life and communities. Its #sustainability work is a beacon of hope as to what can be done.

As its second annual sustainability report (2021) illustrates, sustainability informs every aspect of An Post’s business. They have a commitment to net-zero carbon emissions from their own operations by 2030. And they are on track to meet their target of a 50% reduction by 2025.

The sleek, silent zero-emission delivery vehicles that I admire in my neighbourhood are a start, but An Post is aware that it still produces over 10,000 tonnes of carbon through its heavy goods vehicles. It is addressing this by being the first company in Ireland to trial the use of Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO) for fleet fuel. The trucks running on HVO produce a 91.8% reduction in carbon emissions when compared to diesel fuel. This is an interim solution while they engage with leading European truck manufacturers to investigate new technologies, including hydrogen or electric trucks with longer-running batteries.

My favourite of all their initiatives, The An Post Green Hub, is a brilliant example of approaching sustainability from an outside-in perspective. That is, they looked first at the external challenges our world (and country) faces in relation to #climatechange, and then identifying business strengths that could be leveraged to innovate profitably to help address these #sustainability challenges.

In this case Ireland has a massive need to reduce its energy usage and the government has set the challenging target of retrofitting over 500,000 homes by 2030.

An Post has leveraged its strength as a trusted company known by and engaged with by almost 100% of Irish consumers and created a one-stop-shop to help consumers to upgrade the energy efficiency of their home. Working with partners, it offers support on finding suppliers, getting quotes, applying for grants and offers competitively priced loans for energy upgrades. So, it has generated a new, one presumes profitable, revenue stream, at the same time as addressing a major environmental challenge.

 For more of their innovations, have a look at their sustainability report, which includes objectives and metrics in relation to more than 50 actions, intended to address five of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

This is the third in a year long series of weekly blogs by  Sustainable Innovation Facilitator Jean Callanan telling stories of businesses and brands that are doing inspiring and innovative things in addressing climate change . Read about the thinking behind the blog  here and the second blog on Knorr Future 50 Foods – Eating Our Way to a Better Future  here.