FedEx had kneeled before mankind, vowing to become a carbon-neutral business by 2040. That’s roughly eight years longer than it’ll probably take most of the population to forget that the promise was ever made. But this is the way of the world and we wager it won’t be long before it’s just easier to list the companies and governments that have not made informal, often empty commitments about the environment.
But, before we throw FedEx into the camp of blatant placation, let’s see what it actually has planned.
The parcel service’s plan involves six layers of action, starting with electrification. FedEx has promised its pickup and delivery fleet will be comprised exclusively of zero-emission EVs by 2040. This will allegedly be accomplished “through phased programs to replace existing” trucks. The company gave an example where 50 percent of Express delivery vehicle purchases would be electric by 2025, with all subsequent purchases being EV only by 2030 – though it did not say this would be exactly how things played out.
Everything else requires a bit more imagination, though a few might actually yield better environmental results than blowing a bunch of cash on EVs. One of our favorites is its plan to work with customers to bolster supply chain sustainability. Most of this is being done via carbon-neutral shipping options and new packaging solutions and seems like an easy enough (and immediate) way to help mitigate wastefulness.
FedEx also plans on investing in sustainable fuels for aircraft and trucks, deploying new forms of fleet monitoring (sky and ground-based) targeting fuel savings, and reconfiguring its facilities to use less energy. There’s even a plan to fund the Yale Center ($100 million) in researching Natural Carbon Capture methods.
“While we’ve made great strides in reducing our environmental impact, we have to do more. The long-term health of our industry is directly linked to the health of the planet, but this effort is about more than the bottom line – it’s the right thing to do,” Mitch Jackson, Chief Sustainability Officer, FedEx, stated. “At FedEx, we are committed to connecting people and possibilities resourcefully and responsibly. The steps we are taking today will contribute a positive impact for generations to come.”
The company has already committed itself to spend $2 billion toward its greener visions but we still think the publicity this kind of investment offers is probably worth more than whatever fruit it manages to yield. As a byproduct, it may also help keep FedEx from falling behind when and if widespread electrification becomes more feasible.
“We have a responsibility to take bold action in addressing climate challenges,” explained Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, FedEx Corp. “This goal builds on our longstanding commitment to sustainability throughout our operations, while at the same time investing in long-term, transformational solutions for FedEx and our entire industry.”
Be sure to check back in 20 years to see how that worked out.