- UPS intends to add solar power to eight more of its 2,580 facilities by the close of 2017, according to a company press release. UPS will spend roughly $18 million to increase its solar power up to five times its current output.
- Currently, the company's solar powered facilities are located in Palm Springs, CA, and Lakewood, Parsippany, and Secaucus, N.J. The Palm Springs location, where solar panels were first installed in 2004, continues to generate 110 kW of renewable energy.
- The additional eight facilities will increase UPS’s solar generation by nearly 10 MW, or enough to power roughly 1,200 homes each year. Adding solar energy to eight more locations will result in an annual 8,200 metric ton reduction in carbon emissions.
Recognizing that willpower and platitudes are not enough to stem the rise of climate change, UPS has set ambitious goals on its path to sustainability, and the company is moving aggressively to meet them. Partnering with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and BSR, a climate sustainability consultancy, the logistics provider has so far pledged to drive one billion miles on alternative fuel by 2017, plant 15 million trees across the globe worldwide by 2020 and reduce carbon intensity 20% by the end of 2020.
And while much of the logistics provider's focus revolves around renewable diesel and natural gas for the ground fleet, the company recognizes it can reduce its emissions long-term with improvements to its logistics process and infrastructure improvements.
UPS has launched electric bikes for last-mile delivery in bike-friendly cities like Portland, OR and Amsterdam, for example. In addition, the report reveals even the company's acquisition of Coyote Logistics helps in its sustainability efforts by improving freight efficiency and "eliminating empty miles." The most recent news it would expand its solar power capacity fits into the model of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at every step of the way.
Of course, UPS is not the only company seeking to employ renewable energy within its sustainability initiatives. In 2016, IKEA committed to reduce roughly two thousand tons of annual CO2 emissions through the installation of 8,966 solar panels on its Joliet, IL distribution center. IKEA's sustainability goals show it aims to produce as much energy as the company consumes by 2020, but that will requires across-the-board changes.
The two case studies of UPS and IKEA show a corporate sustainability policy requires not just awareness of the issue, but strong leadership and a willingness to employ changes at every step of the company's supply chain — from the type of fuel procured, to the vehicles employed, down to the way facilities are built. Solar power is just a piece of the larger sustainability puzzle in both cases.