Canada Post’s 2021 sustainability report highlights social, environmental commitments

Report outlines Canada Post’s environmental, social, governance priorities

Canada Post has released its 2021 sustainability report, which can be read in full here and provides “a progress report on the company’s social and environmental commitments,” according to a statement from the Crown corporation.

Published on June 10, the report highlights Canada Post’s commitments to relation to environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. Among the report’s main topics are employee safety; the environment; equity and inclusion; Indigenous reconciliation; and “small businesses and local economies.”

“Last year was a significant one for Canada Post. In 2021, we started on a multi-year transformation to fulfill our exciting new purpose, ‘A Stronger Canada – Delivered,'” said President and CEO Doug Ettinger, referencing the title of last year’s annual report. “We’re undertaking significant investments to better meet the needs and expectations of Canadians—on the environment, inclusion, Indigenous reconciliation, and so much more. While there’s much more work to be done, we’re committed to being a social and environmental leader for Canadians and future generations.”

Some of the highlights of the report include:
  • a four per cent reduction in Canada Post’s total injury frequency, tying into employee safety, which Canada Post considers its “top priority”;
  • a new road standard to improve safe driving;
  • the expected deployment of 1,607 low-carbon vehicles by the end of the year, representing 11.5 per cent of the Crown corporation’s fleet;
  • new strategies to improve health, safety and wellness for Canada Post’s employees;
  • the newly launched Sustainability Action Fund, which encourages employees to launch local environmental initiatives;
  • 261 audits to identify and improve accessibility gaps at Canada Post’s post offices and other facilities;
  • the opening of a “community hub” post office with tailored community services in High Prairie, Alta., following in the footsteps of another hub-style post office in Membertou, N.S.; and
  • a $1.2 million award to 100 organizations across the country through the Canada Post Community Foundation.

“I’m proud of our teams who led so many successes on our ESG initiatives in 2021,” said Cheryl Hodder, Canada Post’s chief sustainability and legal officer. “We’re improving employee safety, creating a more inclusive workplace, supporting communities, and making progress on our climate change and sustainability objectives. I’d like to thank our bargaining agents and partners who have been instrumental to our progress. We look forward to sharing more about our achievements in the coming months and years.”

REACHING ‘NET ZERO’

On June 9, a day before the report’s release, Canada Post also outlined its commitments to reduce its environmental footprint and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Canada Post has earmarked $1 billion to cut emissions and transform its fleet. With nearly 14,000 vehicles and Canada’s largest retail network – nearly 6,000 post offices – the Crown corporation acknowledges its footprint is “significant,” according to a recent statement from Canada Post. The postal service plans to transform its fleet to non-emitting transportation with commitments to reach a 50 per cent electric fleet by 2030 before hitting 100 per cent by 2040.

“We have a responsibility to Canadians, and to their children and grandchildren, to help lead the way to a more sustainable future,” said Ettinger. “Canada Post has one of the biggest fleets in the country, over 68,000 employees, a significant real estate portfolio, and an extensive supply chain. The challenge ahead is great, and we know the greening of our transportation is critical. That’s why we’ve committed to net-zero operations and a fully electric fleet by 2040. I’d like to thank our bargaining agents for their continued engagement and collaboration on this important step forward for the company.”

Canada Post has committed to a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. The target is built to meet the 1.5 degrees Celcius pathway of the “science-based targets initiative” (SBTi), which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels. The 2030 target sets Canada Post on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050 and will be submitted to the SBTi for approval.

“Our climate commitments address Canada Post’s national operations from all angles. We’ll transform our fleet to electric, retrofit our buildings, build net-zero carbon buildings, and source renewable energy for our real estate and operations,” said Hodder. “We’ll collaborate with our suppliers, customers, partners and bargaining agents to meet our science-based target while encouraging others to reduce emissions and take action. These are important measures for all Canadians, and we will continue to keep them updated on our progress.”

In May, Canada Post unveiled a net-zero parcel sorting facility that will have the capacity to process more than a million packages a day. In Scarborough, Ont., the Albert Jackson Processing Centre will officially open in early 2023. The $470 million state-of-the-art facility is the largest industrial project in Canada with the Zero Carbon Building Standard designation.

At a Canada Post depot in Ottawa this month, the postal service also showcased electric and low-emission vehicles, including some it is piloting. The Crown corporation is launching a trial of a low-speed vehicle on a postal route covering neighbourhoods west of downtown Ottawa. The compact electric vehicle reaches maximum speeds of 40 km/h and will be used for delivery and collection activities for a year to evaluate its performance and develop safety procedures.

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