We had a visit this week from our friendly Parcelforce man. But this wasn't our regular friendly pick-up/delivery man, nor was it a regular visit. Michael Anderson Head of Innovations and Environment Programs at Parcelforce joined us for a morning to keep us up to date with how the parcel people are improving their eco credentials in an effort to deliver our products with full consideration for our environment.
So what eco goals would you expect from a parcel delivery company? The obvious one would be in the area of transport. Over 50% of the carbon Parcelforce produce comes from their vehicles. The company are currently piloting a number of low emission vehicles including two electric (a 7.5 tonne truck and a normal parcel van), one hybrid and one eco-start (the engine automatically turns off when still). They're also piloting aerodynamic and lightweight trailer options to save on fuel.
One of the biggest problems with the new vehicles is the sound they make whilst driving - that is, no sound or at least very little. The delivery drivers involved in the pilot claim that people are constantly walking in front of their moving vehicles - they don't hear anything coming and often don't look for caution's sake.
An issue with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is the infrastructure to support vehicles is just not there. The fill-in stations are few and far between and with a fleet of thousands of vehicles this option is not yet viable.
From a strategic perspective Parcelforce are determined to be a sustainable and eco conscious company across the board. By 2015 they want to have reduced their CO2 emissions by 50%, no easy task for a company driven (literally) by petrol fuelled fleet of trucks and vans. But they say they will do it and we believe them. On a smaller scale Parcel Force aim to be carbon neutral in London by 2012 (great timing considering the number of parcels sent to the big city should increase dramatically with the Olympics in town.