FedEx adopts carbon-neutral shipping option, at no extra charge

The logistics company's investment in fleet efficiency and renewable energy projects are behind its decision not to charge a premium.

Investments in energy-efficient transportation technologies and ongoing relationships with renewable energy projects have put FedEx in the position to offer what the logistics company is dubbing as "carbon-neutral shipping" for the most basic of its shipping options, the FedEx Express Envelope.

The company has made the decision to do start marketing the service at no extra cost to customers, according to its announcement about the program this week. It covers pretty much all the services related to the envelope shipments, including the priority options.

The FedEx move is bound to get the attention of UPS, which has been running its own carbon-neutral shipping options for some time. That's because UPS treats that option as a premium service, even if that premium is relatively minor (20 cents per package for next-day deliver). It's a perception thing.

FedEx plans to calculate the global carbon emissions impact of FedEx envelope deliveries on an annual basis. It will use that calculation to fund projects with BP Target Neutral; the projects that will benefit include a biogas farm in the Netherlands, a reforestation effort in the Tananian Highlands, and a landfill gas collection program in Thailand.

These investments will complement the company's ongoing effort to introduce electric vehicles and other more efficient transportation options into the FedEx fleet, said Mitch Jackson, staff vice president of environmental affairs and sustainability, in a statement.

FedEx managed a 13.8 percent reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions related to its aircraft by the end of fiscal year 2011. (The reduction used 2005 as the base point year.) The company reports that it has also improved its fleet miles per gallon by more than 16 percent over that same time period. FedEx has also funded six solar energy technology installations that have a combined capacity of 6 megawatts.

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