How to Export Sustainably

Find out what you can do to reduce the environmental impact of transporting goods long distances to export markets.

To help you reduce the carbon impact of your exports, UPS offers options like carbon neutral shipping, carbon calculation and eco-responsible packaging.

Exporting could mean your products are traveling vast distances and of course this transportation, depending on the modality chosen, results in various amounts of fuels expenditure and carbon dioxide emissions. Yet exporting also stimulates economic growth, creates jobs and raises living standards.

There are many different ways you can reduce the environmental impact of exporting tipping the balance in this play-off between sustainable economic growth and usage of fossil fuels. By using UPS there are already lots of ways the impact is already being reduced, however there are some choices you have to make to be sure that your supply chain is efficient and as sustainable as it can be.

What You Can Do

There are many ways you can make your business more sustainable by designing production processes and products that have less impact on the environment. There are three primary areas that can help make products heading for export markets more sustainable:

  • Sustainable Packaging Design
    Designing packaging for your products that ensure they are delivered undamaged means they will only be manufactured and transported once. Undamaged goods will also be used rather than discarded or returned. Make sure products are not over packaged and use packaging that can be recycled or is made from recycled materials. If the size of product packaging can be minimised, then they’ll take up less space when being transported and more products can be sent with them.
  • Sustainable Transportation
    Consider the modality and speed of transportation for your goods – ocean or air freight? Express or Standard? It might be better to consolidate and transport large quantities of goods by ocean freight as ships emit less carbon than aircraft. Also by choosing slower services options your goods will most likely travel by road or rail meaning lower levels of emissions are attributed to your package.
  • Optimise Shipments
    Fit as many products as possible onto a pallet or into a container. Optimising the space used will not only reduce the cost of shipment per product, but will also help us move more products in single shipments, which reduces the impact on the environment.

What We Do

UPS’s network serves the global economy the way a public transit system serves a city: it increases energy and carbon efficiency by enabling many individual trips to share the same transport infrastructure. Here are a few of the things we do to make transportation more sustainable:

  • Route Optimisation
    We aggregate over four billion shipments every year and deliver them through a single integrated network. We constantly strive to make the network operate efficiently to reduce the environmental impact of individual shipments. Depending on the delivery time you request, we choose the most efficient transportation modes to achieve it. That may mean using a truck instead of a plane, or a train instead of a truck.
  • Eco-friendly Vehicles
    We choose vehicles and aircraft carefully and make sure they’re maintained properly so that their emissions are minimised. UPS has more than 3,150 alternative fuel vehicles worldwide, which use a variety of hybrid, electric and natural gas technologies.
  • Carbon Neutral Shipping
    After efficiencies are implemented there is still a residual impact from your package that remains. We offer the chance for you to mitigate this by using UPS’s carbon neutral shipping option. UPS purchases certified carbon (CO2) offsets to give you a way to balance out the emissions produced by the transportation of your shipments. UPS has supported projects that include reforestation, landfill gas destruction, wastewater treatment and methane destruction.
  • Eco Packaging certification
    Our Eco Packaging Packing Programme allows you to get your packaging eco certified by UPS and it can then be marked with UPS’s Eco Responsible Packaging Programme logo. The programme forms part of SGS’s Climate Change Programme. UPS Reusable Express Envelopes also give you an easy way to use a single envelope for two shipments.
  • Packaging
    UPS’s online packaging advisor and the UPS Package Design & Test Lab can help you design the right packaging for your products. Businesses that meet the requirements can join UPS’s Eco Responsible Packaging Programme and mark their packaging with proof of their commitment to the environment.

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