Memphis-based logistics Corporation FedEx announced their ambitious goal this week to achieve carbon-neutral operations globally by 2040. 

To achieve this, FedEx has allocated more than $2 billion of investment in vehicle electrification, carbon sequestration and sustainable energy. 

A New Carbon Capture Centre 

The plan also includes a $100 million pledge to Yale University to establish the Yale Centre for Natural Carbon Capture, to help research develop carbon capture technologies.

The centre will develop methods that build on natural carbon storage systems, including how quickly carbon can be absorbed, how much can be stored and for how long.  It will also explore biological ecosystems and the geological carbon cycle.

FedEx currently operates with over 180,000 vehicles and 700 planes, delivering packages across continents, making this carbon-neutral goal a sizeable challenge. 

“We have a responsibility to take bold action in addressing climate challenges,” FedEx CEO Fred Smith said in a statement. “This goal builds on our longstanding commitment to sustainability throughout our operations, while at the same time investing in long-term, transformational solutions for FedEx and our entire industry.”

FedEx generates close to $70 billion in annual revenue and has seen its business grow in recent years partly thanks to the boom in global e-commerce.

Electric is the future

The entire FedEx parcel pickup and delivery fleet will be zero-emission electric vehicles by 2040.

FedEx Express is partnering with BrightDrop, GM’s (General Motors) newest business, which will offer new electric products, from ePallets to commercial delivery vehicles.

The company says that by 2025, half of FedEx Express’ new package and delivery fleet purchases will be of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), increasing to 100 per cent by 2030. 

Some progress with electrical vehicles has already been made. In 2019, FedEx was operating close to 3,000 electrical vehicles in its fleet including forklifts, delivery trucks and airport ground service equipment. 

Sustainable fuels and reduction in consumption

The fossil fuels used to power the company’s vehicle and airline fleets contribute to 92 percent of FedEx’s carbon footprint, according to its most recent sustainability report. That fuel also accounts for 6 percent of its annual operating budget.

Swapping all that diesel and jet fuel with batteries and biofuels won’t be easy, but FedEx has pledged to continue investment in alternative fuels and reduce consumption in its aircraft.

“While we’ve made great strides in reducing our environmental impact, we have to do more. The long-term health of our industry is directly linked to the health of the planet, but this effort is about more than the bottom line – it’s the right thing to do,” said Mitch Jackson, Chief Sustainability Officer, FedEx Corp. 

“At FedEx, we are committed to connecting people and possibilities resourcefully and responsibly. The steps we are taking today will contribute a positive impact for generations to come.”  

FedEx joins other large companies such as EasyJet, Flogas, McDonald’s, BMW, Siemens, Google and Amazon, to name a few, who have shown their commitment to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement.  
For more information visit the FedEx sustainability website and the Yale Centre for Natural Carbon Capture announcement.


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