We are seeing more transportation companies embrace carbon off-setting as a sustainability incentive and solution for their customers. A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere.
Offsets are measured in tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. In the transportation industry, Carbon offsets are a form of trade. When you buy an offset, you fund projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Carbon offsets let you pay to reduce the global GHG total instead of making radical or impossible reductions of your own.
For a large integrated carrier like UPS in the US, their carbon neutral option supports projects that offset the emissions of the shipment’s they transport. UPS has supported projects that include reforestation, landfill gas destruction, wastewater treatment, and methane destruction.
Recently, Australian based Parcel company Sendle, has taken on Australia Post over the postal authority’s unwillingness, in Sendle’s opinion, to fully support carbon neutrality. Sendle has challenged the government owned Post to embrace carbon neutrality given the “imminent climate emergency”. Australia Post has stated they would move to offset emissions for parcel products sent through its Post Office and My-Post Business channels. However, Sendle CEO James Chin Moody seems suspicious of the postal giant’s intentions and commitment to carbon neutrality.
It may seem a bit odd that a much smaller carrier like Sendle would challenge a national carrier like Australia Post over such an issue and the question begs, is this just a play by Sendle to attract sustainability sensitive customers away from Australia Post? Eva Ross, the Chief Marketing Officer for Sendle, has agreed to answer a few questions on carbon neutrality and why it is so important to Sendle.
Question: Dean Maciuba – Can you please tell me a bit about your professional background and what brought you to Sendle?
Answer: Eva Ross – I served 7 years at Airbnb, most recently I was running Marketing Ops and Strategy for APAC. For me, I’m all about empowerment of people to live their best lives, at Airbnb there were many examples of people being able to afford to live-out their passions by utilizing the excess space in their homes. At Sendle, we’re here to help small businesses thrive, by making package delivery simple, affordable and greener, so again I’m surrounded by passionate, ambitious people hustling to live their dreams. Sendle is a certified B Corp and every delivery is 100% carbon neutral, which is the right way, taking into account all the costs of doing business.
Question: Dean Maciuba – Please explain the Sendle business model.
Answer: Eva Ross – Sendle is the first shipping service designed specifically for small businesses. Unlike the existing shipping providers, who were largely built for big business, Sendle offers affordable flat-rate delivery for small businesses shipping all across the country. No hidden fees, no subscriptions, no contracts. Just great service. We also have a long standing commitment to sustainability, and are Australia’s first 100% carbon neutral delivery service.
Built with the needs of eCommerce businesses at our core, Sendle also makes it easy to connect to all the software small businesses use and love – from platforms like Shopify and marketplaces like Etsy and eBay, as well as a host of shipping aggregators.
Question: Dean Maciuba – Eva, why is carbon neutrality such an important cause/issue for Sendle and its CEO?
Answer: Eva Ross – Sendle has been committed to sustainability since the beginning. We’re in an industry (looking at shipping and logistics as a whole) that’s responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, at a time when the call for climate action is louder than it’s ever been before. As eCommerce continues to explode, and we ship more and more goods around the planet, our impact will only grow. We believe the time to take action is upon us, and as a certified B Corp, we believe every business should not only take responsibility for their impact, but also for making a positive change for the future.
Question: Dean Maciuba – Is Sendle doing everything in its power to reduce carbon emissions from the vehicles that move their packages?
Answer: Eva Ross – Sendle is a 100% carbon neutral parcel delivery service. We achieve this by carbon offsetting every single parcel we deliver for our customers by investing in projects that actively reduce global emissions. Is this everything we can be doing? No. But is it a good start? Absolutely.
We know offsetting is not the be all and end all of climate action, and in the future, real change will come from working with the logistics industry at large on longer term reduction strategies. For Sendle however, offsetting is an immediate step that allows us to take responsibility for our part now.
Question: Dean Maciuba – I understand that Sendle moves mostly B2B shipments which tend to be multi-piece deliveries with stops in close proximity to each other. Can you please explain why the typical, e-commerce delivery is so much more harmful to the environment than the typical Sendle business delivery?
Answer: Eva Ross –We handle all types of shipments and have a large volume of direct-to-consumer brands using Sendle to deliver to their customers. Particularly when it comes to consumer deliveries, as the popularity of fast and free shipping grows, we’re seeing carriers send out partially empty vehicles in order to meet one-or two-day shipping deadlines. That leads to a great deal of inefficiency for the carrier. We improve this by taking advantage of the underutilized capacity (or empty space) in existing vehicles, rather than putting more trucks on the road. That’s better for the environment, and also helps our shipping partners make their routes more efficient and profitable.
Question: Dean Maciuba – Is it possible for a company like Sendle to purchase enough carbon offsets to become carbon neutral and still be profitable?
Answer: Eva Ross – I think rather than a question of affordability the question we should be asking ourselves is, can we afford not to invest in sustainability initiatives like carbon offsetting? The climate crisis is upon us and shipping and logistics account for 10% of global carbon emissions. We don’t think you can have a truly sustainable business if you’re not considering all your stakeholders – and that includes considering your impact on the environment.
Question: Dean Maciuba – In what other areas does Sendle demonstrate a commitment to sustainability?
Answer: Eva Ross – On top of being committed to 100% carbon neutral delivery, Sendle has also attached the sustainability challenge of packaging, now offering a beautiful compostable pouch that protects our customers’ goods and then can be easily composted at the end of its life, instead of clogging up recycling bins. The response has been incredible from both small businesses and their customers.
Question: Dean Maciuba – How can you tell if a transportation solutions provider’s commitment to sustainability is real and not just a half-hearted effort or simply something that looks good in an annual report and on a company sustainability website?
Answer: Eva Ross – Every business has a different approach to sustainability, and I think any action a company can commit to is a step in the right direction. Having said that, we have been advocating for others in our industry to prioritize immediate action over long term promises and pledges. Both are important, but we’d like to see every business do what it can now. For us, carbon offsetting has been the best way to have an immediate impact.
Question: Dean Maciuba – Why is sustainability good business?
Answer: Eva Ross – There’s a common misperception that businesses need to choose between environmental choices and their bottom line, but the reality is – you can make decisions that are both good for the planet, and good for business. Sendle is an example of that very thing – we have designed a parcel delivery service that is cheaper, more convenient for small businesses and better for the earth. There are many examples of business models like ours that support that way of thinking, and that’s what we’re working so hard to help people see. I think it’s a matter of general education. It’s not just one or the other anymore.
Question: Dean Maciuba – Can the Sendle business model work in other global regions outside of Australia?
Answer: Eva Ross – Absolutely. Small businesses around the world share the same pain points when it comes to shipping, and Sendle solves those no matter where you’re operating. We’re already exploring our next markets and will have some exciting news to share very soon. Watch this space.
Question: Dean Maciuba – Do you have any closing comments?
Answer: Eva Ross – Sendle has long been committed to offsetting 100% of the carbon generated from delivery. While this is great news for the environment, it’s also been a huge win for the hundreds of thousands of small businesses who use us. Research shows that a third of consumers (63%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. For small businesses, the fact that we help them take responsibility for their footprint when it comes to parcel delivery and packaging goes a long way to helping them make the sale.
Thank you to Eva Ross from Sendle for her straight-forward responses to my questions about Sendle and sustainability.
Dean Maciuba is the Director of Consulting Services at Logistics Trends & Insights LLC and he is an expert on last-mile delivery, Amazon, e-commerce, and the design/implementation of speciality distribution solutions.