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UPS deeply rooted in going green: Some of the many ways UPS conserves

UPS has pursued operational efficiencies for 100 years. A root and branch approach: It's all about efficiency.

A root and branch approach: It's all about efficiency – but fortunately, making fiscally prudent decisions can also be good for the environment.

UPS has been carving out ways to improve efficiencies for more than 100 years. It wasn't always called being "green," but the idea of being a more environmentally responsible and efficient company is deeply rooted at UPS. In these difficult economic times, efficiency becomes even more critical.

Here are just some of the efforts under way at UPS:

Alternative energy vehicles
UPS first began testing ways to reduce its use of fossil fuels back in the 1930s. Today, we operate the largest private alternative-fuel fleet in the transportation industry, including more than 1,600 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas, hybrid electric, electric and propane-powered vehicles. This year, UPS began testing an all-electric, zero-emission package car in London. This spring, UPS launched 167 more GNG delivery vehicles in California, Texas and Georgia.

Route optimization
Using cutting-edge technology, UPS finds the most efficient routes possible for its package cars, thus saving fuel and cutting down on emissions. And UPS uses one truck and one driver to pick up air, international and ground packages. In 2007, UPS route-planning technology, which minimizes left-hand turns, was able to shave off 30 million miles of travel distance, save 3 million gallons of gas and reduce emissions by 32,000 metric tons of CO2. UPS experts also help manage other companies' fleets to bring similar efficiencies.

Airline strategies
UPS leads the airline industry in deploying noise- and emission-reducing technologies. In 2003, UPS started testing continuous descent arrivals (CDAs) when landing rather than stepping down altitudes. With CDAs, planes use idle power to glide down, making less noise, burning less fuel and creating fewer emissions. UPS also has a flight-planning system that calculates the most efficient route between two points based on weather, winds, terrain and other factors, again saving on fuel.

Innovative packaging solutions
UPS has introduced a range of eco-friendly products, including the reusable UPS Express Envelope and packaging products that cut down on packing materials.

Paper-saving technology
Products and services, such as electronic billing and the industry-leading UPS Paperless® Invoice, help save trees. In fact, electronic billing could eliminate as many as 124 million sheets of paper annually. Of course, many of the UPS products you use all the time, including UPS WorldShip® and Quantum View Manage®, all save paper.

This story was originally published in the spring 2008 print version of Compass.

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