“Sustainability” is a core strategic priority for UPN.

Over the past five years, despite significant operational and network growth, UPN has achieved some impressive green milestones. Electricity consumption down 16%, water usage down 80%, less than 5% of total waste to landfill, paper usage down 49%, fuel consumption down 38% and successful introduction of electric forklift trucks.

“The senior leadership at UPN recognise the increasing importance of improving environmental performance for our staff, members, and customers and are committed to work hard to deliver this”, said UPN MD David Brown, “Environmental performance is on the agenda of every business decision made.”

UPN have highly specific objectives to minimise waste, travel, carbon emissions, water consumption and energy consumption across all aspects of its business.

The UPN “Sustainability journey is now under the leadership of Group Sustainability Chief, Joanna Davila, who is an expert in the field.

“To achieve our successes to date and ensure achievement of future goals we have implemented a metrics based “Environmental Management System”, said Joanna. “Environmental aspects were identified for focus to align with both United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and UK Government Sustainability Strategy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, de-carbonising our estate, improving energy efficiency of buildings and being efficient and sustainable with our resources.”

Further sustainability initiatives are currently being looked at. These include: improved vehicle routing, enhanced driver training, fuel efficiency, e-business approaches, warehousing design and operation, alternative fuels (trucks and materials handling equipment) and closed loop systems for equipment and packaging – all of which will have a positive impact on the triple bottom line for UPN, its members, and service users.

“Updates and reporting of performance will be regularly available. We are currently working very closely with the APN (Association of Pallet Networks) to confirm an industry wide metric for monitoring emissions by pallet/consignment,” said Joanna.

This collaboration which lies at the heart of the pallet network model is a crucial contribution to the sustainability of modern logistics, and could be a blueprint for far more sustainable methods of distribution and delivery.

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