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One of the fundamental premises of sustainability is that the profit motive, managed by private enterprise, can harmoniously coexist with the public good, managed by policy makers and governments. In practical terms, this means that the private and public spheres must conduct meaningful dialog on issues that matter to them both.

At UPS, we take this responsibility seriously, starting at the highest levels of the company. We present our policy perspectives, and listen to the views of others, in a wide range of venues, including the following:

  • Supporting regulatory and legislative actions that we believe are beneficial to UPS, our markets, and the communities we serve.
  • Inviting policy makers to UPS facilities and sharing information about our sustainable business practices in transportation and logistics.
  • Sharing our innovations, such as our investments in alternative fuel technology and emissions reductions.
  • Participating in public-private initiatives, such as helping implement a national strategy for global supply security in the U.S. through the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC).
  • Interacting with a broad spectrum of public officials.
  • Submitting articles and opinion essays to the media.
  • Participating in trade associations.
  • Participating in public events.

We emphasize a number of major themes in our public policy advocacy efforts. These themes are summarized to the right.

Benefits of Free Trade

We believe that global trade, free enterprise, and fair trade are good for our company, our country, and the global economy. History shows us that trade is one of the primary engines of civilization for reducing conflicts among nations and facilitating the spread of democratic values, the rule of law, and equal rights. Global trade increases appreciation of human and cultural diversity and supports wider adoption of sustainable solutions for the environment. We therefore advocate legislative action to remove or lower barriers to trade around the world. Our CEO, Scott Davis, serves on the President’s Export Council, a non-partisan body that serves as the United States’ principal national advisory committee on international trade.

In China, UPS worked with the Chinese government to secure a daytime flight from Guangzhou to Shenzhen, to establish new international branches in Zhengzhou where UPS launched air service in 2012 to support the growth of electronics manufacturing there, and to gain approval for UPS to begin offering China domestic service in seven cities in 2012, with 26 cities to follow in 2013 and 2014.

The company publicly supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a regional free trade agreement currently negotiated among 11 Asian economies and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, the United States, and Mexico. UPS also supported President Obama’s signing of legislation establishing U.S. Permanent Normal Trade Relations status with Russia.

UPS also worked with governments around the world to streamline customs processes, including the European Union, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Spain, and the U.S. UPS seeks to benefit the industry by simplifying processes, reducing costs, and time in transit.

Reducing the U.S. Federal Debt

We believe that the level of the national debt of the U.S. has reached unsustainable levels, and that the U.S. Congress has a duty to act effectively on debt reduction. High federal debt creates economic uncertainty for the private sector, particularly when legislators are unwilling to set aside partisan differences in order to create better balance between tax revenue and government spending, as they did throughout 2012. We believe that stop gap legislation is not sufficient to address the debt on a sustainable, long-term basis. Our CEO, Scott Davis, is a member of the CEO Fiscal Leadership Council, which was formed in October of 2012 under the banner of “Fix the Debt” ( The Council is comprised of approximately 130 CEOs seeking to convince the Congress to enact, and the President to sign, comprehensive debt legislation that can stabilize and then reduce the federal debt as a share of the economy.

Development of Alternative Fuels
We believe that alternative fuels can play an important role in reducing the emissions intensity of the transportation sector, which is of global importance to the environment. UPS is “fuel neutral,” meaning we are committed to better alternatives than we have today rather than any particular candidate. In practice, we use a widetechnologies, which are generally less carbon-intensive and less emissionsintensive than conventional vehicles (see Practical Innovation). For information about UPS’s work with BSR on alternative fuels, see The Future of Fuels. UPS also secured a grant to become one of four ‘showcase regions’ for electric vehicles funded by the German government and was granted permission to test EcoCombi tractor-trailers trials across the country and introduced biomethane fueled vehicles in the U.K and more heavy-duty trucks fueled by liquified natural gas.

UPS CEO Scott Davis is a member of the National Petroleum Council (NPC), which recently responded to a request from the former U.S. Energy Secretary Chu for a report that would answer the following question: What actions could industry and government take to stimulate the technological advances and market conditions needed to reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Transportation sector by 50 percent by 2050 relative to 2005 levels, while enhancing the nation’s energy security and economic prosperity?”

UPS experts were among the 300 people that contributed to preparation of the report, which took two years to complete and was entitled “Advancing Technologies for America’s Transportation Future.” Studies issued by NPC tend to carry considerable weight with policy-makers because they are generally exhaustive in detail and represent a wide range of stakeholders.

Sustainability Ratings

We believe that the cause of sustainability can be advanced rapidly with a simple but powerful market mechanism: establishing standardized sustainability performance metrics, so that customers can easily direct their spending power to companies that are more sustainable. Some partial forms of this mechanism already exist, such as the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), the Carbon Performance Leadership Index (CPLI), and the application level system for sustainability reporting provided by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). UPS ranks in the top tier of global companies on the CDLI and reports according to GRI at Application Level A+, as checked by GRI.

In 2012, the original founders of GRI, Ceres and Tellus Institute, joined together to propose a world-class standard for corporate sustainability ratings. This initiative, called the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings, is creating a standard to go alongside GRI’s world-class standard for sustainability reporting. We believe this concept has considerable merit and we are supporting it financially, through participation in the standard development process, and by serving on the technical review committee.

From Vision 2050 to Action 2020

World Business Council for Sustainability Development (WBCSD) has developed a framework for re-imagining how commerce and society should function in a more sustainable world of the future. UPS is an active participant in WBCSD’s “From Vision 2050 to Action 2020” process, which was developed out of the recognition that achieving a vision for 2050 requires prompt and focused action in the near term. One of the focus areas of the new process is climate change, which necessarily involves reducing carbon intensity in the transportation sector. In 2012, we helped to scope activities in the climate change focus area in a way that recognizes two somewhat paradoxical realities: transportation companies generate substantial greenhouse gas emissions, yet they also enable the people and companies that use the transportation to reduce their GHGs.