United Parcel Service – GHG Goal Audit (2022)

Outcome: 28% voted in favor of the proposal

Whereas: In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change evaluated the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and advised that net carbon emissions must fall 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 in order to limit warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and prevent the worst consequences of climate change. However, in 2020, the UN reported the world is “way off-track” from achieving these goals. (1)

Exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius presents risks to the global economy and investors: up to 10% of total global economic value is projected to be lost by 2050 under current emissions trajectories.  A warming climate is associated with supply chain disruptions, reduced resource availability, lost production, political instability, reduced worker efficiency, and adverse health impacts that disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. (2) Additionally, particulate matter emissions from heavy-duty diesel vehicles pollute communities of color at significantly higher rates than white communities. (3)

While UPS has announced a goal to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations by 2050 and a 50% reduction in emissions per small package delivered by 2035, shareholders do not know if UPS plans on achieving net zero through actual emissions reductions or through the purchase of carbon offsets. In order to assure shareholders that its goals align with the Paris Agreement, UPS should set a science-based target verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which requires annual disclosure of emissions. 

Whereas peers like FedEx and Amazon have set goals for procurement of electric vehicles, UPS’s goals for its ground fleet rely on alternative fuel, which unnecessarily prolongs potential emissions and bolsters fossil fuel infrastructure. (4) UPS’s current emissions reduction goals do not include Scope 3 emissions, which, according to UPS’s 2020 TCFD report, constitute 57% of its total. (5)

Given the impact of climate change on the economy, the environment, and human systems, and UPS’s contribution to it, proponents believe the UPS board and management have a responsibility to its investors and stakeholders to adopt GHG goals aligned with a 1.5 degree scenario and to outline a clear plan that demonstrates accountability. Independently verified, science-based goals covering Scopes 1-3 would provide shareholders with objective assurance that UPS is doing its part to reduce emissions in a comprehensive and timely manner. 

Resolved: Shareholders request that UPS adopt independently verified short, medium, and long-term science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, inclusive of emissions from its full value chain, in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner and to attain appropriate emissions reductions prior to 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of maintaining global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Supporting StatementIn assessing targets, we recommend, at management’s discretion:

  • Consideration of approaches used by advisory groups such as the Science Based Targets initiative;
  • Disclosing these targets to investors at least 180 days prior to the next annual meeting.

(1) https://library.wmo.int/doc_num.php?explnum_id=10211

(2) https://www.swissre.com/institute/research/topics-and-risk-dialogues/climate-and-natural-catastrophe-risk/expertise-publication-economics-of-climate-change.html

(3) https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/28/climate/air-pollution-minorities.html

(4) https://www.sightline.org/2021/03/09/the-four-fatal-flaws-of-renewable-natural-gas/

(5) https://www.sightline.org/2021/03/09/the-four-fatal-flaws-of-renewable-natural-gas/

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