Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

FedEx to Electrify Entire Fleet by 2040

FedEx to Electrify Entire Fleet by 2040
A FedEx truck travels along Interstate 10 by the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm near Palm Springs, California on Feb. 27, 2019. Robert Alexander / Getty Images

FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.

To reach this goal, the delivery company will commit more than $2 billion to vehicle electrification, sustainable energy and carbon sequestration, according to the statement.

"We have a responsibility to take bold action in addressing climate challenges," Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp. said in the release. "This goal builds on our longstanding commitment to sustainability throughout our operations, while at the same time investing in long-term, transformational solutions for FedEx and our entire industry."

FedEx will also continue to invest in sustainable fuels to power its planes -- the biggest contributor to its carbon footprint, Fast Company reported. But switching to sustainable fuel won't be easy, Mitch Jackson, chief sustainability officer for FedEx Corp, told Fast Company. "The question is, will sustainable aviation fuels be here in sufficient quantities for the aviation industry in the near term?"

The news comes just a week after the United States Postal Service announced a 10-year, $485-million contract for new mail trucks, planning to transform only 10 percent of its fleet into electric vehicles, Sierra Club reported. This plan falls short of President Biden's vow to covert all "Federal, State, local, and Tribal government fleets" to "clean and zero-emission vehicles."

"From undermining our democracy to delaying climate action, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continues to fail the United States Postal Service and the American public," Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of Sierra Club's Clean Transportation for All campaign said in a statement. "The lack of commitment from the USPS to electrify its fleet directly contradicts the Biden administration's goals and executive order to clean up pollution from the US government's vehicles."

The United States Postal Service has increasingly struggled to outcompete large corporations like FedEx that use the same networks and markets, the Economic Policy Institute wrote in a report. This is partly because the USPS is limited in entering new markets and pays its workers with middle-class wages and provides benefits, unlike private competitors like FedEx that cut costs by relying on independent, contract workers, The Washington Post reported. Yet the drastically different de-carbonization goals between USPS and FedEx highlight the necessary role private companies can play in pioneering efforts towards a clean energy future.

"While we've made great strides in reducing our environmental impact, we have to do more," Jackson said, according to Business Insider. "The long-term health of our industry is directly linked to the health of the planet, but this effort is about more than the bottom line – it's the right thing to do."

Included in FedEx's plan is a $100 million gift to Yale University to establish a Center for Natural Carbon Capture to research and develop natural solutions to reduce and sequester atmospheric carbon safely, YaleNews reported.

"My hope is that others will recognize the scale and importance of this problem and the significance of this center's mission by joining in our efforts to address a global challenge," Smith said, according to YaleNews.

Environmental groups urge other delivery services to quickly follow suit, committing to more sustainable and efficient operations in the face of a rapidly damaging climate. "This is a critical moment to shift the status quo of the US delivery truck. We urge all delivery companies — including USPS — to not let it pass them by," Coplon-Newfield added in a statement.

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