Solar Power Help Deliver on Sustainable Growth

By PostNL
12:25 PM, July 14, 2016

As the leading mail and parcels deliverer in the Benelux region, PostNL sits at the forefront of the ongoing rapid growth in e-commerce. To cope with the resulting increase in the flow of parcels, in recent years we have designed and built a network of future-proof sorting and delivery centers across the Netherlands for our parcels operations. One of our key objectives when developing these centers was to ensure that they make a structural contribution to our sustainability objectives, thereby helping us to improve the environmental efficiency of our delivery networks and minimize our impact on the environment. For example, we have invested in state-of-the-art, energy-efficient sorting machines, and the depots have been constructed to make optimum use of daylight, further cutting energy requirements. In 2016 we took the next step in developing our sustainability goals and started installing approximately 20,000 solar panels on the centers’ roofs. These panels will contribute up to 40 percent of the centers’ annual electricity requirements, thereby significantly reducing our carbon footprint.

Sustainability goals

Since 2011, our parcels segment has designed and constructed sorting and delivery centers that can more efficiently process the rapid growth in parcels volume, which has been driven by the rise in e-commerce. These new centers have achieved an A+ energy label based on advanced building techniques, enabling us to lower both our energy requirements and decrease our carbon footprint. This focus on developing energy-efficient building solutions reflects both our stakeholders’ desire to develop sustainable solutions across all business segments, and our ongoing focus on our responsibility to society and the contribution we make to the community. We believe that one of the ways to make a positive contribution is to provide services and solutions that are as sustainable as possible.

Introducing solar energy to our sorting and delivery centers

One of the first innovations within our new sorting and delivery centers was the introduction of hi-tech sorting machines, which use electromagnetic and induction technologies to reduce friction during operation. This has resulted in huge efficiency benefits, with the machines using 75 percent less energy than those they replaced, cutting our electricity needs, carbon footprint, and costs. However, our goal is to continually look for ways to make our logistics operations more environmentally friendly. As a result, in 2016 we began installing 20,000 solar panels on the 19 new sorting and delivery centers. Funded in part through a subsidy from the Dutch government, which aims at stimulating the sustainable production of renewable energy, the solar panels will produce 40 percent of the centers’ energy requirements. We will fully fit 12 centers with panels over the course of 2016, with all 19 being completed in 2017. At PostNL, sustainable delivery means maintaining the highest quality standards while minimizing the impact of our deliveries on the environment. This means making our buildings greener and introducing energy-efficient technologies, whenever possible. We believe that the introduction of solar technology is another positive step toward realizing our sustainability ambitions.

About the Author

PostNL is a mail, parcel and e-commerce corporation with operations in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. It is listed at Euronext Amsterdam. Formerly a subsidiary of TNT N.V., it became an independent company upon TNT's demerger in May 2011. 

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect CSR Manager's editorial policy.
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