United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS)

Synchronizing the world of commerce

Sunday 2 June 2013, by Ariane, Ashley, Jian Sun, sara pino

8 inspired

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

UPS is a company whose sole purpose is to provide people worldwide with the most efficient and up-to-date logistics and distribution services. One day of work logs about 15.8 million shipments and 7.9 customers. Located all over, yet primarily in the United States and Europe, UPS reaches its customers through air, sea, ground and rail transportations. Other than providing the public with ways to make shipping easier, UPS also specializes in all aspects of business including: international trade, technical repairs, and strategic planning.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Being a company that serves countries worldwide, it is important that UPS provides the best possible service that meets everyone’s needs. To be sure that this is made possible, the United Parcel Service Inc. makes it their focus to address four major areas of sustainability: environment, workplace, marketplace, and community.

The main way in which UPS provides consumers and other companies with information on how they are and others can be sustainable in the marketplace is through the use of logistics. UPS provides other companies with the option to use their employees, workspace, network, and transportation so that their business experience is smooth and efficient.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

1. UPS puts the community first

Some of UPS´s main focus points are the community and its diversity. First, it is a goal of UPS to make sure that the workforce, its suppliers, and its shareholders feel safe as possible. We believe that all people deserve equal rights and UPS is promoting this sort of work environment by protecting their employees from discrimination of race, gender, sex, and religion. Another way in which UPS puts people first, is by providing them with an opportunity to further their education. Workers and people of the community are provided with options like scholarship funds and employment benefits where UPS will pay for college classes. This gives opportunities to those who would not have had the chance to continue or even begin their studies.

We think that in order to help people, it is important to contribute hours directly instead of just giving money to charities. UPS tries to introduce this value to their employees by requesting that they perform at least eighty hours of volunteer work per year. These hours in the past years have included working with relief agencies and providing locations in need with Logistics Emergency Teams, or just by doing work with people through the ‘United Way.’

2. UPS works to protect the Environment

Regarding the environmental aspects, UPS has been awarded for being an ethical company on many occasions. It is placed in the rankings of: Fortune Magazine - World’s Most Admired Companies (#1 in Mail, Package, and Freight Delivery Industry); Boston College Center - Corporate Citizenship (#3 Corporate Social Responsibility Index) and many more relevant awards.
UPS is admired for having a sustainable production, for their Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy (carbon avoidance & neutral shipping) and other great achievements.
To achieve this, UPS has the best technology, an optimized transportation network, a fuel-efficient transport mode and they use renewable energies. UPS has a green fleet composed of more than 2,500 vehicles, using always a variety of alternative fuels and other advanced technologies.
UPS also promotes an employee engagement through which they make them aware of environmental policies they have and also promote this behaviors in their private lives.
Transparency is very important to be able to dream about UPS; they do annual reports to show it and they also prove it through many other ways. What is more, they receive annual evaluations from external parties, such as Deloitte, Touche and SGS. 

Indeed, UPS does not only focus on fuels but also on water scarcity affecting a significant number of locations in which they have facilities and operate. For this reason they participate in the Global Water Tool, which enables them to design and implement helpful strategies in water-sensitive places. For example, the Global Water Stewardship program allows them to be transparent, reduce their water consumptions and improve conservation, engagement and awareness around the world.

In order to transmit their values and business conduct in all countries UPS operated in, they developed a Code of Business conduct which all the employees and representatives of the company must accept and commit with. UPS wants everyone in the organization to maintain a role in protecting the environment and reduce its negative impacts.

Indeed, this desire to “leave a mark” is not only for UPS employees but also for customers, since the company wants them to demonstrate its concern for the environment. In order to do this, UPS encourages customers to package their shipments for transportation according to the “Eco Responsible Packaging” rules. These tell users how to package items in the smallest way possible so that they may not be damaged, and so that they use materials that can be recycled. In 2011 UPS bought 44,000 tons of packaging paper, 75% of which was from recycled materials, and then these materials were sold to customers for them to use it in their shipments.

Apart from that, the company supports forestry preservation and reforestation efforts around the world by locating and managing facilities to minimize the negative impacts on biodiversity. They also work with government authorities to prevent the transportation of invasive species.
Another essential aspect of UPS’s management approach to the environment is the continual contribution to society’s public discussion about environmental sustainability. For instance, the company participates in public policy forums, where issues such as prudent innovations and investment in new technologies are treated.

As said before, the company is concerned about influencing external parties with their values and sustainable strategies. Therefore, they also help other businesses to become more sustainable by handling their customers’ shipping and logistics activities more cost-effectively and resource-efficiently than they could do it themselves. In 2012 UPS had the honour of being the official logistics provider of the Olympic Games in London, in which they used the global reach and local knowledge in logistics to undertake a huge challenge: to help deliver the greenest games of modern times.

D. The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

We think that the two main business challenges that UPS may face in the future are the decreasing amounts of oil and recyclable paper. 

First, oil is a nonrenewable resource that decreases in amount each time it is extracted. As this happens, the cost of each liter or gallon increases. For UPS, this is extremely bad as their services rely primarily on the use of trucks and airplanes. Consequently, UPS will have to increase the cost of its services for customers or it will receive less profits. In order to deal with this, we believe that UPS should change its fleet of trucks from gas to hybrid. This may seem more expensive, but UPS will save lots and will continue to show support for the environment. Also by changing all their trucks to efficient forms of transportation, UPS will push past its main competitor, FedEx.

The second challenge UPS may run into in the future is the inconsistent amount of paper provided. We stated above that UPS recycles 75% of the paper they use, but what will happen when the paper deteriorates after too many uses? This will cause UPS to have to cut down more trees in order to get the amount of paper needed for 15.8 million shipments a day. Or UPS will have to invest alternative packaging materials. Since other packaging materials like plastic are not recommended, we believe the best way to help this issues is to continue making contributions to forestry re-growth. For example, for every package UPS could charge one cent extra and give each extra cent to fund the replanting of trees. Also, UPS should continue their green tactics and inspire customers to recycle more.



Location: Atlanta (United States of America)

Sector: Transportation and storage

Official website: http://www.ups.com

Key figures:

2012 Annual Revenue: 54.1 billion US dollars
2012 Annual Profit: 3.8 billion US dollars
Employees: 397,100 Worldwide (322,100 US; 75,00 International)
Countries of operations: Greater than 220 countries and territories.
2012 Delivery Volume: 4.1 billion documents and packages delivered
Daily Delivery Volume: 16.3 million documents and packages delivered
Daily U.S. Air Volume: 2.3 documents and packages delivered
Daily International Volume: 2.4 million documents and packages delivered

Nbr. visits: 4367

Nbr. inspires: 8