The response of An Post’s staff to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated, better than any report or statistic, a deep commitment to sustainable living: to look after our most vulnerable, to stand with the elderly, to unite communities in solidarity with the State, and to deliver an essential infrastructure to every home, community, town and city in our country.
Our sustainability strategy is visible every day. The big commitment to replace the biggest fleet in the country with electric vehicles can be seen on the streets of Ireland’s cities. We have made explicit the commitment to have a Post Office in every community (defined as over 500 population). And regardless of where someone lives they have a world class delivery service. Our employees are rightly proud of the community initiatives from Address Point (a secure personal address for people who are homeless) to free deliveries to and from care homes. And an understanding that cultural life is essential to sustainable living, we have extended our sponsorship of the Irish Book Awards in tandem with our passion for literacy through the National Adult Literacy Agency and the Imagination Library.
But we have much more to do to realise our vision of an Island where sustainable living can be commonplace. Green Hub is a great example of combining our commercial role, in this case selling financial services, with a commitment to sustainability by helping our customers retrofit their homes. In 2020 our carbon emissions, despite the rapid fleet replacement, actually increased due to the exceptional volumes of parcels being delivered. But we are steadfast that the commitment to be carbon neutral which we brought forward from 2050 to 2030 will be met. We also have much work to do on the circular economy: how to work with suppliers as online shopping grows exponentially to ensure less waste and lower energy usage. And if big moves and good ideas characterised the start of our sustainability journey, innovation will be the essential characteristic to increase momentum.
And finally my own commitment to Decent Work has been forged by the great employees in An Post and by their Unions. The right to a decent job with good terms and conditions is fundamental to a sustainable society. An Post will continue to fight against the excesses of the gig economy, and in contrast promote the dignity and respect of the postal profession, both for the sake of employees and customers. We will adapt to a new changing world with hybrid work policies, using the best technology, and driving efficiency in all we do. But above all to be human. That, to us, is sustainability.