That is why the theme of our 2021 Sustainability Report is “to make sustainable living commonplace”. And sustainable living means decent work, good climate, biodiversity, innovation to improve our world, financial inclusion, and fairness. It is about making sure that we do all we can to improve this country and leave a mark we are proud of.
Why is this the job of a postal service? I am not sure I can answer why, but every day in An Post I can feel the instinctive commitment of my colleagues to do the right thing. We act for the common good. And as one of the most widely distributed workforces in the State, the people of An Post can make a real difference.
That is why our sustainability strategy begins with “Decent Work”, the Company’s commitment to provide good employment. We ended 2021 with the Pension Fund in surplus by [€440m], a major resource for communities across the Island. We also launched The Green Institute An Post’s training and development programme to develop the skills and talents for the long-term. And in 2021 we became the first major company or institution in the State to eliminate the gender pay gap. We are public in our commitment to equal rights for LGBTQ staff; and we do not see disability as a barrier with 4.4% of An Post staff declaring disability.
Our visible promotion of climate action through our electric fleet provides a lead for other transport-centric companies, and a green “zero emissions” van or trike is an easy way to understand climate action. In 2021 we became the first postal service in the world to have zero emissions postal service in all its cities.
Financial inclusion and fairness coming out of the Pandemic is a cornerstone for our Post Office network. An Post Money is a suite of financial services that apply the best inclusivity features, with the Green Hub being the most direct way to help our customers lead sustainable living. Supporting SMEs with special discounts during Covid was an example of how An Post can support a sustainable economy. As more refugees come to Ireland providing them with free bank accounts and a home address through AddressPoint, accelerates inclusion.
Many other initiatives such as protecting biodiversity, reducing packaging, and sourcing responsibly add to a holistic approach to sustainability.
I want to thank Nicola Woods Chief Transformation Officer for leading An Post’s sustainability strategy, our Unions who are our sustainability partners, and our many employees across the company making sure that An Post is “leaving a mark we are proud of”.