Carbon neutral delivery explained: putting the balance back into the planet

What does ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘carbon offset’ actually mean? And why is it important that we understand? Here, we break down these familiar terms and look at why we should always get behind carbon neutral deliveries.

It’s no secret that carbon emissions are one of the main causes of pollution and climate change. At Australia Post, we are committed to treading softly and minimising our environmental footprint on the planet. In fact, we are one of the largest Australian businesses with a validated ‘science-based target’ to aim to reduce Scopes 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent by 2025.

So, what exactly does ‘carbon neutral delivery’ mean and why is it so important that we do our bit? Read our comprehensive guide to learn more.

What does carbon neutral delivery mean?

Although it’s easy not to think about it, whenever we send or receive a parcel or item of post, it has a carbon footprint. This includes the amount of carbon used in creating the packaging, in the processing of the parcel at the Post Office, and then when it’s sent and delivered—whether it catches a ride by car, truck, train or plane.

To send a parcel carbon neutral is a matter of maths. The amount of carbon used to send the parcel needs to be reduced and balanced to the point of net zero. So how do we do this? Although not quite as easy as it sounds, there are two ways we meet this challenge head on:

1. Reducing emissions

One of the ways that we are making it possible to lessen the environmental impact of parcel deliveries is by reducing our emissions as a business. As part of our wider commitment to build a sustainable future, we have set ourselves the target of reducing our carbon emissions by 15 per cent by 2025 (from a FY19 baseline).

Some of the ways we are successfully reducing emissions are by growing our electric delivery fleet; generating more of our own solar electricity and investing in renewable electricity; and working closely with Qantas to reduce the emissions of air freight which are a large part of our emissions profile. The more we can decarbonise our operations, and those of partners who help deliver your parcels, the less we need to offset.

2. Carbon offsetting

Any remaining carbon emissions that haven’t been reduced can be offset. In partnership with the Qantas Future Planet program, we ensure parcels—where postage is paid via the Post Office, Online Shop, or MyPost Business account—are sent carbon neutral1.  For each delivery we make, Australia Post calculates how much carbon is emitted and we then purchase the equivalent number of carbon credits from the program. 

These credits are used to fund important and innovative environmental and community projects in Australia and around the world.

Why does Australia Post partner with the Qantas Future Planet program?

The Qantas Future Planet program supports a range of environmental projects that work towards protecting and regenerating some of our precious ecosystems and communities.
Here are some of the meaningful ways you’re helping to support sustainability when you send a parcel carbon neutral with us:

1. Protecting native rainforests around the world

Our carbon offsets invest in projects across the globe that protect native forests. From South America to Africa and Oceania, the work of the Qantas Future Planet is helping save millions of hectares of rainforest from being destroyed—often by burning, which would otherwise produce millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.

Preserving the forests allows them to play their role in stabilising climate change by absorbing harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. At the same time, the habitats of millions of plant and wildlife species are being saved, including endangered creatures such as the jaguar and bird of paradise.

2. Investing in clean energy projects

Through our carbon offsets, you are helping us invest in all the benefits of renewable energy projects in Asia. Wind and solar farms are being introduced to local communities reducing their reliance on fossil fuel. The projects reduce carbon emissions while also helping the community with cleaner local air, stable electricity and numerous job opportunities.

3. Supporting First Nations fire management projects

On Australian soil, our carbon offsets support the Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (ALFA) project. The Aboriginal owned not-for-profit is a carbon farming business based in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Working with local Traditional Aboriginal Owners and rangers, they combine traditional methods of fire control with modern technology.

Their strategic fire management program of early burning is designed to prevent large wildfires that can be catastrophic to the environment, wildlife and places of cultural significance.

4. Boosting the Australian bush

There’s nothing like the Aussie bush. To help protect the Australian bushland and wildlife we all love, our carbon offset dollars are going towards native forest regeneration projects. These projects are working with local landholders to prevent the widespread problem of land clearing—practice that can cause issues with invasive species, the degradation of soil, increased carbon emissions and loss of vegetation affecting climate change.

Why is carbon neutral parcel delivery so important?

Whenever we fill up our online shopping basket, we often don’t think about the environmental toll it may have in getting to us. Transport and shipping for instance, is one of the biggest contributors of carbon emissions. Transport alone accounts for one-fifth of the global CO2 emissions in the world and accelerates climate change2.

The effects we are already experiencing in Australia have devastating results. To help save our precious Australian environment as we know it, it is important to reduce emissions and support carbon neutral delivery. Already, since 2019, we have offset the carbon emissions of over 200 million parcels—equivalent to taking 117,000 cars off the road—or roughly 280,000 tonnes of emissions.

Through the Qantas Future Planet program, we have helped regenerate and protect thousands of hectares of native bush and wildlife across Australia. When you send an eligible parcel1 with us, you can have peace of mind knowing that we are committed to reducing your carbon footprint. 

Learn more about all the ways we’re helping to build a more sustainable society.

1 Carbon offset for international parcel deliveries is to the international hub only.

2 Our World in Data - Cars, planes, trains: where do CO2 emissions from transport come from?