ESG as a license to operate

Sustainable development has become an ongoing discussion topic with stakeholders. Where environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics were viewed as part of our corporate responsibility, today they are more integrated in discussions on short- and long-term value creation. ESG has become a license to operate and stakeholders expect our longer term sustainable development to be part of our strategy.

Making an impact together

As the relevance of ESG has increased, the scope of our focus has broadened from our own operations to the impact we have along our entire value chain. The result is that we need to take additional action, working with our partners to tackle a broad range of topics. If we are to develop sustainably, we need to make an impact together. This is why we have linked our ESG agenda to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically the SDG sub-targets, which helps us focus on those areas where can make a material impact.


Strategically, our main focus is on climate change mitigation by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our own operations and our outsourced activities. We actively steer on our quantified long-term science-based targets through four focus areas. We are also engaging with stakeholders and taking action to cut our air, land and water pollution; improve our connection to the circular economy; develop an approach towards climate change adaptation and promote biodiversity; and make our cities more liveable by cutting emissions from delivery transport.

For example, we continue to invest in decarbonising our operations and look for ways to accelerate this, not only for our own fleet, but also through collaboration with our logistics partners on both electrification and renewable fuels. Since 1 January 2022 we are offsetting any remaining carbon emissions from our own transport and that of our delivery partners, cutting our footprint to net zero. This is an important step on our journey to delivering emission-free in the last mile across the Benelux by 2030.

One aspect of accelerating our transition to a lower-carbon business is by focusing on making our network more efficient and cutting the number of kilometres we drive. One way to achieve this is by reducing air in parcels. The smaller the parcel, the more we can fit in our vehicles, which improves transport efficiency and sustainability.

To safeguard the progress we make across our operations, we have implemented an environmental management system that is ISO:14001 certified for all our locations. More information can be found in the 'Environmental value'chapter.


Our societal impact comes from our role as a major employer and our corporate citizenship. Our people create our success, and we want our people to feel engaged and motivated to work with or for us, whether they are employed by PostNL directly or work for delivery partners. This is why we focus on providing people with a safe place to work, and do everything we can to keep our people healthy. We also want to be a company for everyone, and diversity and inclusion is a core element in our social policy.

Diversity and inclusion are also integral elements of PostNL. We work hard to ensure gender equality across the company, one element of which is ensuring that, for example through collective labor agreements, people are paid the same wage for the same work. This should lead to the removal of a gender pay gap. At the same time, respecting Human Rights is an important precondition to being both a sustainable company and good employer. This is why we are committed to protecting and advancing Human Rights and work vigorously to protect people against infringements of Human Rights in our operations.

Yet Human Rights is not only very important for PostNL, it is also becoming an increasingly relevant topic for our partners in the value chain. Stakeholders expect large companies to identify risks and develop mitigation plans to improve on important issues in relation to the impact made on people across society. Our social connection includes working with people who have a distance to the labour market, while our social sponsorships help people remain connected to society. More information can be found in the 'Social value' chapter.


Corporate governance is about sound business management. At PostNL, we operate a two-tier governance structure with a Board of Management entrusted with executive management, including execution of our strategy and operational management. They are under the supervision of an independent Supervisory Board. Each Board is accountable to the general meeting of shareholders for the performance of its duties. More information can be found in the 'Corporate governance' chapter.

We view ESG as our license to operate