Clean kilometres​

While the majority of our last-mile mail delivery is done on bike and by foot, inter sorting-centre transport is carried out by large trucks, while for last-mile parcel delivery we use medium-sized delivery vans. And given that, on an average day, we transport mail, parcels and goods over 1.1 million kilometres across the Benelux, we are focusing on increasing the share of renewable fuels we use and expanding the electrification of our owned and leased fleet across our networks. As both initiatives contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, this helps reduce air pollution, which is an increasing problem in urban areas.

Emission-free last-mile mail delivery to over 95% of Dutch addresses

In 2022 we received the last of 600 three-wheel electric scooters that are replacing petrol scooters in our mail delivery network, a significant milestone. By year end this helped us deliver 78% of everything that fits through the letterbox emission-free in the last mile, based on kilometres travelled. In terms of the percentage of households we deliver to emission-free across the Netherlands, we reached 96% by the end of the year. This is because the 22% of deliveries that are not yet emission-free take place by car predominantly in rural areas, where we have to travel much further between addresses. 

We are working hard to increase emission-free delivery in rural areas to further increase the percentage of households we deliver to emission-free across the Netherlands, and in 2023 expect to take ownership of over 180 electric cars to help achieve this. In total, switching from petrol to e-scooters saves us more than 300,000 litres of fuel per year, cutting our annual CO2 emissions by around than 725 tons. As well as cutting our carbon emissions, this switch also contributes to better air quality.

Making partners more sustainable

One of our priorities to help cut our carbon footprint is reducing our scope 3 emissions, which involves cooperating with our partners along the supply chain. One way to achieve this is by helping delivery partners switch from diesel to electric vans. By the end of 2022, 13 electric vans were being used by delivery partners, while a further 64 were on order. This is an important first step to understand how we can help our delivery partners best accelerate their transition to e-vehicles in the upcoming years.

During the year we also introduced a pilot in which four large truck delivery partners switched to renewable (HVO100) diesel from fossil diesel. HVO100 produces 90% less CO2 emissions during its life cycle compared to fossil diesel. The pilot was a success, and we aim to have 45 large truck delivery partners using HVO100 in 2023.

Sustainable delivery

We began delivering parcels in the Dutch city of The Hague using light electric freight vehicles (LEFVs). As well as being emission-free and quiet, LEFVs are also narrow and manoeuvrable, resulting in reduced congestion compared to vans. The vehicles use less electricity than electric vans. LEFVs can also carry up to three roll containers, which can be smart-packed at the sorting centre and loaded directly onto the vehicle at the city hub. This means the parcels are unloaded efficiently during the delivery run.

Transporting parcels and letters by rail after 25 years

We were proud to announce in 2022 that after a 25-year break we have started transporting parcels and letters by rail, sending a weekly container from the Netherlands to Oslo, Norway. We expect the route to cut CO2 emissions by 70% annually versus transport by plane or truck, which equates to around 30 tons of CO2.

PostNL partnered with Chargetrip in Econnections programme

Econnections is a sustainable innovation programme for the e-commerce sector, which PostNL joined in 2021 alongside companies such as, Ikea and Google Cloud. The programme was established to support fledgling innovative companies develop and scale-up sustainable online shopping solutions.

In 2022, Econnections selected seven scale-ups, each of which has a proven solution that meets the challenges of one of the programme partners. While a number of the pilots are still ongoing, we saw some great results during the year. PostNL partnered with Chargetrip, a company that is creating simulation tools aimed at helping PostNL and our delivery partners increase the number of electric vans on the road. The tools will provide insights on improving fleet management, while helping to reduce range anxiety for delivery partners.