One-of-a-kind coalition awarded for tackling transportation emissions Clean50 Top Project recipient seeks to reduce impact of urban deliveries

Blog - Oct. 5, 2021 - By Pembina Institute

From left to right: Chen Goel (Fresh City Farms), Chad Schella (Canada Post), Mary de Guzman (Purolator), Aylin Lusi (UPS Canada), Carolyn Kim (Pembina Institute), Dilhari Fernando (Canada Post), Scott Watson (Canada Post), Josha MacNab (Pembina Institute). 

Through the Urban Delivery Solutions Initiative (UDSI), competing companies are finding common ground to reduce emissions and improve the environment for the sake of all Canadians and, ultimately, for that of the planet. 

The UDSI, a first-of-its-kind coalition of businesses, clean-energy providers, fleet operators, and policy experts that was launched by the Pembina Institute in 2020, has been awarded with a prestigious Canada’s Clean50 Top 20 Project Award. 

"It is our hope that by telling the story of what your team has accomplished, we will indeed inspire others to replicate your success – in another city, at another company, or even in another country. And perhaps even improve upon it,” Clean50 award organizers said in explaining their decision to honour UDSI. “Your results and your story will become part of the narrative that will help Canadians better understand the opportunities inherent in a low-carbon economy."

Clean50 annually recognizes Canadian leaders in environmental sustainability for their work over the two preceding years. The Top 20 Projects are those that demonstrate a superior ability to inform and inspire other Canadians to take active roles in expanding clean technology and renewable energy.

The transportation sector is second only to oil and gas in terms of emissions generated and, in Canada, freight accounts for almost half of all transportation-related GHGs. Tailpipe emissions from urban delivery vehicles are significant contributors to climate change and to the pollutants that create smog.

The number of doorstep deliveries is increasingsignificantly in every city across Canada. The Pembina Institute recognized that the delivery industry needed to be a partner in finding solutions to this emerging environmental threat. When companies in the sector were broached about creating a coalition to work collectively on reducing urban-freight emissions, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Today, UDSI has 12 partners including founding members Purolator, Canada Post, and UPS Canada. 

The Clean50 awards have been symbols of environmental leadership since they were first handed out in 2011, and Pembina has been a recipient on two previous occasions.

The UDSI promotes the switch from combustion-engine delivery trucks to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including electric vans and cargo electric bikes. The coalition also helps create the infrastructure required to support growth in ZEVs, and puts forward recommendations for better practices in curbside management.

Through UDSI, fleet operators are  provided tools and resources to reduce emissions, and governments at all levels are kept informed about policies and practices that will achieve results. In this way, a strong low-carbon freight community is being created.

Kim Rapagna, director of Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Policy at Canada Post, said her corporation “is committed to reducing the impact of urban delivery and recognizes that industry collaboration is the only way to solve this issue.”

And Cindy Bailey, director and head of Corporate Sustainability at Purolator said her company “is dedicated to growing our fleet of zero-emission vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Canada achieve a net-zero economy by 2050.”

UDSI partners employmore than 100,000 Canadians, operate more than 24,000 vehicles from coast-to-coast, anddelivered billions of packages and goods globally in 2019. 

“Sustainable urban freight is a key component to creating healthy and vibrant cities,” says Carolyn Kim, Pembina Institute’s regional director for Ontario and founder of the UDSI. “How well we work together to scale up low-carbon solutions to deliver a safe climate – whether technology, policy, or business practices – will be a true indicator of future success.”

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