Net zero

Our net zero target is 2040. This ambition hugely accelerates our actions towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Our ambition

We will have a net zero carbon business by 2040. This target will be periodically reviewed and brought forward if possible.


Our commitments

We will:

  • Reduce the emissions associated with our business operations;
  • work with our suppliers and other partners to encourage the reduction of emissions across our value chain;
  • do our part in meeting the ambitions and commitments set out within the Paris Agreement; and address both the physical and transitional risks and opportunities associated with climate change for our business through appropriate mitigation and adaptation.

Royal Mail’s 90,000 posties walk over a billion steps a day, delivering to 31 million addresses. These ‘feet on the street’ help make the company the greenest option for delivering parcels, based on competitors’ reported emissions**. 

Yet the four-pillar Steps to Zero plan goes further, recognising the urgency of addressing climate change.  Each pillar features ambitious new commitments, including: 

  • Net Zero deliveries: Rolling out more electric vans for final mile deliveries, with 5,500 vans by Spring 2023
  • Net Zero operations: 100% renewable electricity across the Royal Mail business, reducing reliance on domestic flights and increasing the use of rail 
  • Making circular happen: Transforming operations to embrace the circular economy and helping our customers do the same through our Parcel Collect service 
  • Collaborating for action: Calling for standardised industry-wide reporting on CO2e per parcel so customers can make an informed decision, and collaborating with partners to speed up the roll out of electric and low emission vehicles across the UK

** When measured in terms of the CO2e emissions per parcel reported by the UK parcel delivery companies who currently publicly report these statistics.

Case study: Carbon neutral

Construction of Royal Mail’s second parcel hub is underway in the Midlands, UK. Scheduled for launch in 2023, the 840,000 square-foot facility will have capacity to process over one million parcels per day. We have been working with the developer and contractor to ensure that the building shell and fitout will be carbon neutral once built. We will compensate for the unavoidable carbon through a scheme to preserve rainforest, biodiversity and local communities in South America.

Read more about our Midlands parcel hub

Royal Mail Midlands Parcel Hub

Our progress

In FY2021-22, our total UK carbon footprint decreased by 2% ‘like for like’ from 613K tCO2e in the previous year to 604K tCO2e1. This is due mainly to a reduction in vehicle fuel use as a result of lower volumes during the peak period than the previous year and the deployment of almost 1,300 electric delivery vans. Normalised per £m revenue emissions remained the same as the prior year.

In 2020-21 the average parcel for Royal Mail (including Parcelforce) generated 221g CO2e per parcel or 205g CO2e per parcel for just the Royal Mail business. The average letter generated 25g CO2e.

Our Group carbon emissions and energy consumption performance for FY2021-22 and historical data is provided in our 2022 Non-Financial Data Pack which can be found here.

Our four-pillar Steps to Zero plan aims to achieve out net zero goal by:

Our final-mile deliveries by posties and delivery vehicles are the visible part of our environmental footprint. As the UK’s Universal Service Provider, we are required to deliver to every community across the UK. To support our operations we maintain large fleet of around 42,500 delivery vehicles, which represent 13% of our emission profile. We aim to reduce these emissions on our journey to net zero by:

  • Electrifying our delivery fleet
  • Optimising our use of on-foot deliveries
  • Using innovation to assess and implement new delivery models
  • Increasing the efficiency of our deliveries and the fuel used 

We have the UK’s largest electric fleet of any major UK parcel operator, with around 1,600 electric vans in service today and 5,500 expected by spring 2023.

The second pillar of Steps to zero focuses on our operations. This includes our domestic and international transport networks (owned and third-party) including rail and air freight and the emissions associated with running our building estate. These emissions represent 72% of our total emissions profile. 

We aim to reduce these emissions by:

  • Increasing alternative fuel use for our HGV vehicles
  • Increasing modal share of rail transport
  • Generating and purchasing 100% renewable electricity 
  • Reducing heating fuel use by 10%

Our Steps to zero plan also focuses on the adoption of a circular economy approach to enable a reduction in the volume of waste disposed by our customers and our own operations, reduce our overall use of new materials and provide services that promote a circular economy.

Royal Mail's targets are:

  • 25% reduction in the volume of waste generated by FY2030-2031
  • To undertake a complete review of packaging and single use resources by FY2022-23.

Accelerating global efforts to deliver emission reductions to avoid the most devastating global impacts of climate change cannot be achieved alone. We recognise the importance of collaborating with our workforce and unions, our regulators, governments, industry peers, industry groups, NGOs and our supply chain to achieve this goal by promoting the policies that are required for change and driving change through innovative partnerships.