FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) said Wednesday it plans to reach carbon neutrality across its global delivery network by 2040, and as part of that strategy the Memphis, Tennessee-based company will transition to a fully electrified surface transport fleet by that time.
In addition, FedEx said it will spend $100 million to establish the Center for Natural Carbon Capture at Yale University, the alma mater of Frederick W. Smith, FedEx’s founder, chairman and CEO. The center will be tasked with developing methods to extract and store existing carbon emissions from the atmosphere, an effort considered as important but more costly and complex than preventing greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere in the first place.
“The path toward sustainability requires new strategies for removing and storing Earth’s excess carbon,” FedEx said in a statement announcing the broad-based program.
According to a 2019 analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a division of The Economist, even with aggressive action to reduce carbon emissions, the world will still need to remove about 10 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year by mid-century, and 20 billion tons of carbon each year by 2100 to hold global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
FedEx acknowledged that its undertaking is ambitious because it pulls forward the company’s previous timetables for reaching carbon neutrality. It will also face the challenge of reducing its carbon footprint at a time when a surge in e-commerce deliveries is putting more vehicles on the road than ever before.
“The entire shipping and logistics industry needs to step up and look at ways to take responsibility for our growing impact, and FedEx’s pledge is a step in the right direction,” said Dennis Oates, a former FedEx executive and chief logistics officer of e-commerce delivery firm Sendle. “As e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down, even after (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions end globally, it’s a commitment to change that can’t come fast enough.”