The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Home / case studies / Case study: How Royal Mail is reducing transport emissions

Case study: How Royal Mail is reducing transport emissions

As the UK’s pre-eminent delivery company, delivering letters and parcels to approximately 30 million addresses across the country, Royal Mail aims to be recognised as the best delivery company in the UK and across Europe. Investing in new technologies and long-term initiatives, such as changing driving styles, to reduce its carbon emissions is, thus, a top priority.

This case study is based on the 2016-17 Corporate Responsibility Report by Royal Mail published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

Layout 1


Reducing its environmental impact helps Royal Mail to cut operating costs, sustain a competitive business and engage its people more effectively.  Tweet This! In order to reduce transport emissions Royal Mail took action to:
  • change driving styles
  • invest in new vehicles
  • make its transport network more efficient

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016-17 Corporate Responsibility Report Royal Mail identified a range of material issues, such as community relations, customer service, employee relations, business integrity. Among these, reducing transport emissions stands out as a key material issue for Royal Mail.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Framework

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the principle of stakeholder inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Royal Mail engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Local communities

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Royal Mail engaged stakeholders, including customers, consumers, employees, unions, shareholders, suppliers and environmental representatives, through surveys, interviews and a stakeholder panel. Participants were asked to rank a variety of social, financial and environmental issues in terms of their importance for Royal Mail.

What actions were taken by Royal Mail to reduce transport emissions?

In its 2016-17 Corporate Responsibility Report Royal Mail reports that it took the following actions for reducing transport emissions:

  • Changing driving styles
  • Royal Mail uses telemetry and training to promote safer and more fuel efficient driving styles. Royal Mail’s telemetry system tracks drivers in real time, giving visible and audible warnings when they drive in a way that increases fuel consumption and emissions. In 2016-17, Royal Mail installed telemetry to around 2,900 vehicles and, today, 40 per cent of Royal Mail’s fleet is equipped with this technology. In 2016-17, telemetry saved Royal Mail approximately 1,751,105 litres of diesel, equating to 4,693 tonnes of CO2e. In addition, Royal Mail is collaborating with Pertemps, its driver training provider, on a new course that will help Royal Mail’s heavy fleet drivers use in-cab technology to improve safety and fuel efficiency.
  • Investing in new vehicles
  • In 2016-17 Royal Mail acquired 2,859 new vehicles, including 713 trucks and 2,146 smaller vans, which comply with the Euro 6 standard on commercial vehicle emissions. This standard aims to reduce levels of harmful exhaust emissions, such as oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and other pollutants. Additionally, Royal Mail replaced 233 single-deck trailers with 75 double-deck trailers that can transport more items per journey.
  • Making Royal Mail’s transport network more efficient
  • Royal Mail uses specialist technology to plan its transport networks for maximum efficiency, using a mix of road, rail and air. Royal Mail uses airmail only for First Class, Special Delivery and priority traffic obligations. Minimising the use of air transport, helps Royal Mail lower its CO2e emissions and reduce costs. In 2016-17, Royal Mail replaced air transport with road services on routes between Edinburgh and East Midlands, reducing associated CO2e emissions by approximately 2,000 tonnes annually.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 302-1 Energy consumption within the organization

2) Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption

3) Disclosure 305-5 Reduction of GHG emissions


Disclosure 302-1 Energy consumption within the organization corresponds to:

Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption corresponds to:

Disclosure 305-5 Reduction of GHG emissions corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Business theme: GHG emissions
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Business theme: Ocean acidification
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Business theme: Forest degradation


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

FBRH GRI Standards Certified and IEMA approved Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI-Standards Certified and IEMA approved Course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.



1) This case study is based on published information by Royal Mail, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:




Note to Royal Mail: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.