Special Delivery

UPS believes biodiesel is critical to environmental stewardship
By Bryan Sims | January 12, 2011

Its slogan, “What Can Brown Do For You?” may be a fitting open-ended description for the global customer base it serves when it comes to its respected parcel delivery services, but UPS is also facilitating the movement of environmental and sustainable awareness through its philanthropic funding arm, The UPS Foundation.

In November, The UPS Foundation doled out nine grants totaling approximately $2 million dedicated to environmental programs and organizations worldwide, all of which address issues of climate change, renewable energy, resource conservation and other environmental causes that are championed by UPS volunteers. The UPS Foundation added environmental sustainability to its official philanthropic focus areas in 2008.

The Earth Day Network was awarded $200,000 to help fund its new Sustainable Transportation Project, which is a K-12 education initiative that includes curricula that provide sustainable transportation lesson plans, pilot tests of school-based biodiesel production facilities at four schools, and a corresponding media communication campaign.

According to UPS spokeswoman Ronna Branch, the projects will also be documented and shared with a worldwide audience on Earth Day TV and other venues, to showcase EDN’s advocacy of biodiesel and its environmental benefits. “It’s our responsibility to do not only our part in reducing the amount of effects that we have on the environment, but to also try and encourage new projects like the EDN that can help better the environment,” Branch says.

Previously, the EDN was awarded $150,000 from The UPS Foundation in 2009 to help fund its “No Idling” campaign, which involved developing curriculums for teachers to teach their students about the environmental effects of idling a vehicle versus turning a vehicle off in car pool, school bus and other forms of transportation, to reduce harmful emissions. “[This most recent grant] is a continuing partnership that we have with them,” Branch says. “The Sustainable Transportation Project is the next step in that.”

Since 2008, The UPS Foundation has donated $9.3 million to 138 environmental organizations. Grants are provided to both U.S. and international organizations, with local grants recommended by UPS employee committees.

“Not only do we provide the opportunity for our employees to apply for grants in the organizations they take part in, but we also look for recommendations on ones we should give larger grants to, that make the greatest impact on the environment,” Branch says.

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