Sustainability Over Time: A Look Through the Years

Enduring Focus

Since UPS was founded, we've been finding ways to save energy, conserve resources, and reduce waste--all while operating more than 100,000 vehicles, more than 2,800 facilities, and one of the world's top 10 airlines. We've recycled 35.4 million pounds of waste since 2000, and we don't plan on stopping any time soon.

From how often we wash our package cars, to how we built our corporate headquarters, our focus on sustainability continues to influence company operations on a daily basis. Take a look at our history through a green lens to learn about our environmental achievements over the years.

Early Beginnings

UPS Electric Fleet

  • 1913 - Six years after the company was founded, we begin consolidating shipments to cut down on fuel usage.
  • 1933 - Our first foray into alternative fuel vehicles is launched with an electric fleet in New York.
  • 1966 - Rail gets added to our transportation options.
  • 1980 - We take another step forward with alternate fuel and introduce propane engines to our fleet.
  • 1989 - Fuel conservation takes the forefront again as we begin using compressed natural gas engines.

The 90s

UPS Corporate Headquarters

  • 1990 - Our corporate headquarters are relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. Instead of towering over our surroundings in a skyscraper, we wanted our headquarters to be part of the landscape, in addition to being an enjoyable place to work. The resulting 623,000-square-foot campus is surrounded by hundreds of trees and includes a nature trail that winds its way around the property.
  • 1991 - The first Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD) is developed and deployed, helping to remove countless sheets of paper from the package delivery process.

  • 1995 - Our corporate office is recognized as a wildlife sanctuary by the National Wildlife Federation, making us the first corporation in Georgia to receive this award.
  • 1995 - We change our policy for washing delivery vehicles--only washing them as needed, instead of every day--saving 365 million gallons of water annually.
  • 1998 - Hybrid gas/electric engines are introduced in our fleet.
  • 1998 - We introduce the industry's first Reusable Next Day Air envelope, which is bleach-free and made of 100 percent recycled fiber.

2000 and Beyond

Watch: UPS carbon neutral

  • 2000 - We become the first company in the industry to use liquified natural gas engines in our fleet.
  • 2008 - We switch to a paperless invoice system--an industry first--for international shipments (so far, we've saved 150 million sheets of paper).
  • 2009 - The UPS carbon neutral program is launched, allowing companies to help reduce their carbon footprint and offset the environmental impact of their shipping.

  • 2011 - We expand the carbon neutral program to 36 countries worldwide, including China, Puerto Rico, and France.
  • 2012 - We become the first in the industry to receive both a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and an Energy Star certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for our corporate headquarters complex. The Energy Star award certifies that our complex operates more efficiently than 75 percent of similar buildings in the U.S.
  • 2013 - 100 fully electric commercial vehicles are deployed in California, starting a larger effort to achieve widespread deployment of zero emission vehicles throughout the state.
  • 2014 - By the end of this year, we will operate 3,300 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide with a variety of hybrid, electric, and natural gas technologies.