In the wake of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the impetus to reduce the environmental impact of economies has seen the minister for public businesses Petra De Sutter (Green) announce structural changes to Belgium’s biggest public employer, Bpost.
In the coming nine years, the company aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 60% and will introduce a number of measures, outlined in a ‘Durability Charter’, to hit this target. Some of these are quite obvious – electrifying its fleet of delivery vehicles and ensuring that post offices and depots are located strategically. Other proposals are a little less orthodox – notably the proposal to link the bonuses of managers to climate objectives, Belga News Agency reports.
Announcing the new initiatives in a press release on Tuesday, De Sutter states that shortly before the pandemic struck in 2019, ‘CO2 emissions from Bpost delivery vans, heating, and other sources amounted to 76 kilotonnes (1kt = 1 million tonnes). If no measures are taken our experts calculate that these will grow by at least 35% by 2030.’
And although the quantities of letters delivered continues to decline year on year – a global trend as the instant facility of emails supplants the physical format – the volume of packages delivered by the company is rising rapidly, accelerated by the e-commerce boom occasioned by the pandemic. De Sutter highlighted this sharp increase: ‘In 2010, all postal operators – not just Bpost – delivered 72 million packages. Ten years later this figure has gone up to around 336 million.’
To cope with this explosion in quantity, the number of delivery vehicles has had to grow as well; the minister stated the ambition that ‘by 2030, they will all run on green electricity.’
Company performance and value added are, in many businesses, variables used to calculate managerial bonuses. Now, De Sutter announced, major public companies Bpost and Proximus (telecommunications) will take into account environmental objectives when rewarding managers with bonuses.
Although the exact metrics used for these calculations are still being decided, the Green Party minister told Parliament on Tuesday that “the ambition is clear: to establish a link between sustainability, CO2 reduction, and remuneration.”
De Sutter clarified that most managers receive a base salary that is supplemented by bonuses for short- and long-term performance. “From 2022 at Bpost, this bonus will also depend on ecological targets that have been hit.” Discussions are ongoing with the management as to what percentage of bonuses these sustainability targets will account for.