Shipper FedEx has announced a goal to achieve carbon–neutral operations globally by 2040, including electrifying its global parcel pickup and delivery fleet.

It is spending over US$2bn initially investment in three key areas: vehicle electrification, sustainable energy, and carbon sequestration. 

This includes a pledge of $100m to Yale University to help establish the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture, accelerating research into methods of carbon sequestration at scale, with an initial focus on helping to offset greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to current airline emissions (FedEx has a large fleet of aircraft).   

By 2040, the entire FedEx parcel pickup and delivery (PUD) fleet will be zero emission electric vehicles. This will be accomplished through phased programmes to replace existing vehicles. By 2025, 50% of global PUD vehicle purchases will be electric, rising to 100%.

FedEx will also work with customers to offer end-to-end sustainability for their supply chains through carbon–neutral shipping and sustainable packaging.

It will continue to invest in alternative fuels to reduce aircraft and vehicle emissions.

Yale centre researchers will develop methods that build on natural carbon storage systems, including biological ecosystems and the geological carbon cycle, improving, where possible, how quickly carbon can be absorbed, how much can be contained, and how long it can be stored. Through these efforts, scientists aim to create a portfolio of carbon removal strategies that have impacts on a global scale.  

The FedEx commitment builds on a history of sustainable practices. Since 2009, the company's efforts have contributed to an approximately 40% reduction in CO2 emissions intensity across the enterprise while package volume increased 99% during that period.

"While we've made great strides in reducing our environmental impact, we have to do more. The long-term health of our industry is directly linked to the health of the planet, but this effort is about more than the bottom line – it's the right thing to do," said chief sustainability officer Mitch Jackson

"We have a responsibility to take bold action in addressing climate challenges," added chairman and CEO Frederick Smith.