Swiss Post at the cutting edge of climate action with long-term investment in First Climate’s biochar carbon removal program
Active commitment to climate action has played an important role at Swiss Post for years. The company set ambitious climate targets and takes many steps to avoid and reduce the emissions from its day-to-day operations. But the Swiss Post is particularly leading the way when it comes to dealing with its unavoidable emissions: In its collaboration with First Climate, it counts amongst only a few companies worldwide to invest in a forward-looking biochar program for long-term carbon storage to date.
As one of Switzerland’s largest employers, Swiss Post is many things: a logistics company, a transport company and a financial services provider. With this broad service portfolio, Swiss Post has leverage when dealing with the emissions from its business operations. The company takes responsibility for its business’ climate impact and has set ambitious reduction and climate targets across the entire company and had these validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
Swiss Post aims to be climate neutral in its own operations by 2030 and in its entire value chain by 2040.
To achieve this, Swiss Post is systematically switching to zero-emission electric vehicles for letter and parcel delivery. Already in Bern and Zurich, shipments are delivered without fossil fuels. In freight logistics and passenger transport, the company is also relying on alternative transport wherever it can. At the same time, Swiss Post is actively promoting the switch to fossil-free heating systems in its buildings. By 2040, Swiss Post aims to avoid or reduce at least 90% of its emissions and neutralize the rest.
Leading the Way: Long-Term Investment in Carbon Removal Biochar
The Swiss Post's climate strategy is ambitious. But particularly exceptional is the company’s plan for its remaining emissions once all its avoidance and reduction targets have been met. To remove these emissions from the atmosphere, Swiss Post is investing in biochar as a novel carbon removal technology under First Climate's Swiss biochar program. Swiss Post is one of the few companies in the world to have signed a long-term purchase agreement, demonstrating its commitment to climate action. The company will purchase removal credits from the biochar project from now through 2026.
For Nino Berta, Head of Technical Removal Solutions at First Climate, the plannability this kind of long-term strategy provides is crucial to further developing biochar’s carbon removal potential. “A company’s long-term commitment, like the Swiss Post’s, is essential. With this kind of support new climate technologies like biochar can be researched, further developed and turned from an idea into reality. Swiss Post's commitment sets an important precedent,” says the First Climate expert.
"With this kind of support new climate technologies like biochar can be researched, further developed and turned from an idea into reality." -Nino Berta, Head of Technica Removal Solutions at First Climate
Biochar in Swiss Post’s Climate Strategy
To reach its climate goal, Swiss Post faces the challenge of finding ways to remove thousands of tons of residual carbon emissions from the atmosphere each year and store them for the long term. To do this, the Swiss Post established the “CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removals) AG”, a company dedicated to investing in carbon removal projects. Biochar is a key technology for this, as CDR Managing Director Dr. Philipp Mäder explains: "We looked into a number of options. Biochar convinced us because of how it can permanently sequester carbon and because it is one of the few technologies in this field that is currently available and scalable.”
"Biochar convinced us [...] because it is one of the few technologies in this field that is currently available and scalable." -Dr. Philipp Mäder, Managing Director of Post CDR AG
Swiss Post purchases carbon removal credits from First Climate to support regional projects. The biochar is produced exclusively in Switzerland, primarily at First Climate’s project partner Inkoh’s site in Maienfeld, Graubünden, which has been producing high-quality biochar since 2020.
Background: Natural Carbon Storage for the Climate
Biochar is primarily composed of high-quality, pure carbon, which is sustainably obtained from residual biomass leftover from production. A wide variety of organic materials, such as wood residues, straw or green waste, can be used as feedstock to produce biochar. Biochar is created by heating the feedstock in the absence of oxygen in a process known as pyrolysis. In this process, carbon contained in the biomass is permanently bound in the resulting biochar charcoal.
Biochar’s climate benefit is due to the long-term storage of the carbon absorbed during plant growth. Using biochar - for example, by incorporating it into the soil or as an aggregate for building materials - makes it possible to store the sequestered carbon stably and sustainably for centuries, thereby actively removing it from the atmosphere.
First Climate has developed a method that makes it possible to measure and certify biochar’s climate benefits. As Swiss Post’s partner, the company is also responsible for regularly verifying and monitoring the biochar program's achieved carbon removals.
Further information on Swiss Post's climate strategy: https://www.post.ch/en/about-us/responsibility/corporate-responsibility/climate-and-energy
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