An Post is deeply rooted in the Irish economy and local communities. Their responsibility is to think about and plan for the future and ensure that they leave a positive mark in order to ensure a better world for future generations. That is reflected in our Purpose: “to act for the common good and to improve the quality of life in Ireland, now and for generations to come”.
Established in 1984, An Post is Ireland’s national postal operator serving 2.2 million addresses every working day and more than 1.7 million post office customers every week. An Post employs circa 9,800 people through our network of over 920 retail offices and 114 delivery service units, mails processing centres and other locations, making us one of Ireland’s largest companies. An Post comprises two world-class businesses; An Post Mails & Parcels and An Post Retail.
In conjunction with our partners in the European postal sector, we focus on five of the sector-relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), these are Decent work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SGD 11), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12) and Climate Action (SDG 13). We use these as a framework to guide our thinking and development of our strategy.
Aligning with An Post our purpose is to “act for the common good and to improve the quality of life in Ireland, now and for generations to come”, we have committed to ambitious carbon reduction targets. Our aim is to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% by 2025 and to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
An Post pursued the Mark to formally recognise the positive work that we do for our customers, colleagues, our communities and our environment. The Mark application and certification process helped to encourage continuous improvement in Sustainability across our organisation and identify areas in which we needed to make improvements as well as those in which we were business and industry leaders. It was also useful in maintaining a full-company approach to our business Transformation and Sustainability plan.
The process of preparing for and achieving the Mark required cross departmental collaboration which was overseen and led by Nicola Woods, An Post’s Chief Transformation Officer, who reports directly to An Post’s Chief Executive Officer David McRedmond. Having achieved the Mark, Nicola, continues to drive Sustainability at An Post, ensuring that it is embedded in every aspect of the organisation and in our strategic business planning.
The COVID-19 pandemic broke out during our Mark process and brought about new challenges and Sustainability initiatives for An Post. With a workforce of 9,800 employees, across a large number of sites, we were faced with the challenge of gathering a huge pool of information while working remotely during the preparation stages. By dedicating time to gather, process and centralise information from multiple departments, we were able to identify and close any gaps in our Sustainability policies and practices, strengthening our management system.
From the outset of the pandemic An Post stepped up and used our unique position in Irish society to keep us all connected through our Community Focus Initiatives which included free postcards to all households, check-ins on elderly and vulnerable members of society and SME discounts. We also kept Ireland trading through eCommerce and parcel delivery when non-essential Retail was shut. The Mark process supported An Post in formalising policies and procedures around this Initiative along with our charitable support, sponsorships, partnerships and sustainability commitments to our communities.
An Post’s Purpose is to act for the common good and to improve the quality of life in Ireland, now and for generations to come. The Mark has allowed An Post to centralise the reporting on the full range of Sustainability activities and initiatives which align to this purpose and gives our external stakeholders the necessary independent assurances that we are delivering on this.
Our top tip for companies who are beginning their Mark journey is to secure senior leadership buy-in and encourage collaboration across the company, with clear areas of responsibility and timelines. These elements area crucial for driving the Mark certification process.
Check out the other Business Working Responsibly Mark certified companies and learn more about the Mark.