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People, Places & Parks Thought Leader Uncategorized

Collaboration is the Key to a Healthy World

by Tamara Barker, UPS Chief Sustainability Officer

From our global headquarters in Sandy Springs, we can now see the traffic on 400. Although our LEED Gold-certified campus includes 33 acres of woods, when a wide swath of trees along the highway easement was cleared this past winter, our view changed radically. It’s a reminder of how much we depend on trees, and of how important it is to protect our natural environment.

Last year when UPS set aggressive carbon reduction goals, we committed that by 2020 one in four new vehicles purchased annually will be an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle. By 2025, we will reduce our absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global ground operations by 12 percent, and 25 percent of the electricity we consume will come from renewable energy sources. And, 40 percent of all ground fuel will be from sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel.  We’re looking toward renewable energy and data-driven technology to advance our sustainability efforts. But even more, we’re collaborating and building partnerships with our customers and providers. We’re working with cities and other government organizations to build strategies that embrace a more holistic view of what it takes to maintain a resilient living and working environment. We’re connecting with academic and environmental organizations to tap into expertise that can help inform key decisions. And we’re working with other businesses to share best practices, and bring forward new ways to drive efficiencies across supply chains.

UPS’s work with The Nature Conservancy plays a key role in enabling our company to achieve its goals. Together, through a series of grants from The UPS Foundation, we have already planted more than 5.5 million trees, and will surpass 6 million by the end of this year. That’s more than a third of the way toward our goal of planting 15 million trees by the end of 2020. Our support has helped to restore forests and improve the lives of people in countries across the globe. In Georgia, the work includes the restoration of longleaf pine forests.

I am proud to serve on the board of trustees of The Nature Conservancy in Georgia and on the global Business Council.

In my role as a Conservancy trustee, I have found a diverse group of community leaders who share a passion for and dedication to the natural world and who are lending their time, talents and treasures to conserve Georgia’s natural assets. As a member of the Business Council, I am working alongside a team of scientists who are using their expertise to encourage government, businesses, and private citizens to advance bold, new approaches to daunting global challenges. I look forward to connecting with my fellow Business Council members later this month when we meet in Atlanta.

Collaborations such as the shared efforts between UPS and The Nature Conservancy are the key to meaningful and measurable outcomes for a healthy world.


Tamara Barker kayaking ©Parlee Chambers

Tamara Barker was appointed UPS Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) and Vice President of Environmental Affairs in April 2016. In June of 2017 she assumed additional responsibilities of Vice President of Domestic Plant Engineering. Barker joined UPS in 1988 as a package delivery driver. In addition to serving on the board of trustees for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia, Barker is representing UPS on The Nature Conservancy’s global Business Council, and is active in sustainability initiatives including Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and the Atlanta Sustainability Network.  


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