Unboxing Logistics: An EasyPost Podcast

Carbon Neutral Shipping: How Does It Work? With Jicara Gorski From EasyPost - Ep. 11

November 2, 2023 | 22:32

In This Episode

Jicara Gorski, principal product manager at EasyPost, explains how companies can achieve a net zero carbon footprint through carbon offsets. 

EasyPost announces carbon neutral shipping

In this special episode of Unboxing Logistics, Lori and Jicara discuss a major announcement from EasyPost: Starting on November 1, 2023, every shipment that comes through the EasyPost API will be carbon neutral, at no additional cost to shippers. 

Jicara says, “This is not a light investment. … This is an effort in our continuing partnership with our customers—listening to them, understanding what their end customers are expecting of them, and coming to the table with a viable solution.”

How do carbon offsets work?

If trucks and planes continue to transport packages as normal, how can a company achieve carbon neutral shipping? While carbon offsets don’t eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, they do help balance them.

Jicara explains how it all works: “[Packages are] going from point A to point B. So we take inputs based on the mode of transportation and the distance that they’re going, and we calculate the amount of carbon emissions that are associated with a particular parcel.”

“At the end of the quarter, we'll take the amount of emissions that we've calculated for that particular period, and we will purchase a decarbonization project to offset those emissions.”

The result? A 100% net neutral carbon footprint.

Why focus on sustainable shipping?

Sustainability is one of the most pressing issues for businesses today. Everybody’s talking about it, but many aren’t sure exactly what to do about it. As Lori points out, the numbers show it’s time to make a change: 

  • 11% of all global greenhouse gasses come from freight transportation.
  • 64% of consumers say they're willing to pay more for a company that uses sustainable products.
  • 81% of global consumers feel strongly that they should be helping the environment.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about how EasyPost carbon neutral shipping works—and why sustainable shipping is so vital. 



Lori Boyer  00:00  

Welcome to a very special edition of Unboxing Logistics. I'm Lori Boyer and I'm your host of this fun podcast from EasyPost, where we dive into all of the trends that are going on in the shipping and logistics industry. My guest today is Jicara Gorski. She works here with me at EasyPost. And I want, Jicara, tell us for just a minute about who you are and what your background is.

Jicara Gorski  00:26  

Sure thing. Lori, thank you so much for having me. Everyone, it's nice to meet you. My name is Jicara Gorski. I am the principal product manager for the shipping solutions vertical here at EasyPost. My team handles all things API, UI, and incidentally, today's announcement, we're very excited about this new product offering that we'll be rolling out very soon.

Lori Boyer  00:48  

Okay, you got me so excited about it that I'm just going to dive straight into it. Everyone, starting November 1st, 2023, every shipment, every label that comes out through the EasyPost API is going to be carbon neutral, no cost to our customers. Whee! Yay!

I am so thrilled about this announcement. It is really, really exciting. And we are going to dive into all of the who, what, when, where, why, how. I know our customers have a lot of questions. Our community here at Unboxing Logistics, you guys are the best. I love you. But I get a lot of questions from our community about sustainability, about what they can do, and what's important.

And we're gonna dive into all of that. But as always, before we get going on that, we want to get to know Jicara a little bit. And I'm gonna participate today as well. So, we are going to do this or that questions, which we prefer. And Jicara and I are both gonna vote. We'll see if we're totally, like, on sync.

On the same level. I think we are. I hope I am with Jicara because she's so cool. 

Jicara Gorski  02:09  

I'm feeling good about it. 

Lori Boyer  02:10  

Okay, alright, I got it. Alright, first question. Is it more likely that you lose your phone or that you lose your car keys? One, two, three. Phone. 

Jicara Gorski  02:22  

Car keys. 

Lori Boyer  02:25  

Oh no! Okay, tell me, you lose your car keys.

Jicara Gorski  02:29  

I throw them in the garbage. I actually, 2 and 0 on throwing my car keys into the, like, garbage dumpster. 

Lori Boyer  02:35  

And did, did you fish them out? Or, like, they were lost forever? 

Jicara Gorski  02:38 

The second time we were able to successfully fish them out, the first time they were lost forever. And we just couldn't, I mean it was like literal, the worst magic ever.

Like they disappeared to Narnia and to be determined, yeah. 

Lori Boyer  02:51 

My daughter borrowed my car to go to school and then she called, I lost the car keys on campus somewhere. So now we're down to like one key and I'm thinking, okay. This is probably expensive to go get the new, you know, cause all the schmancy car stuff, so.

I'm with you. I said lose my phone, but that's cause that's, my family teased me that that's like my catchphrase, and I'm like, oh, where'd I put my phone? I don't know where my phone is, like at all times, so. 

Jicara Gorski  03:16  

Do you, do you mean like, when you say lost your phone, do you mean like misplaced it? 

Lori Boyer  03:20  

Misplaced it. It's found. One time I threw it under a bus on accident. It was so weird. The bus ran over it, and I was like, ah! 

Jicara Gorski  03:31  

I'll be, okay, then in that case my answer probably would have been phone. I do misplace my phone a lot. Last night I misplaced it. I lost it in the grass. Yes. The kids were trick or treating, so we're just sympatico on that. 

Lori Boyer  03:44  

Okay. All right. Audience, love to hear from you. Keys or phone. Okay, would you rather show up for an event? Overdressed or underdressed? Okay, one, two, three. Overdressed. 

Jicara Gorski  03:58  

Overdressed. Yes, underdressed feels very awkward. 

Lori Boyer  04:04 

Yeah. You show up to some funeral or something in your Bermuda shorts. Okay, Bermuda shorts probably makes me sound like I'm from 1950, but you know, something that's, that's way worse. 

Jicara Gorski  04:15  

It is way worse. Overdressed, you can like, play it off. You can, you can, I mean, it doesn't work in your funeral example, but you could say, It's a celebration! 

Lori Boyer  04:26  

I agree. Okay, which is worse? An itchy sweater or a blister on your foot rubbing against your shoe. One, two, three. Blister. Oh, yeah. That sticks around longer. You can change your sweater. 

Jicara Gorski  04:43  

You can change it. That's exactly what I thought. I thought, yeah, you might have to even change up your shoe game. Blister heels. That's way more inconvenient. 

Lori Boyer  04:52  

With you. Okay, final question for us. Do you have an Apple or an Android phone? One, two, three. Android. 

Jicara Gorski  05:02  


Lori Boyer  05:03  

I'm always the, the stepchild of phones, the person with the green check mark, or whatever it is, I don't even know. 

Jicara Gorski  05:11  

How many people do you get with that one? Come on. Everybody. 

Lori Boyer  05:15  

Okay, my husband is a tech guy, and he was way into like, Android is so customizable, and it's so flexible. So then we got Android, and I don't know, here we are. 

Jicara Gorski  05:26  

Are you too far gone to come back?

Lori Boyer  05:28 

I don't know. I have MacBook, so maybe, we'll see. Have you ever had an Android? 

Jicara Gorski  05:34  

I have for about 30 minutes, and I was like, that.

Lori Boyer  05:38  

They're totally different. And you're like, I dunno how to do this. 

Jicara Gorski  05:40  

They're so different. But that's like if you, if you've got an Android phone and a Mac computer, that feels a little bit left brain, right brain, right there. 

Lori Boyer  05:47  

That's, that's right. I know all the systems. I'm basically like a secret super spy, but.

Jicara Gorski  05:53  

That's, that's like speaking multiple languages.

Lori Boyer  05:56  

I know. That is so true. Jicara. You guys can see why I like to work with Jicara. She just makes you feel good. Okay. Jicara, let's dive into our topic of today. I mentioned before, I get so many questions around sustainability. It's actually been really fascinating to me. So often in webinars, especially we'll do polls asking the audience, what are you really concerned about?

And sustainability has been at the top of the list for some time. I have a few stats here and I think that it shows us why. Studies show right now that 11 percent of all global greenhouse gases come from freight transportation. So not just cars, but actually us transporting things. 

In addition, it's a big deal, people want sustainability. So from a consumer standpoint, we're seeing, let me look at the exact number, 64 percent of consumers say they're willing to pay more for a company that uses sustainable products, and according to Nielsen, 81 percent of global consumers feel strongly that customers should be helping the environment.

And so I think that sustainability is out there. Our audience, our community, you guys know, you're wondering, what am I supposed to do? Shipping's a big part of the problem. People know that, but it's hard. It's hard to figure out the balance. So that is why I'm so excited about today's announcement. Jicara, can you tell us a little bit about what what does this announcement mean exactly?

What is this carbon neutral initiative that EasyPost is taking? 

Jicara Gorski  07:30  

Sure. In short order, we are taking it to the people, right? We have been able to actually allow customers to calculate their carbon offsets for labels that they purchased through EasyPost for about a year now. And after piloting that program and realizing and learning that there is a much stronger expectation for companies to take part in their responsibility, we realized that we'd be, we've been sitting on our hands, not offering this to all of our customers.

And so what we will be doing is we'll be simply rolling this out for every customer who comes and purchases a shipping label through either our shipping API or our UI label creation tool. Carbon offset will be we will calculate it and we will include it in the purchase of their label for, at no cost to them, of course, and we will purchase projects for decarbonization efforts around the world to help offset our own carbon responsibility.

Lori Boyer  08:38  

Yeah, I love that so much. There's a few elements there that you mentioned that I just absolutely have been really excited about in this initiative. One that we're calculating the data. We've had that data, as you mentioned. We had an, an older carbon initiative. Can you explain a little bit about what that carbon initiative was and how it's changed maybe to this one?

Jicara Gorski  09:00  

Sure. It was an opt in offering. So customers who came to us to purchase labels, if they wanted to add the carbon offset option to their purchase, they could do that. So because EasyPost is a one stop shop platform, right, we offer that one to many carrier integration. Our ability to roll this out to all of our customers free of charge takes one more thing off of their plate and allows them to communicate their participation in this process to their end customers.

The other thing is this is not a light investment. This is not an investment that we take lightly and what we wanted to do is we wanted to remove any concern for cost from our customers with being able to participate in this type of a program. So this is an effort, and, in our continuing partnership with our customers, listening to them, understanding what, what they're end customers are expecting of them and coming to the table with a viable solution to help them meet their needs.

Lori Boyer  10:16  

When I first heard about this, the fact that it was free to our customers, like you said, this is not a small investment for our, our company. It's, it's a large investment. And I was so impressed just with our CEO and founder. He has really been, you know, a driver behind this and somebody who helped spearheaded this effort so well because he knows how important it is in the industry.

He knows it's where we need to go, but also he knows it's hard for our customers. That is the number one question I hear, is how can I be sustainable without needing to pay a whole bunch of money? And so I really love that this helps meet that need so well. One of my favorite quotes, and I'm gonna look at it, comes from Robert Swan.

He's a, he's this really cool environmentalist who, you know, has gone to the different polls, and if you haven't read his books, you should, they're really interesting. But he said, the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it. And I think that as a shipping industry, as our own CEO has done, you know, we can all do our part.

And so it's really, really cool that he's footing the bill, that we're putting forward the money, that anybody who comes and participates can just know that they have it and it's covered and that they are getting carbon neutral with their shipments through EasyPost. So that's really exciting. 

One of the things that I wanted to know is how do these carbon offsets work? So explain it. Let's back way up, pretend that I know nothing about it. So as a shipping company, we put a lot of carbon into the air, right? So our last mile delivery, all of our air transit, all, you know, there's a lot of gases.

There's a lot that just goes on. It's anticipated that by 2050, the industry may grow as much as like 250 more percent. So that percentage of how much how much emission, how much carbon we're putting into the air, is gonna just grow and grow. So, how do these carbon offsets work? So what is happening obviously people are still using their trucks, they're still delivering their packages, so how is, how are they becoming carbon neutral?

Jicara Gorski  12:27  

Sure. That's a great question. Okay. So here's the typical scenario. I am a customer, an EasyPost customer, and I'm coming to purchase shipping labels from you. Of course, it's going to be from one of our 100 carriers across the board. But for each of those services, they're either going ground or air transport mostly, and they're going a particular distance, right? They're going from point A to point B. So we take those inputs based on the mode of transportation that it's going and the distance that it's going, and we calculate the amount of carbon emissions that are associated with that particular parcel, that particular label.

We will begin to start counting as of November 1st. Well, in addition to the counting that we've already been doing for the last year, but we'll be counting starting November 1st for every customers labels that they purchase, we will be calculating the carbon emissions for them. At the end of a month or let's say a quarter, quarter we'll take the amount of emissions that we've calculated for that particular period, and we will purchase a commensurate decarbonization project to offset those, those emissions, right? Okay, so we'll do this on a rolling basis in perpetuity, customers will have the ability to not only see the emissions that are associated with each of their parcel, they'll be able to come on to their, their dashboard and see how much offsets have been purchased against their activity, they'll even be able to download a badge onto their website and post their participation in this ongoing initiative.

Right. So it's a win win for everyone. We get to help them, they get to communicate to their customers their participation in this process and partner with a platform like EasyPost, who's really interested in helping offset. 

Lori Boyer  14:24  

I love it. So. One of the key elements with carbon offsetting is that calculation, and that's where a lot of companies struggle.

They don't know exactly how much it is. So we have the analytics tools. They are already running, like Jicara said, we've been doing it on an opt in basis in the past. So we have all that data available. We will then purchase, as you said, these offset projects. We are working really carefully with very certified organizations like the United Nations.

They will then have projects around sustainability that help remove carbon from our atmosphere in the same amount that perhaps you were putting out. So for instance, planting trees or creating solar factories, solar factories, they're not called solar factories, but you know, solar farms. All of these kind of things that can help clean up the air and offset.

That's why it's called offset. So just to be clear, some people get confused. You're obviously not reducing the gas you're using you're still driving We're just creating projects that help offset that amount. And that is just a really great first step for you. I talked to our customers, I talk to our community out there, even if you're not an EasyPost customer, and I know some of you are doing amazing things for sustainability.

I had a webinar recently where we were talking about the returns process. Returns is another big challenge in sustainability because about 50 percent of returns end up in landfills. One of the people I talked to shared that what they're doing is they have clothing, a clothing store, and they donate all of their returned clothing that they're not going to put back on their shelves to local organizations.

However, she also shared that they've never told their customers about it. And this is where my high horse is coming in. You guys, when you're doing a project, if you are participating in sustainability efforts, think about where you are, think about what you might be doing, and make sure you're sharing that.

We talked about those statistics earlier. People are looking for companies that are considering sustainability and making it an important initiative. So that's why we've created the badge. You, if you are an EasyPost customer, you can simply download that. I would say, put it in the footer of your website, put it on your checkout page, put it, you know, there's a bunch of different places in your, on your social media sites.

You can include it in emails, that you are 100 percent carbon neutral with your shipping. That is going to be something you can do completely free of charge. Does not cost you anything, but will get you some of that love from your customers, so to say, around sustainability. In addition, that data. Jicara, maybe I'm just a data nerd, but the data, I mean, it would be so cool because you have that and Jicara, correct me if I'm wrong.

So they can go in each month and see just exactly how much was offset, correct? In that platform? 

Jicara Gorski  17:25  

Yeah, that's, yes, that's the idea. 

Lori Boyer  17:28  

So it would be really cool you guys to share that on your website or to say X number of trees have been planted by my ecommerce company or something like that. All of those are really cool ways to share what you're doing.

And can make a big difference. Okay, Jicara, I do know, straight up, so if you are an EasyPost customer, thank you for being part of our community. We love you. If you hop into the EasyPost platform today, are they gonna see this? What, what, what do they need to know? Do they need to do something? Jicara, tell us about what they'll see today.

Jicara Gorski  18:00  

They don't need to do anything. Right now, we want our customers to be aware of the fact that we're starting this initiative. We're kicking it off and we're partnering with them. So the first thing that they can do and should do is go ahead and download our badge and display it so that they, their customers know and trust that we're participating in the sustainability initiative and they can continue to increase their shipping with us.

Right? And feel good about it. The second thing that they'll see, probably within the first quarter, after those first set of projects are purchased, is then they'll begin to see the output of their offset. So, for example, we'll be collecting all of that data for these, this first quarter, and then after that first purchase, they'll begin to see their participation.

Lori Boyer  18:46  

Okay, so they won't start seeing that data, my, you know, as I said, I'm a data nerd, until probably Q1. But that does not mean it's not happening, right? 

Jicara Gorski  18:55  

That's exactly right. We're collecting it and calculating it very carefully and very closely so that we make sure that the offset projects that we purchase and participate in accurately reflect the amount of carbon emissions that we're looking to offset.

Lori Boyer  19:11  

That is amazing. I am so excited about this initiative moving forward. I love, when I've read before up on the importance of carbon offsetting, you know, the keys are all here. Number one, you've got to calculate what you're doing. Number two, you need to go through a certified organization like the United Nations or something to make sure you're getting good projects. And then step number three for all of us, please, please, please share with your customers. Let them know what you're doing. It can make a big difference for you. It's totally free to you. So, Jicara, thank you so much for being here on this exciting episode with me today. 

Jicara Gorski  19:52  

It's been an absolute pleasure, Lori. I can't say that enough. Thank you so much for having me. We are so excited about this initiative, and we're looking forward to sharing it with our customers and them sharing it with theirs and theirs and theirs. 

Lori Boyer  20:03  

Yes, and on and on, I agree 100%. If you want to reach out if you want to learn more about this initiative, even if you're not an EasyPost customer, you're always, of course, welcome to ship through us.

And all of your, your shipments will be carbon neutral. So go ahead and go to EasyPost.com/sustainability. And you can read more about this initiative. EasyPost customers, if you have any questions, you can check there. Feel free to reach out to customer support if you have questions. Just know that this is being done.

It's taken place and you are being taken care of and you know, share it with your customers. So Jicara, if somebody wants to reach out to you or follow you, are you on LinkedIn or anywhere that they could follow you? 

Jicara Gorski  20:51  

I am on LinkedIn, but that's about it. I am, I am sans socials. 

Lori Boyer  20:56  

Okay. So I doubt there's a billion Jicara Gorskis, so you can probably find her.

I'll try to include a link down here too. You're always, of course, welcome. Please come follow me on LinkedIn, Lori Boyer. And if you have any more questions about this initiative, please reach out. Over the next few weeks, I am really excited to be talking sustainability with a range of, you know, software companies.

We're talking with some warehouse automation people, multiple carriers, so you're going to be hearing all about different sustainability initiatives that are going on and ways you can participate. This is an issue, you guys, that's not going away, so right now is your chance. Start getting involved, start making it part of your plan, and together, we can make sure the world is great for our kids, great for our business as well.

So, thank you so much, I'm so glad you were here. 

Jicara Gorski  21:51  

Thank you. 

Lori Boyer  21:53 

Have a great day everybody.