IT'S a red letter day for An Post as it announces a world first in green letter deliveries.
The company has created a 'green zone' in Dublin city centre where every delivery to an area covering 70,000 premises is now carbon-neutral.
All letters and parcels in the zone are now being delivered by personnel on foot, bicycle or electric vehicle, helped by the launch of the country's first all-electric truck.
The Fuso eCanter can carry a load of up to three-and-a-half tonnes, allowing bulk deliveries of post to distribution centres without the diesel consumption and carbon emissions of regular commercial trucks.
David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, said the initiative, in an area where some half-a-million people live or work, made Dublin the first zero emissions postal capital in the world.
He said the measures would be rolled out to Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford by the end of this year, taking in zones where a further 700,000 people lived or worked.
He called on other companies to take the same steps, stressing the improvement to air quality if all business trips and commercial deliveries in city centres were diesel-free.
"We've proven that zero carbon emission delivery in a capital city is achievable.
"If An Post can do this, delivering to more than 70,000 premises daily in this area, there is no reason why other companies can't. Let's aim for a 100pc green delivery zone in Dublin."
Friends of the Earth commended the move. Kate Ruddock, deputy director of the organisation, echoed the call for other companies to follow suit.
An Post already has 47 zero-emission vehicles operating in Dublin's green zone and a total of 212 countrywide, but it plans to extend the number to 900 within the next two years.
The company says it also gets all its electricity from renewable sources and it has committed to upgrading its sorting offices and mail centres to zero-carbon standard. It says it will halve its total carbon footprint by 2025 and eliminate carbon output entirely by 2040.