Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 25: Sustainable Growth and the Postal Sector: Universal Service versus Environmental Protection
* François Boldron†, Claire Borsenberger‡, Helmuth Cremer§, Philippe De Donder¶, Denis Joram†† and Bernard Roy‡‡ 1 INTRODUCTION During the last two decades, the postal sectors in the EU member states have faced two major trends. On the one hand, markets have been liberalized to an increasing degree, with full liberalization now just around the corner. On the other hand, traditional postal products have been subject to an increasing degree of competition from electronic substitutes. The first trend has been extensively studied in the literature and its implications are by now well understood. The impact of electronic substitutes on the demand for postal products is a rapidly developing situation. A third major trend which is likely to have a significant effect on the future of the postal sector has hitherto largely been ignored by the literature: the increasing importance of sustainable growth considerations and of environmental policy. The postal sector affects the environment through at least two channels: the consumption of paper on the one hand, and CO2 emissions from transportation and buildings’ energy consumption on the other. Consequently the environmental debate will bring postal operators to rethink their pricing strategies, their product design and their investment decisions. In addition, considerations of sustainable growth and environmental policies will challenge the other postal stakeholders too, as they will also have a substantial impact on regulatory policies, in particular Universal Service Obligations (USOs). Indeed, postal operators could reduce their emissions by transforming and modernizing their process like, for instance, the use of electric...
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