Uber goes green with new sustainability goals

Friday, 16 June, 2023

Uber goes green with new sustainability goals

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO, unveiled new products and initiatives at the company’s Go/Get Zero event, focusing on the platform’s ambition to reach zero emissions by 2040. Australians will immediately see their Uber experience become a greener one, whether they’re a rider, eater, driver or restaurant partner.

According to Dom Taylor, Uber ANZ General Manager, light vehicles account for around 11% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and Uber has a responsibility to offer more sustainable choices across the platform.

In the first quarter of 2023, there were 1250 electric vehicles (EVs) operating on the Uber platform, and riders took over 567,000 trips in zero-emissions vehicles in this period. While this is encouraging, a lot more needs to be done to achieve zero-emissions goals.

Uber Green is now live across Australia, offering riders a no- or low-emission ride at no extra cost to a standard UberX. It is available across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.

Australia’s first Uber Green trip was taken by Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey in Brisbane.

“As we transition to net zero, we need to bring industry along the journey with us, particularly in emissions-heavy sectors like transport. This is a smart innovation from Uber. It’s through these simple changes in our day-to-day routines that we will reduce our emissions and achieve our net zero target,” he said.

The product is also available to Uber for Business customers, offering business travellers a more sustainable choice and allowing organisations to view data on lower-emissions trips taken by employees through the Uber for Business Sustainability Dashboard.

Rideshare platforms can have a large impact when it comes to emissions reduction targets — a rideshare driver in an EV realises four times the emissions savings than the average car owner — however, consistent feedback from drivers has revealed that the lack of affordable EVs in Australia is a significant barrier in making the switch.

Last year, Uber Australia announced $26 million in incentives to encourage more drivers to make the switch. It is aiming to make the economics of driving an EV even more compelling for Aussie drivers by building on its global partnership with bp pulse to introduce exclusive incentives and EV charging discounts. With the aim to launch by year’s end, Uber drivers will be able to save between 5 and 8 c/kWh on the cost of charging at bp pulse charging stations across the country. The rate of savings will vary based on an individual driver’s Uber Pro tier status.

Last year, bp and Uber partnered to bring fuel discounts to drivers in Australia. To access the new charging benefits, drivers and delivery people will need to register with bp Rewards Unlocked via their Uber Pro account.

“Charging infrastructure and the operational costs of driving an EV are greatly improving in Australia, but we want to do all we can to incentivise our driver and delivery partners to use EVs when earning on our platform,” Taylor said.

“This new deal for Uber drivers builds on our great existing relationship, and we look forward to welcoming Uber EV drivers to take advantage of bp’s great retail offers,” said Frédéric Baudry, President, bp Australia and SVP fuels & low carbon solutions, Asia Pacific.

Uber also announced it will expand its global zero-emissions commitment to include Uber Eats, aiming to eliminate emissions on all deliveries globally by 2040 as well as remove unnecessary plastic waste and switch to sustainable packaging for restaurant deliveries by the end of this decade.

Uber Eats will aim to make it easier for restaurant partners to shift from single-use plastic towards more sustainable options through global and local partnerships, making these options more accessible.

“Emissions and plastic waste are massive challenges to tackle for the entire sector, but we are confident we can work in concert with partners locally and globally to create a more sustainable delivery ecosystem,” said Uber Eats General Manager ANZ Bec Nyst. “My team is committed to progress on both sides of the Tasman, which is why I will soon announce multiple initiatives, purpose built for our communities in Australia and Aotearoa. These programs will be collaborative, local by design and channel the lessons we’ve already gleaned from half a billion deliveries across ANZ.”

Under also announced that Aussie startup Uber Carshare (formerly Car Next Door) will expand internationally to Canada and the United States, launching soon in Toronto and Boston. This is a peer-to-peer carshare to help people easily borrow a car when needed, instead of owning one.

“We couldn’t be more excited to see what began as a bold experiment — to disrupt Australia’s one person, one car mentality — grow into a global movement,” said Will Davies, Uber Carshare CEO. “Over the past decade, we’ve been humbled by how Aussies have embraced carsharing, and we can’t wait to see the car-light lifestyle take off internationally with the expansion of Uber Carshare.”

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