In a move that should give Lyft passengers that warm fuzzy feeling of helping the environment while getting from A to B, the ride-sharing company has announced that all its rides around the world will be carbon neutral – starting today. This will be achieved through the purchase of carbon offsets, which will require a multi-million-dollar investment in the first year alone.
Lyft had previously committed to powering all electric autonomous vehicles on its platform with 100 percent renewable energy, but given the dearth of such vehicles, it doesn't really help much right now. Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green say they don't want to wait until a future time when all vehicles are powered by clean energy to tackle the immediate problem of climate change.
As such, Lyft will offset carbon emissions from its global fleet by directly funding emission mitigation efforts such as renewable energy programs, forestry projects, the capture of emissions from landfills, and the reduction of emissions from automotive production processes.
The company anticipates the move will offset over a million metric tons of carbon in the first year, with the impact and cost expected to grow in subsequent years as the company does. To ensure Lyft meets its goals, it has partnered with 3Degrees, a benefit corporation that provides carbon offset solutions to various companies and organizations. All carbon offset projects will be based in the US, with the majority located close to Lyft's biggest markets.
The company also hopes the initiative will spur an increase in the number of zero-emission vehicles on its platform.
"This action is not the full solution, but a real step forward," Zimmer and Green say. "By committing significant financial resources to these offsets, we're building into our business a strong incentive to pursue shared rides and the displacement of gasoline-powered vehicles. The more shared rides and clean vehicles on the platform, the fewer carbon offsets we will need to purchase."
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