In school, we both read Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce, and it profoundly influenced the impact we want to have in life. His book demonstrates how industry and the environment do not have to be at odds, and if we work to find the right solutions, the two can (and must) work together. We’re grateful and lucky to have Paul as Lyft’s environmental advisor.
While Logan was at the University of California Santa Barbara, he took inspiration from Paul’s writings. He served on the County’s public transit board, and led the creation of The Green Initiative Fund — which invests in long-term campus sustainability projects, and has now been replicated at over 100 colleges and universities.
When John studied at Cornell University, he took a City Planning course called Green Cities that inspired his views on cities and transportation. It was in that class that he read Paul’s book. The professor who taught that class, Robert Young, became a close friend and mentor of John's (he even officiated his wedding), and his influence can be seen throughout Lyft’s vision for the future. Earlier this year, Professor Young passed away, and we are dedicating our ongoing sustainability work, Lyft’s Green Cities Initiative, in his memory to ensure his impact lives on.
Making Lyft rides carbon neutral
We feel immense responsibility for the profound impact that Lyft will have on our planet. A year ago, Lyft joined We Are Still In, the movement led by Michael Bloomberg, to show our continued support for the Paris Climate Accord. Shortly thereafter, we committed ourselves to a number of climate impact goals to ensure that we’re maximizing the positive impact of our platform. In March, we grew to serve nearly 50 million rides. As we continue to grow, we have a greater responsibility to dedicate material resources to our vision and values.
In the future, all vehicles will operate with clean energy. But climate change is not waiting. It’s happening now, and it presents a clear and immediate threat to our world and those who live in it. Action cannot wait.
This week, we’re excited to announce our next action: to immediately offset the carbon emissions from all rides globally. This is an ongoing commitment, meaning that any Lyft ride from now on will be carbon neutral. Starting today, your decision to ride with Lyft will support the fight against climate change.
This is a multimillion-dollar investment in the first year alone, which makes Lyft one of the top voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets in the world. In year one, we anticipate offsetting over a million metric tons of carbon, equivalent to planting tens of millions of trees or taking hundreds of thousands of cars off the road. Lyft's investment and impact will continue to grow as the company does.
Lyft rides are now carbon neutral through the direct funding of emission-mitigation efforts, including the reduction of emissions in the automotive manufacturing process, renewable energy programs, forestry projects and the capture of emissions from landfills. Our partner 3Degrees oversees the registration and independent verification of all projects according to rigorous third-party standards. The majority of these projects will be in close proximity to our largest markets, and all projects will be US-based.
The stark reality is that transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. As a growing part of the transportation ecosystem, we are holding ourselves accountable to being part of the solution. We’re in the unique and fortunate position to be a driving force in bringing forward a more sustainable future, and we don’t take that lightly.
This action is not the full solution, but a real step forward. 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.
Lyft’s mission is to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, and we’re constantly working to increase our positive impact on the world around us. We’re committed to carrying forward Professor Young’s vision for cities based in sustainability, equity and prosperity, and we appreciate your help in making that possible.
This post first appeared on Medium on April 19, 2018.