- Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green published a blog post Thursday declaring all Lyft rides from now on as carbon neutral. The commitment will be made through direct funding of emission mitigation efforts, which Lyft says is a "multi-million dollar investment in the first year alone."
- Such emission mitigation efforts include the reduction of emissions in the automotive manufacturing process, renewable energy programs, forestry projects and the capture of emissions from landfills. All efforts will be U.S.-based and verified by 3Degrees.
- Through these efforts, Lyft is one of the top voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets in the world. The founders wrote they hope such a commitment will incentivize the company to pursue more shared rides and clean vehicles. "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," they wrote.
The co-founders boasted their long-standing commitments to the environment by reminiscing on their college years, when Zimmer studied city planning and Logan developed The Green Initiative Fund to support campus sustainability projects. Since launching Lyft, the founders have stayed active in sustainability initiatives, having joined Michael Bloomberg's "We Are Still In" climate initiative and committing to various environmental impact goals.
Some may argue Lyft's carbon offset purchases point to flaws in the company's current business model. Though Lyft has expressed a desire to encourage shared rides and displace gasoline-powered vehicles, it still has yet to commit to either of those standards. Lyft's original service model, which allows a user to request a personal 4-seat vehicle, is still the most popular among its millions of riders. And while the company offers a "Line" service allowing riders to share the vehicle, that service is only available in select cities. Additionally, Lyft does not require drivers to use vehicles that run on clean fuel or electricity.
Lyft's founders have noted, for these reasons, the carbon neutral initiative is "not the full solution, but a real step forward." The initiative may also encourage rival ride-share company Uber to make similar investments, though Uber currently is pushing four mobility initiatives, one involving the acquisition of bike-share company, Jump. In fact, as Lyft continues to push toward sustainable mobility and decreased vehicle dependency, it may also consider following Uber into the bike-share market.