Lyft's Latest Decision Means You Can Feel A Little Less Guilty About Taking A Cab

Photo: Lauren Naefe

Your next ride with Lyft will be a little easier on the planet, thanks to the company's commitment to offset carbon emissions.

For every ton of carbon pollution released by its drivers, the ride-sharing app will pay 3Degrees, a carbon offsetting program that funds eco-friendly projects in the United States to balance out carbon using measures, like planting trees, cleaning up emissions in the automotive manufacturing process, or funding renewable energy creation. Considering Lyft completes more than 10 million trips weekly, this commitment is expected to make it one of the largest purchasers of carbon offsets in the world.

This isn't Lyft's first sustainable pledge. In 2017 the company teamed up with legendary environmentalist and mbg Lifetime Achievement Award winner Paul Hawken to set ambitious environmental targets. Inspired by Hawken's classic text The Ecology of Commerce, co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green contemplated how a business that puts cars on the road could have a net positive impact on the planet.

"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," Green and Zimmer wrote on Medium late last week.

With Hawken as an environmental adviser, the company is now looking to give 1 billion rides with electric vehicles and reduce CO2 emissions by at least 5 million tons annually by 2025. The transportation sector is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases in the United States, so here's hoping Lyft's decision inspires others to take similar pledges.

"In the future all vehicles will operate with clean energy," Zimmer and Green wrote. "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."

Learn more about Lyft's environmental adviser Paul Hawken here, and listen in to the galvanizing speech he gave at Revitalize here.

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