Your Friday after-work Uber Eats order is going to get a whole lot greener — and we don’t necessarily mean in the sense of healthy eating. Uber announced a series of product updates on Thursday, all designed to help the company meet its climate commitments while helping Uber users make more planet-friendly choices.
The convenience and fun of ordering food through a delivery app makes Uber Eats and its competitors an attractive proposition for those nights when you’re craving something different for dinner, or just can’t. energy to cook. But these deliveries have an environmental cost. The carbon footprint of households who spend £50 (about $63) a week on food delivery services is on average 450% higher than those who don’t, according to research by CNET sister site USwitch in 2021.
Uber is now committed to reducing the carbon emissions of these deliveries, so you can continue to enjoy your takeout without putting pressure on the climate. The company promises that by 2040, 100% of couriers will use zero-emission vehicles and that by 2030, 100% of restaurants on its app will use sustainable packaging. Making this change will be a major challenge, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at Uber’s sustainability event in London, but the company hopes other services and restaurants will join in. .
“Tackling plastics and litter is a whole new ballgame for us,” he said. “We are the first global delivery platform to set this kind of goal to go green, but we certainly shouldn’t be the last.”
Recognizing that the cost of sustainable packaging can still be prohibitive for restaurants, the company is also partnering with the World Wide Fund for Nature, among others, to research how it can work with restaurants to make eco-friendly packaging options more affordable.
To make it easier for you, Uber will offer a new option in the Uber Eats app that will allow you to filter restaurants by those that offer eco-friendly packaging options, whether recyclable, reusable or compostable.
As a company that relies heavily on car use, Uber recognizes that it is right for it to set ambitious sustainability goals. As the impacts of human-caused climate change are felt around the world in the form of wildfires, droughts and extreme weather events, the company has pledged to upgrade its fleet of vehicles electricity to reduce the amount of carbon that its service pumps. .
More than 60,000 Uber drivers were in electric vehicles last month, Khosrowshahi said — three times as many as a year ago. The company wants all of its drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles, but that’s another big challenge for Uber, given that many drivers find the cost of electric cars prohibitive.
Outside the London event on Thursday, a small group of Uber drivers, numbering less than 10, were protesting the company’s ‘greed’ and its policies, which they said favored profits over revenue drivers. If Uber wants drivers to buy electric vehicles, it should bear the costs itself, said Abdurzak Hadi, who has driven for Uber since 2014.
“If I have to pay for it, the rates should go up,” he said. “There is inflation in the country and everything has gone up, but our rates have gone down.”
On stage, Khosrowshahi addressed the challenges of switching to electric vehicles. “Electric vehicles are still too expensive, charging is still too confusing,” he said. “What we need to accomplish is make it absolutely effortless.”
Uber says it’s expanding partnerships designed to lower those costs for drivers, as well as educate them about total profitability through a hub on the driver app. It also provides drivers with a suite of new tools to ensure charging is as efficient and convenient as possible for them.
On the passenger side, Uber helps you understand and reduce your environmental impact. Starting this week, you’ll be notified when you take an eco-friendly route, and starting later this year, you’ll be able to see all the carbon emissions savings you’ve made in your Uber app. using the Uber Green service to travel by electric vehicle.
The company has just expanded Uber X Share to 18 new cities and rebranded Car Next Door, an Australian car-sharing platform it owns, as Uber Car Share, with a North American launch imminent. scheduled for Boston and Toronto.
Recognizing that approximately 15% of all Uber rides are trips to and from an airport (making them longer than the average Uber ride, with higher emissions), the company also plans to inspire you to choose Uber Green over Uber X with a number of advantages. These include lower fares and exclusive access to curbside pickup areas and other preferred areas. At some locations, drivers on these routes will also have access to discounted or free fast chargers to charge their electric vehicles.
Initially, Uber’s airport partners will include Portland (PDX), Phoenix (PHX), London Heathrow (LHR) and Madrid (MAD), though eventually it hopes green perks will be available at all airports it flies to. journeys.
Uber also hopes its policies will contribute to the electric vehicle revolution more broadly, Khosrowshahi said. The company is responsible for providing many people with their first experience of driving in an electric vehicle, he said. “And the first time you try electric, you become much more likely to try an electric vehicle in your personal life, whether that means buying an electric vehicle or choosing to use Uber Green every time. that you are using the service.”