Uber To Eliminate Emissions On All Uber Eats Deliveries Globally By 2040
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Uber is expanding its commitment to include its Delivery business, with goals to eliminate emissions on all Uber Eats deliveries globally by 2040, and end all unnecessary plastic waste from deliveries by 2030.
With more than 890,000 merchants in 30+ countries, alongside millions of couriers and drivers, Uber has a unique opportunity to help deliver a greener future. In the same way the company is leading the ride-hailing industry on the road to zero emissions, Uber aims to be the first global delivery tech platform to support the transition to more sustainable packaging—not just for Uber Eats merchants, but for the broader restaurant delivery ecosystem.
As is the case with mobility, supportive policies are key to fulfilling Uber’s commitments. The company is setting earlier emission targets in European cities, where progressive policies such as the EU’s Green Deal and France’s Climate Bill will facilitate efforts to make all deliveries by couriers using the Uber Eats platform emission-free by 2030. In Europe and around the world, Uber will invest in partnerships and incentives to help couriers transition to e-bikes, EVs and other emission-free modes. Uber will work with RMI to better understand and adapt its current electrification work on mobility for deliveries while also broadening the scope of its efforts as active members of the Shared Mobility 2030 Action Agenda, WEF’s Global New Mobility Coalition, Cycling Industries Europe, and the Zero Emission Transportation Association.
To address single-use plastic waste and its effects on the environment, Uber will help restaurants transition to more sustainable packaging in every city where the company does business by 2030 through a combination of discounts, incentives, and advocacy. What’s more, Uber believe its can hit earlier milestones in Asia-Pacific and European cities as soon as 2025, where the company will partner with local stakeholders to support policies—such as the sustainable packaging charter the company signed in France—that promote a fair shift to responsible food packaging for delivery. Uber knows they can’t do this alone–the company will lean on the expert advice of the World Wildlife Fund and Closed Loop Partners to guide its efforts.
The challenge is massive: new plastic packaging pollution entering the oceans is expected to triple by 2040. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, each year approximately 11 million metric tons of plastic pollution enters the earth’s oceans, with consumer take-out items—mainly plastic bags and wrappers, food containers, cutlery and bottles—making up the largest share across marine environments.
By supporting nearly one million restaurants worldwide, Uber Eats is uniquely positioned to make a difference. In 2020, Uber introduced a feature to make single use cutlery strictly opt-in for consumers and it has launched reusable packaging pilots in France, Switzerland, Germany and parts of the UK and US—but Uber has a ways to go to halt plastic pollution. Many of Uber’s largest enterprise partners are well on their way in reducing their own packaging waste. Now, with WWF’s help, the company will now prioritize shifting from single-use plastic to more sustainable options, including reusable, recyclable, compostable and sustainably sourced bio-based packaging through partnerships around the world, making these options more accessible—and affordable—to restaurants.
Uber knows that delivering a carbon-neutral platform is a challenge bigger than Uber itself and the company is a firm believer that climate is a team sport. That’s why Uber needs policies in place that make EVs, e-mobility and sustainable packaging affordable and accessible for everyone.
As with mobility, Uber will be judged by the actions it takes and the results it can deliver. The company holds itselves accountable to the public along the way by incorporating Uber Eats progress into its annual ESG reporting.
The industry as a whole needs to work together to address these challenges openly, and with the facts. As Uber begins its journey, the company is eager for its peers to join them—in commitments, collaboration, and competition that leads to action.
See related article: Uber Steps Up EV Push in India With Uber Green
Uber’s path to eliminating waste and emissions on the Uber Eats platform starts here:
- Launch sustainable packaging guidelines: Working alongside World Wildlife Fund and Closed Loop Partners to establish packaging guidelines and partnerships that support and incentivize restaurants in transitioning to more sustainable packaging. Uber Eats has also joined WWF’s One Source Coalition to advance policy initiatives that advocate for extended producer responsibility, environmental justice, and support of the global plastics treaty in the US.
- New features and technology: Investing in features and functionalities in the Uber Eats app to help consumers reduce their own waste. Starting this week, Uber Eats users in Amsterdam London, Paris, New York, San Francisco and Taipei will be able to select merchants who use green packaging.
- Launching packaging partnerships: Starting with Green Paper Products, Bunzl, Enviropack and Dinovia across US and European markets and ITOCHU Corporation in Japan to support the transition away from single-use plastics and other environmentally harmful to-go packaging by the restaurant industry. These partnerships will provide Uber Eats merchant partners discounts of as much as 35% off retail prices of greener packaging solutions—and Uber will aim to bring similar discounts to all Uber Eats merchants in every country the company does business.
- Grants for Growth with Visa: Strengthening our collaboration with Visa to support global small businesses worldwide. Starting today, restaurants in London, Madrid, Paris, New York and Los Angeles can apply to receive financial support for greener packaging in 2023 through our joint Grants for Growth program.
- Policy: Advocating for policies that support the expansion of industrial recycling and composting facilities which are critical to advancing the use of sustainable packaging globally.
- Last-mile study: Teaming up with RMI to analyze the specific challenges and opportunities Uber faces in helping couriers make the switch to last-mile zero emission transportation, and to help the company scale new and existing programs to support couriers wanting to make the switch to greener modes of transport.
- Micromobility: Expanding micromobility partnerships in major European cities and around the world to help millions of couriers transition to ebikes, EVs and other emission-free modes. Today, this is alongside leaders in e-mobility and charging like Cooltra, Human Forest, Zoomo, Lumala, Gogoro and Gachaco, and Uber will continue to grow with these partners and others.
- Vehicle partnerships: Extending our North American vehicle partnerships—including the Hertz Tesla rental program and cashback for Pro Card users on charging— to ensure all eligible couriers have the same options that drivers do on Uber.
- Batching and routing: Investing in increased batching of delivery orders and green routing to reduce vehicles on the road and per-delivery emissions.
Mary Jo Snavely, Director, Private Sector Engagement, World Wildlife Fund
“The rate of plastic pollution entering our oceans will triple by 2040 unless we change course by transitioning to a circular economy — and companies must be a lever for enacting such change. With both global reach and local influence, Uber Eats’ plans for increasing sustainable packaging use within their merchant ecosystems are necessary in order to have the potential to enable widescale change across the food delivery sector.”
Clay Stranger, Managing Director of Carbon-Free Transportation, RMI
“Accelerated decarbonization of rides and deliveries will have a significant direct impact and will also create momentum for other use cases and vehicle segments to electrify. Uber’s commitment to eliminate emissions will meaningfully advance a climate-safe transportation future.”
Kate Daly, Head of the Center for the Circular Economy, Closed Loop Partners
“Uber’s commitment to a waste-free future is an important step to advancing circular packaging systems across a range of channels––including delivery. We are thrilled to work with Uber to support them in achieving their goals, and celebrate their leadership in eliminating packaging waste and emissions across their ecosystem.”
Douglas Sabo, Chief Sustainability Officer, Visa Inc.
“As consumers continue to seek out more sustainable choices, there’s a growing opportunity for delivery businesses to rise to the occasion and provide options that meet the needs of both their customers and the planet. The expansion of our Grants for Growth partnership with Uber Eats is a testament to the power and tangible impact we can make when we enable and empower small- and medium-sized businesses to be a part of a greener future.”
Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive, Cycling Industries Europe
“Cycling Industries Europe welcomes Uber Eats commitment to eliminate emissions on all deliveries globally by 2040 and its recognition of the role e-bikes can play in this transition. Our members know that bikes are not just clean, they are a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for urban deliveries. We look forward to working with the company to help millions of couriers transition to e-bikes and cargo bikes.”
Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General, POLIS
“I welcome Uber’s efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of its meal delivery platform, and in particular the ambition to move towards zero emissions when it comes to the role of Uber Eats in the urban mobility ecosystem. Only through public-private cooperation, joint efforts and a common sense of ownership and responsibility, will be able to move towards the climate neutrality and sustainable mobility targets we have set ourselves and absolutely need to reach.”
Céline Domecq, Platform Chair, Platform for Electromobility
“The Platform for electromobility is proud to support its member Uber’s commitment to sustainability and their efforts to electrify last mile delivery in cities. We recognize the significance of electrifying the movement of goods for reducing emissions, promoting a greener future for food delivery, and reaching European climate goals. By working together with partners across the ecosystem, we can make a meaningful impact on the environment.”
Elizabeth Sturcken, Managing Director, Corporate Partnerships at Environmental Defense Fund
“Uber is taking a big step toward making their food delivery operations more sustainable by setting time-bound goals with accountability. Food packaging waste and delivery emissions are enormous challenges — with existing solutions that need to be adopted and made cost competitive at scale. If Uber is successful in scaling pilots of reusable delivery containers, and supporting small businesses in making the switch to greener packaging solutions, this could be an innovation for every company to watch. I’m impressed by the public transparency, advocating for public policy, and the NGO partnerships that will enable science-driven action.”
Philippe Vangeel, Secretary General, AVERE – The European Association for Electromobility
“We applaud Uber’s decision to electrify its Uber EATS delivery service, which demonstrates Uber’s commitment and thought leadership in terms of environmental sustainability. It is a perfect example of how the mass transition to electromobility is the cornerstone of decarbonising transport, not only for private consumers, but also for the wider service industry in our societies. We look forward to other companies following this trend so that they can drive down emissions on the road for our planet and the health of our fellow citizens.”
Richard Bartlett, CEO, bp pulse
“We are delighted to already work with Uber to help their ride-hailing drivers make the transition to EVs by providing great value access to the fast, reliable charging infrastructure we´re building. And I’m pleased to hear that today they have expanded their sustainability commitments to also include their delivery business. With bp’s ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 and to help the world get to net zero, we recognize that collaborations with like-minded organisations, such as Uber, are required, and we’re immensely proud to partner with them to help drivers on the Uber platform become electric.”
Benjamin de la Peña, CEO, Shared-Use Mobility Center; Chair, Global Network for Popular Transportation
“Dependable transportation, for people and goods, is critical to making our towns and cities more equitable. Shared mobility, from public transit to walkable sidewalks, can help us to reverse the trend and rapidly decarbonize the source of the fastest growth in global carbon emissions. Uber’s commitment to make goods delivery greener and shared mobility cleaner, especially for two- and three-wheeled modes, is the right thing to do. Every delivery and ride-hailing platform should follow Uber’s leadership. We hope their leadership in confronting the climate challenge also creates momentum to make the sector more equitable for gig workers and the labor force, so we decarbonize with a Just Transition.”
Mindy Lubber, CEO and President, Ceres
“For decades, Ceres has worked to encourage major companies like Uber to take climate action. We’re pleased to see Uber expand their sustainability commitment to include food delivery services and address transportation emissions as well as packaging. We recognize that changing systems requires the participation of all parties, and we have co-developed standards for many sectors to ensure transparency and strong accountability by all parties. Businesses in particular can have a catalytic role in shaping the conditions for cities to tackle climate change – especially when they uphold themselves to high standards. We look forward to working with Uber and seeing the impact they’ll have through such an important initiative.”
Josh D. Boone, Executive Director, Veloz
Uber’s successful efforts to help educate drivers from diverse backgrounds on the benefits of going electric and shifting drivers to EVs for passenger mobility align well with Veloz’s goal to drive forward transportation electrification through our Electric For All consumer education campaign. This new push to reduce emissions from deliveries through accessible electric transportation solutions is an exciting next step toward Uber’s zero-emission mobility goals.”
Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, National Stewardship Action Council
“We are thrilled that Uber is supporting delivery people to move to zero-emission vehicles. With climate chaos already here, we urgently need to move to zero-emission vehicles which will drive an equitable and more sustainable economy. We cannot achieve equity without offering financial incentives to delivery people, to help make the switch to non-carbon emitting modes. We strongly support Uber’s commitment to a clean and healthy future for the delivery people, drivers, their riders they partner with.”
Sheila Morovati, Founder, Habits of Waste
“Uber Eats has been a pioneer in our #CutOutCutlery campaign. Their feature to make single-use cutlery strictly opt-in for consumers is an innovative approach to mitigate plastic waste. We are thrilled to see them lead the way yet again with incredible plans to reduce the carbon footprint of ordering in.”