2020 was a year of sudden and dramatic changes around the world. In the transport sector, we saw huge behaviour shifts—a loss of trust in public transport, more people working from home and far fewer cars on our roads. These changes have been so drastic, we may never go back to how it was before. It’s in our nature to adapt, and we’ve done just that.
Why is Climate-Positive Transport important?
Whilst undoubtedly challenging, this last year has also given us an opportunity to reshape the world we return to. It’s allowed society to imagine a more positive future. In a time where nature became a sanctuary for many, we were reminded of how important it is to protect our green spaces. Last month, The People’s Climate Vote confirmed this, collecting over 1.2 million responses which showed that “nearly two-thirds (64%) of people in 50 countries believe that climate change is a global emergency.” I was proud to see the UK, my home, top the global chart at 81%.
At Liftango, environmental issues are close to our hearts. Just last summer, many of us at Liftango HQ—based in New South Wales, Australia—witnessed near-apocalyptic conditions during the bushfire season.
Determined to do more to combat climate change, we began developing a project we could all be proud of: Climate-Positive Transport.
We hope that this initiative will encourage more people to choose shared transport, and join us as we face the biggest challenge of our lifetime.
Understanding the basics
Before we dive straight in, there are a few important terms you need to know:
1. Carbon Credits: A tradable certificate equal to removing 1 tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere. Carbon credits fund projects which remove or reduce harmful emissions, from renewable energy projects to forest-planting initiatives. To ensure the credits are legitimate, projects are verified by third-party global standards e.g. VCS or VGS.
2. Offsetting: Purchasing carbon credits to neutralise (or offset) carbon emissions.
3. Net-Zero: Also known as Carbon-Neutral. This means having no environmental impact. Achieved either by producing zero emissions—like using solar panels to power an office—or by offsetting all carbon emissions.
4. Climate-Positive: This might sound obvious but Climate-Positive means having a positive impact on our climate. This term is interchangeable with Carbon-Negative. In other words, the carbon emissions are in the negative (below 0) because more CO2 is removed than is emitted.
What is Climate-Positive Transport?
Shared transport already has positive impacts on the environment; it’s more efficient than regular Public Transport, it removes vehicles from our roads and reduces the need for more parking infrastructure. Aligning with our company vision to “unlock all the good that comes from shared transport,” we’ve doubled-down on the positive impact we create by offsetting every kilometre driven by Liftango Users. And as we round up the figures each month, we’re offsetting more than we need to.
Therefore, by neutralising all trip emissions, plus a bit more for good measure, Climate-Positive Transport is born.
Understanding the offsetting process
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) advises us to measure, reduce and offset. We’re already measuring the impact of our services, and by sharing trips we are reducing emissions. The next step was to find a partner to offset the remaining emissions.
After conducting thorough research, we partnered with Pachama to help fight deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. We respected their data-driven approach and use of technology to optimise efficiency (sound familiar?) in addition to the wealth of benefits their projects create for local communities—from protecting the world’s most diverse ecosystem to creating jobs and reducing inequality.
Having selected our partner, we developed a three-step process to offset Liftango trips:
1. Calculate emissions
At the end of the month, we use trip data recorded In-App to calculate the emissions for each project, rounding up to the nearest tonne. We then add all of our projects together to get the total amount of tonnes to offset.
2. Offset emissions
We purchase carbon credits from several of Pachama’s Amazon projects. By investing in multiple projects, we increase our positive reach whilst protecting the offsets from natural disasters (e.g. wildfires). It’s a win-win!
3. Share the positivity
We generate reports to share with our clients each month so they can track the positive benefits of their project, and include the data in their emissions reporting. We also share updates with Liftango Users, to encourage uptake and increase user satisfaction.
Why should organisations care about all this?
Opting for Climate-Positive Transport means organisations can take a huge step towards their sustainability goals. Additionally, the existing benefits of shared transport create an even more impressive combined value:
- Remove commutes from your emissions reports
- Take cars off our roads, reducing congestion
- Reduce the stress of commuting/parking
- Improve employee relationships by sharing trips
- Users can track their personal impact In-App
- Share the costs of the commute
- Remove the need to build new parking infrastructure
- Staff save costs in fuel, vehicle maintenance and car parking
With 59% of people asking for urgent climate action, there’s never been a greater desire for change than now. At Liftango, we’re committed to supporting this change and working towards a greener transport sector. After a year of uncertainty, we hope this initiative inspires others to take the next step towards building a Climate-Positive future. Get in touch to find out how your organisation can create a positive impact.