Lyft goes carbon-neutral and 100% renewable

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Lyft, the ride-hailing industry’s second-leading company announced last week an extension on the company’s carbon offset program that now makes their platform entirely carbon-neutral, soon to be entirely powered through renewable energy.

While Lyft already had a plan in place for the emissions of their vehicle fleet, the company is more than just cars, a sentiment that is shared in the latest step in it’s Green Cities Initiative. The company has now begun purchasing renewable energy directly from local power producers in San Fransisco, as well as purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) from locations across the country for areas where direct energy purchase isn’t yet available.

In a blog post, the company outlines that this move is to offset the power used by their offices, driver hubs and battery charging of Lyft drivers with electric vehicles. While the company has not set a timetable to when it will become 100% renewable-powered, it did reveal that they’ve been purchasing their RECs from wind, biomass and dairy digestion facilities in Maine, Colorado, Michigan and Georgia. As a California-based company, it’s likely that Lyft will add solar REC purchases to its renewable arsenal. However, the company has stated that their main goal is to purchase renewable energy directly from suppliers, rather than through RECs.

The expansion of the company’s carbon offset program makes Lyft one of the top-10 purchasers of carbon offsets in the world. What this means is that since the program’s inception this spring, over a million metric tons of carbon have been offset, enough to guarantee that every ride taken through to company is carbon-neutral.

A common argument against carbon offset programs is that they’re commonly used as a PR move by companies to get good press for environmental efforts, while not reducing overall carbon emissions. Addressing this criticism, Lyft is also establishing a bike and scooter sharing program, as well as expansion into large-scale ride-sharing by partnering with public transportation agencies.