To reach their 2040 carbon-neutral goal, Uber has decided to purchase offsets within Latin America. Uber’s initiative, “Uber Planet,” has already launched in Mexico. It offers customers the option to pay an extra .37 pesos per kilometer to purchase carbon credits. These credits are then used to offset the carbon from their ride.
Uber initially avoided buying carbon credits. Instead, they focused their efforts on drivers switching to electric vehicles (by providing subsidies). Unfortunately, this didn’t seem practical in Latin America, so they decided carbon credits, in addition to subsidies for electric vehicles, would be the way to go.
What are Carbon Credits and Carbon Offsets?
Carbon credits are purchased and used to “offset” carbon emissions through an environmental project. Some critics feel this process doesn’t encourage companies to reduce carbon. In fact, Uber felt this way, too, saying that offsets “effectively pay to be someone else’s responsibility.” Plus, they felt that verification challenges made the industry weak.
However, the carbon credit industry is changing. The verification process has significantly improved – and, since leaders at COP26 have decided to move forward with a global standard, the industry will become even more transparent.
Uber Planet Carbon Credits
Uber Planet credits are certified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Climate Action Reserve (CAR). Both are well respected.
David Minguez, an Uber spokesperson in Mexico, said, “Every market where Uber is available is taking bold steps to develop locally relevant strategies that run in parallel with our commitments. At this moment, we are presenting Uber Planet, understanding the urgency needed to crack down on this challenge immediately.”
Minguez went on to say that the company would also take additional steps to “encourage more drivers to switch to electric or hybrid cars, including promotional prices for the vehicles and incentives like an extra 10,000 pesos per 160 trips.”
Uber recognizes that carbon offsets are not the only way to fight climate change. But, when used alongside new technology, they are an integral part. As more companies and countries merge the two, carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions goals can become a reality.