Officially: Uber Technologies, Inc.,
These days, Uber does a lot more than just get people from point A to point B. Since it launched in 2009, the company, which counts over 3.9 million drivers among its global fleet, has diversified by acquiring and launching more vehicle-powered delivery and shipping services such as Postmates, Drizly, Uber Eats, and Uber Freight.
As Uber has grown, so has its sustainability efforts. In 2020, the company said that it will reach net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and do the same for Scope 3 emissions by 2040. To support these goals, the company has also promised that 100 percent of its global rides will be via zero-emission vehicles by 2040.
But don’t give Uber a 5-star rating just yet. The road to being the “cleanest platform on Earth,” is perhaps not as smooth as the company is making it out to be. First, while Uber tries to style itself as a tech company, it’s more accurately described as a transportation company. When considering Uber’s environmental performance and goals, that’s important to bear that in mind because transportation currently has one of the heaviest and most negative environmental impacts of any industry in the world.
A recent Carnegie Mellon study, for instance, found that trips in ridehail vehicles such as Uber and Lyft generate around 20 percent more greenhouse gases than regular private vehicles due to a phenomenon called “deadheading” in which drivers cruise around with no passengers between requests.
In addition, Uber is associated with the Chamber of Commerce, an industry lobbying group with a long history of fighting strong environmental policy—a track record that caused Apple and several other companies to break ties with the Chamber years ago. Right now, the Chamber is actively fighting a new SEC rule that would require big companies to disclose their carbon emissions.
So, why would a company with such lofty environmental goals remain associated with a powerful anti-environmental trade group? As a recent Harvard report on corporate climate policy found, “many of the companies that support ambitious climate policies neglect to hold their trade associations accountable for their obstructive lobbying on climate issues, in direct contradiction of their own climate targets and advocacy efforts.”
In addition, the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) gave Uber the just ok grade of C in 2022 for its climate change submission. In 2021, Uber got a D. The slight upward trajectory last year is good, of course, but it’s not exactly the sort of performance you’d expect from a company claiming it will soon be among the cleanest on earth. Uber also earned negative ratings on As You Sow’s Racial Justice Scorecard, indicating some of its business practices have had an adverse effect on communities of color.
Overall, while Uber’s ambitious emissions reduction goals are admirable, reaching those goals may be a different story. That’s worrisome, especially given that Uber has yet to register any long term emissions reduction goals with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). That means for now, Uber’s long term emissions targets exist mainly in the realm of the press release. Overall, Uber certainly works hard to build a good environmental image for itself, but kick the tires a bit, and it’s clear that this company still has miles to go.
(source: Open Secrets)
Uber’s Total PAC Contributions to Climate FKers:
Uber’s Total Individual Contributions to Climate FKers:
Total amount Uber contributed to Climate FKers (PAC + Individual Contributions)
How Uber Can Raise Its Score
How Uber Can Raise Its Score