Future is electric: Businesses must commit to electric vehicles

The Climate Group

This World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April, we’re calling on businesses all over the world to commit to having fully electric fleets by 2030. Companies are the main buyers of new vehicles and have a crucial role to play in accelerating the shift to electric transport across the whole of society. The COVID-19 pandemic has re-emphasised the need for sustainable and healthy transport, with the role of electric vehicles more important than ever.

“We are now in the Climate Decade, and it is vital that the private and public sectors collaborate effectively if we’re to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals for decarbonisation.

“Transportation is one of the leading causes of health problems linked to air pollution, so let’s use this opportunity as we emerge from COVID-19 to build back businesses and communities that are more efficient, cleaner, and more sustainable for the decades ahead.”

Helen Clarkson, CEO, the Climate Group

EV100, an initiative run by Climate Group, brings together forward-looking companies committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and making electric transport the new normal by 2030. The initiative is made up of 102 of the world’s leading companies, including Tesco, Unilever, BT Group, and AstraZeneca, spanning across 80 markets worldwide. With businesses owning about two-thirds of all new registered vehicles on the road in Europe, it is crucial that companies lead the shift to electric vehicles.

In 2020, Lyft, a North American transportation network company, made EV100’s biggest vehicle related commitment to date, committing to reach 100% EVs on its platform by 2030; Lyft expects there to be more than two million vehicles that will be used on its platform over the next 10 years.

Tackling local air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are at the heart of Lyft’s commitment. Two-thirds of its drivers identify as members of minority groups, who tend to live in communities with disproportionately higher levels of air pollution, as well as facing greater impacts of the climate crisis. By helping electrify the vehicles on its platform, Lyft hopes that benefits for climate, health and social equity will go hand-in-hand.

“By helping to solve one of the biggest pieces of the climate challenge, we believe we can provide direct economic benefits to rideshare drivers and environmental benefits to communities most heavily impacted by smog and asthma.”

Sam Arons, Director of Sustainability, Lyft

This decade will be a defining one, especially in the lead up to the international climate summit run by the UN, COP26. However, business can’t do this alone. Governments must take bold action in key policy areas in order to achieve significant emissions reduction across the sector. Despite the UK Government’s plans to bring forward the phase out date for petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, many barriers remain to reducing road transport emissions, including:

  • Availability of low and zero-emission vehicles
  • Purchase price of low and zero-emission vehicles
  • Lack of charging infrastructure

“We see the health of people and the health of the planet as a circular relationship; this is a key driver for this change at AstraZeneca. Our employees and stakeholders are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues and hold the business accountable for taking action.”

Katarina Ageborg, Sustainability and Chief Compliance Officer, AstraZeneca

Pia Heidenmark Cook, Chief Sustainability Officer, Ingka Group (IKEA), said: “Air pollution is severe, for both people and our planet, and we need to take action. As a business, the transition will help us mitigate a huge business risk as cities are restricting the use of fossil fuels. It’s a winwin-win, and we see no reason to delay this.”

“Breathable air is a fundamental human right, and we must all take action to protect it. At LeasePlan, we are working to create healthier towns and cities by leading the transition to zero-emission EVs. Switching to electric is a change we can all make today to ensure clean air tomorrow.”

Tex Gunning, CEO, LeasePlan

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