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This is a Transport innovation from The 70 Best Trend-Driven Innovations of 2019.


Electric scooter-sharing company Bird is buying renewable energy credits and carbon offsets to address the energy used to deliver and charge its scooters. The California-based company operates shared scooter schemes in over 100 cities across the US, Europe and Asia, and says its mission is to make cities more livable by reducing car usage and carbon emissions. Its electric scooters are zero-emission, but Bird says it now wants to address two further sustainability challenges: the pollution generated when trips are made to collect the scooters for charging, and the energy used for charging. The energy credits and offsets will support projects including reforestation along the Mississippi River. Bird is also working to extend the lifespan of its scooters.

Kudos, Bird. And the relevance for you? Keep reading...

End-to-end guilt audit. When it comes to sustainability, Bird could have pointed towards its zero-emission scooters (better than most cars!) and left it at that. Instead, they’re seeking to address sustainability questions across their entire operation. Smart move, given rising awareness that sustainable or ethical brands can hide dark secrets in their process or supply chain. That’s why Tesla is on a mission to stop using cobalt in its batteries. And it’s why shoe company Allbirds have imposed a carbon tax on themselves.

Accelerating expectations. Ultimately, this innovation is a great example of the phenomenon at the heart of new trends. That is, shifts in consumer expectations. Once it was enough to boast about being sustainable in one dimension. Now, innovations such as this are fuelling consumer expectations that brands will look across their entire supply chain, process and output and take action on all of it. You’ve heard us say it before: new innovations fuel new expectations, and eventually everyone (including you!) has to respond.

So the big challenge for you? Look at your organization from end to end – supply chain, processes and more – and ask: what action towards sustainability will consumers expect us to take this year?


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