Dott, Tier and Voi launch industry sustainability standards covering waste reduction, clean energy, and CO2 reporting
Europe's largest e-scooter firms have set out a series of joint sustainability commitments aimed at keeping the rapidly growing e-scooter industry's waste and carbon emissions in check.
The sustainability standards launched today by Sweden's Voi, Germany's Tier and the Netherland's Dott consist of ten environmental and social commitments that cover the full life-cycle of an e-scooter.
These include pledges to never demolish an e-scooter, to run all warehouse operations on clean energy, and to use electric vehicles for e-scooter maintenance and recharging.
The companies have also promised to ensure that 20 per cent of all the material used to constuct new e-scooters is recycled material by 2021, to equip all e-scooters with swappable batteries from the close of this year, and to appoint an independent body to oversee and report on their progress against the new standards.
And, in a bid to tackle the companies' climate impact, all three have committed to calculating the carbon emissions of scooters' lifecycle and to take subsequent steps to offset them.
The e-scooter companies called on other European operators to join them in adopting the new pledges, arguing that an industry with sustainability "at its core" maintains manufacturing and operational best practice.
"Sustainability is at the core of our industry and the value that our service brings," the CEOs of Voi, Tier and Dott said in a joint statement. "It is important that we take responsibility for our practices and are held to the highest standards so that consumers and cities can have complete faith in the sector and our way of operating."
E-scooters, which have been legal in many cities on continental Europe for some time, have been celebrated as a zero-carbon, fast and convenient way to make short journeys. The UK legalised rental e-scooters on 1 July, following months of pressure from industry, green groups and urban planners to introduce a new type of green and socially-distanced transport to city roads in the wake of the pandemic.
However, concerns have been raised that e-scooters are frequently left strewn on the roadside, crowding out pavement space and causing particular problems for those in wheelchairs and with disabilities. Moreover, reports of e-scooters being dumped in rivers have prompted criticism over their environmental impact. Last September, more than 100 e-scooters were fished from the Rhone river during a single clean-up operation in the French city of Lyon.
In a bit to counter these criticisms, the e-scooter firms today promised to deliver "responsible growth" that does not result in an inundation of e-scooters on city streets. They also said they would take steps to prevent e-scooters being dumped in waterways and work together in cities where they are jointly active to retrieve them.
Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, commended the initiative, which he said would help the sector reach its full decarbonisation potential. "E-scooters and other forms of micro mobility have the potential to reduce transport's overall carbon footprint by replacing car trips for first and last mile journeys," he said. "In order to do so the entire industry must ensure environmental and social aims are key to their business."
Shirley also urged other operators to adopt the standards "as a minimum on which to build".
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