Uber, the global ride-hailing and food delivery giant, has announced an expanded commitment to environmental sustainability. Building on their previous goal of making Uber a carbon-free mobility platform by 2040, with all rides occurring in zero-emission vehicles or using public transit and micromobility options, the company is now targeting emissions reduction in its delivery business. Uber aims to achieve emission-free Uber Eats deliveries worldwide by 2040 and eliminate unnecessary plastic waste from deliveries by 2030.
With over 890,000 merchants across more than 30 countries and a vast network of couriers and drivers, Uber has a unique opportunity to contribute to a greener future. As a leader in the ride-hailing industry’s transition to zero emissions, Uber aspires to be the first global delivery tech platform to support the adoption of sustainable packaging, not only for Uber Eats merchants but for the entire restaurant delivery ecosystem.
To fulfill these commitments, supportive policies are crucial. In European cities, where progressive policies like the European Union’s Green Deal and France’s Climate Bill are in place, Uber plans to set earlier emission targets. By 2030, Uber aims to make all deliveries on the Uber Eats platform in Europe emission-free. The company will invest in partnerships and incentives to help couriers transition to electric bikes, electric vehicles (EVs), and other emission-free modes of transportation. Collaborating with organizations such as RMI (Rocky Mountain Institute) and participating in initiatives like the Shared Mobility 2030 Action Agenda, the WEF’s Global New Mobility Coalition, Cycling Industries Europe, and the Zero Emission Transportation Association, Uber aims to amplify its efforts and gain valuable insights into the electrification of delivery services.
Addressing the issue of single-use plastic waste, which poses significant environmental challenges, Uber plans to assist restaurants in transitioning to more sustainable packaging. By 2030, Uber intends to facilitate this transition in every city where it operates through a combination of discounts, incentives, and advocacy. In the Asia-Pacific and European regions, Uber aims to achieve earlier milestones as soon as 2025, partnering with local stakeholders and supporting policies that promote responsible food packaging for delivery. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Closed Loop Partners will provide expert guidance to Uber in its pursuit of sustainable packaging solutions.
The magnitude of the challenge is substantial, as projections indicate a tripling of plastic packaging pollution in the oceans by 2040. An estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic pollution, primarily consisting of take-out items like bags, wrappers, food containers, cutlery, and bottles, enters the oceans each year. Uber Eats, with its extensive reach and influence, can make a significant impact. The company has already implemented features to make single-use cutlery optional for consumers and has initiated reusable packaging trials in various countries. Collaborating with the WWF, Uber plans to prioritize the shift from single-use plastic to reusable, recyclable, compostable, and sustainably sourced packaging options. The aim is to make these alternatives more accessible and affordable for restaurants, with valuable guidance from the WWF and Closed Loop Partners.
Uber acknowledges that achieving a carbon-neutral platform is a formidable task and emphasizes the importance of collaborative efforts and supportive policies. The company intends to hold itself accountable by incorporating Uber Eats’ progress into its annual Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting. Furthermore, Uber recognizes the need for the industry as a whole to openly address these challenges with a fact-based approach. Uber welcomes its peers to join in commitments, collaboration, and competition that translate into meaningful action.
In pursuing waste and emission reduction on the Uber Eats platform, Uber has outlined several key initiatives:
Establishing sustainable packaging guidelines in collaboration with the WWF and Closed Loop Partners, supporting and incentivizing restaurants in their transition to more sustainable packaging.
Investing in features and functionalities within the Uber Eats app to assist consumers in reducing waste.
Launching packaging partnerships with companies like Green Paper Products, Bunzl, Enviropack, Dinovia, and ITOCHU Corporation to promote greener alternatives and provide Uber Eats merchant partners with discounts of up to 35% off retail prices for sustainable packaging solutions.
Strengthening collaboration with Visa through the Grants for Growth program, offering financial support for greener packaging to restaurants in selected cities.
Advocating for policies that encourage the expansion of recycling and composting facilities, vital for advancing the use of sustainable packaging globally.
Collaborating with RMI to analyze the challenges and opportunities related to last-mile zero-emission transportation for couriers. This analysis will help scale programs that support couriers transitioning to greener modes of transport.
Expanding micromobility partnerships with companies like Cooltra, Human Forest, Zoomo, Lumala, Gogoro, and Gachaco to facilitate the transition of millions of couriers to e-bikes, EVs, and other emission-free transportation options.
Extending vehicle partnerships in North America, including the Hertz Tesla rental program and cashback incentives for Pro Card users on charging, to provide couriers with the same options available to drivers on the Uber platform.
Investing in increased batching of delivery orders and implementing green routing strategies to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and minimize per-delivery emissions.
Uber acknowledges the collective effort required to tackle these challenges and emphasizes the importance of transparency, accountability, and action. By working together, the industry can drive positive change and contribute to a sustainable future.
Mary Jo Snavely, Director, Private Sector Engagement, World Wildlife Fund
“The rate of plastic pollution entering our oceans will triple by 2040 unless we change course by transitioning to a circular economy — and companies must be a lever for enacting such change. With both global reach and local influence, Uber Eats’ plans for increasing sustainable packaging use within their merchant ecosystems are necessary in order to have the potential to enable widescale change across the food delivery sector.”
Clay Stranger, Managing Director of Carbon-Free Transportation, RMI
“Accelerated decarbonization of rides and deliveries will have a significant direct impact and will also create momentum for other use cases and vehicle segments to electrify. Uber’s commitment to eliminate emissions will meaningfully advance a climate-safe transportation future.”
Kate Daly, Head of the Center for the Circular Economy, Closed Loop Partners
“Uber’s commitment to a waste-free future is an important step to advancing circular packaging systems across a range of channels––including delivery. We are thrilled to work with Uber to support them in achieving their goals, and celebrate their leadership in eliminating packaging waste and emissions across their ecosystem.”
Douglas Sabo, Chief Sustainability Officer, Visa Inc.
“As consumers continue to seek out more sustainable choices, there’s a growing opportunity for delivery businesses to rise to the occasion and provide options that meet the needs of both their customers and the planet. The expansion of our Grants for Growth partnership with Uber Eats is a testament to the power and tangible impact we can make when we enable and empower small- and medium-sized businesses to be a part of a greener future.”
Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive, Cycling Industries Europe
“Cycling Industries Europe welcomes Uber Eats commitment to eliminate emissions on all deliveries globally by 2040 and its recognition of the role e-bikes can play in this transition. Our members know that bikes are not just clean, they are a highly efficient and cost-effective solution for urban deliveries. We look forward to working with the company to help millions of couriers transition to e-bikes and cargo bikes.”
Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General, POLIS
“I welcome Uber’s efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of its meal delivery platform, and in particular the ambition to move towards zero emissions when it comes to the role of Uber Eats in the urban mobility ecosystem. Only through public-private cooperation, joint efforts and a common sense of ownership and responsibility, will be able to move towards the climate neutrality and sustainable mobility targets we have set ourselves and absolutely need to reach.”
Céline Domecq, Platform Chair, Platform for Electromobility
“The Platform for electromobility is proud to support its member Uber’s commitment to sustainability and their efforts to electrify last mile delivery in cities. We recognize the significance of electrifying the movement of goods for reducing emissions, promoting a greener future for food delivery, and reaching European climate goals. By working together with partners across the ecosystem, we can make a meaningful impact on the environment.”
Elizabeth Sturcken, Managing Director, Corporate Partnerships at Environmental Defense Fund
“Uber is taking a big step toward making their food delivery operations more sustainable by setting time-bound goals with accountability. Food packaging waste and delivery emissions are enormous challenges — with existing solutions that need to be adopted and made cost competitive at scale. If Uber is successful in scaling pilots of reusable delivery containers, and supporting small businesses in making the switch to greener packaging solutions, this could be an innovation for every company to watch. I’m impressed by the public transparency, advocating for public policy, and the NGO partnerships that will enable science-driven action.”
Philippe Vangeel, Secretary General, AVERE – The European Association for Electromobility
“We applaud Uber’s decision to electrify its Uber EATS delivery service, which demonstrates Uber’s commitment and thought leadership in terms of environmental sustainability. It is a perfect example of how the mass transition to electromobility is the cornerstone of decarbonising transport, not only for private consumers, but also for the wider service industry in our societies. We look forward to other companies following this trend so that they can drive down emissions on the road for our planet and the health of our fellow citizens.”
Richard Bartlett, CEO, bp pulse
“We are delighted to already work with Uber to help their ride-hailing drivers make the transition to EVs by providing great value access to the fast, reliable charging infrastructure we´re building. And I’m pleased to hear that today they have expanded their sustainability commitments to also include their delivery business. With bp’s ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 and to help the world get to net zero, we recognize that collaborations with like-minded organisations, such as Uber, are required, and we’re immensely proud to partner with them to help drivers on the Uber platform become electric.”
Benjamin de la Peña, CEO, Shared-Use Mobility Center; Chair, Global Network for Popular Transportation
“Dependable transportation, for people and goods, is critical to making our towns and cities more equitable. Shared mobility, from public transit to walkable sidewalks, can help us to reverse the trend and rapidly decarbonize the source of the fastest growth in global carbon emissions. Uber’s commitment to make goods delivery greener and shared mobility cleaner, especially for two- and three-wheeled modes, is the right thing to do. Every delivery and ride-hailing platform should follow Uber’s leadership. We hope their leadership in confronting the climate challenge also creates momentum to make the sector more equitable for gig workers and the labor force, so we decarbonize with a Just Transition.”
Mindy Lubber, CEO and President, Ceres
“For decades, Ceres has worked to encourage major companies like Uber to take climate action. We’re pleased to see Uber expand their sustainability commitment to include food delivery services and address transportation emissions as well as packaging. We recognize that changing systems requires the participation of all parties, and we have co-developed standards for many sectors to ensure transparency and strong accountability by all parties. Businesses in particular can have a catalytic role in shaping the conditions for cities to tackle climate change – especially when they uphold themselves to high standards. We look forward to working with Uber and seeing the impact they’ll have through such an important initiative.”
Josh D. Boone, Executive Director, Veloz
Uber’s successful efforts to help educate drivers from diverse backgrounds on the benefits of going electric and shifting drivers to EVs for passenger mobility align well with Veloz’s goal to drive forward transportation electrification through our Electric For All consumer education campaign. This new push to reduce emissions from deliveries through accessible electric transportation solutions is an exciting next step toward Uber’s zero-emission mobility goals.”
Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, National Stewardship Action Council
“We are thrilled that Uber is supporting delivery people to move to zero-emission vehicles. With climate chaos already here, we urgently need to move to zero-emission vehicles which will drive an equitable and more sustainable economy. We cannot achieve equity without offering financial incentives to delivery people, to help make the switch to non-carbon emitting modes. We strongly support Uber’s commitment to a clean and healthy future for the delivery people, drivers, their riders they partner with.”
Sheila Morovati, Founder, Habits of Waste
“Uber Eats has been a pioneer in our #CutOutCutlery campaign. Their feature to make single-use cutlery strictly opt-in for consumers is an innovative approach to mitigate plastic waste. We are thrilled to see them lead the way yet again with incredible plans to reduce the carbon footprint of ordering in.”