World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

filtered by category: Renewables

  • Date: 13 September 2018
  • Author: Sam Arons, Director of Sustainability at Lyft

Since 2017, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been part of Lyft’s Round Up & Donate program, which gives Lyft riders the option to round up their fare to the next dollar and donate the difference to WWF.

This year, Lyft’s been working to reduce its carbon footprint. As the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) takes place in San Francisco this week, WWF caught up with Lyft’s Director of Sustainability, Sam Arons, to learn more about the company’s commitments.

Sam Arons blue

Why does Lyft care about its environmental impact and making climate commitments?

Lyft was founded on the belief that technology will enable us to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from the transportation system while improving quality of life and access to opportunity for all Americans. We’re more determined now than ever before to make that vision a reality. We now give more than 10 million rides a week - and as we continue to grow, we have a greater responsibility to dedicate material resources to our vision and values.

In the future, all vehicles will be electric and operate using clean electricity. But climate change is not waiting. It’s happening now, and it presents a clear and immediate threat to our world and those who live in it. Action cannot wait. That's why we took the important steps to immediately offset the carbon emissions from all rides globally - and earlier this week, we announced that Lyft is now a fully carbon neutral company. We have also committed to purchase enough renewable energy to cover the electricity consumption of every Lyft office space, driver hub, and electric vehicle mile on our platform.

These actions are not the full solution, but an important step forward. By committing significant financial resources to these efforts, we’re building into our business a strong incentive to pursue shared rides and the displacement of gasoline-powered vehicles. The more shared rides and clean vehicles on the platform, the fewer carbon offsets we will need to purchase.

As a company whose business model relies on cars, what steps are you taking to reduce emissions?

Back in April, just before Earth Day, Lyft announced that we would be offsetting the carbon emissions from our rides And this week for GCAS, we’ve doubled down on that commitment by announcing that Lyft is now a fully carbon neutral company, and that we’re covering 100% of our electricity consumption, including EV charging, with renewable energy.  What we’ve effectively done is imposed a carbon price on ourselves as a way to drive CO2 out of our business. We’re excited about this for a few reasons. First of all, we think it’s important to take responsibility for our environmental impact, and this was a way to step up and do that right away.

How do you plan to achieve your carbon offset commitment?

When we started this project, we obtained a partner to help us build a portfolio of offset projects that would be in the right places and volumes to offset all ride emissions. These offset projects were selected after rigorous vetting. That’s how we kicked off the project. Since the announcement and selecting the projects, we have been buying the offsets on an ongoing basis to cover the emissions as they occur.

Do you work with others across industry? If so, what steps are you taking to drive the industry forward?

“We’re already starting to have the conversations that will bring a whole ecosystem of different players together to achieve this electrified future.”

Sam Arons
Director of Sustainability at Lyft

Lyft is part of several different industries, two major ones being the transportation industry and the tech industry. It’s important to us to work across both, and with our colleagues in local and state governments. One area where this will be particularly important is with electric vehicles. EVs will be a very important piece in the future of our sustainability program at Lyft. At the end of the day, it’s good to be offsetting carbon emissions, and we’re very proud that we’re doing that, but that can’t be the ultimate answer. We need to eliminate emissions to begin with rather than emit and then have to offset. To do that, we’ll need all our rides to be in electric vehicles that are charged from renewable energy to have no emissions at all. Achieving this will require working with auto manufacturers who will be the ones to create more models of vehicles that have sufficient range for a ride-sharing application – about 200 miles at a minimum. We’ll also work with electric utilities who will provide the grid infrastructure that can support more charging stations, and with third-party charging providers to get those stations deployed. And we’ll need to work with state and local governments on permitting and placement of charging stations. We’re already starting to have the conversations that will bring a whole ecosystem of different players together to achieve this electrified future.

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of WWF.

  • Date: 03 December 2015

Part of New Commitment to Power the Internet with Renewable Energy


Today, Google announced a series of major renewable energy agreements and signed on to the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles. Here’s more about the purchases and the company’s commitment to powering the future clean energy from the official Google blog:

“…we’re announcing the largest, and most diverse, purchase of renewable energy ever made by a non-utility company. Google has already committed to purchase more renewable energy than any other company. Now, through a series of new wind and solar projects around the world, we’re one step closer to our commitment to triple our purchases of renewable energy by 2025 and our goal of powering 100% of our operations with clean energy.

842 MW of renewable energy around the world

Today’s agreements will add an additional 842 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to power our data centers. Across three countries, we’re nearly doubling the amount of renewable energy we’ve purchased to date. We’re now up to 2 gigawatts—the equivalent to taking nearly 1 million cars off the road.

These additional 842 megawatts represent a range of locations and technologies, from a wind farm in Sweden to a solar plant in Chile.”

Read the full post on the official Google blog

  • Date: 05 October 2015

Africa is home to some of the fastest-growing economies on the planet, with an expected growth rate of 4.5 percent in 2015 and 5 percent in 2016. But the lack of affordable, reliable energy could challenge continued economic and social development.

Because Africa’s population and economic growth are outpacing electrification efforts, the number of people without access to electricity is expected to grow from 585 million to 645 million by 2030; that’s more than twice the current population of the United States simply left behind.

The conventional approach to electrification on the continent mainly seeks to expand access to the centralized grid, and that will not be enough. The International Energy Agency estimates that in Africa, nearly half of the 315 million people who live in rural areas will depend on off-grid solutions, like mini-grids, to close the electricity gap, while a quarter of those who live in the remote rural areas will rely on smaller, stand-alone solutions like solar home systems for first-time energy access.

To achieve universal energy access by 2030, Africa needs an integrated approach that expands the grid while massively scaling up distributed generation (DG) -- modular systems that generate power close to where it is used. These include stand-alone systems, as well as mini-grids, which may be off-grid or grid connected.

Reaching Sustainable Development Goals through Distributed Generation

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), just adopted at the United Nations, acknowledge this growing energy gap in goal number 7, which sets a target of universal access to affordable, reliable, modern energy services within the next 15 years. These new goals – which aim to eradicate extreme poverty in an environmentally sustainable way -- emphasize the role of energy access as a means to that end. The SDGs also stress the importance of empowering and fully engaging civil society, the private sector, and – most importantly – the energy users themselves in developing energy access solutions.

WRI, WWF and Prayas Energy Group have developed a new resource, 10 Questions to Ask about Distributed Generation, which can serve as a valuable tool for countries seeking to tap into distributed energy sources to provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. The tool has been designed to assist stakeholders to better understand and make meaningful contributions to the energy planning processes in ways that will significantly impact the effectiveness of energy access initiatives and produce tangible development impacts.


Distributed Generation ("DG") Can Play a Role

With the cost of renewable energy technologies continuing to decline, and with the DG market witnessing truly transformational innovations – such as mobile money-enabled pay-as-you-go business models -- the market opportunity in Africa is tremendous. Yet, the use of DG is still limited in Africa; energy service providers are faced with significant challenges as they try to scale their impact. How do service providers better tailor their services to the needs of the households, businesses and communities that they are trying to serve? How do they ensure the provision of high quality energy services at affordable prices? How does the regulatory and planning environment impact the cost of energy services? How does the regulatory and planning process allow for smooth integration of distributed generation services into the grid?

The complexity of these challenges means that a wide network of actors must be engaged to collectively define energy needs and manage cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions. Decision-makers and planners, as well as civil society groups, development partners and investors, must not only more fully appreciate the contribution DG can make towards achieving energy objectives, but must also work together to create a supportive framework for its rapid expansion and integration into national energy plans.

This tool can be used to facilitate effective communication between stakeholders, discover knowledge gaps and develop collaborative research agendas. In the coming months, the tool will be put to use in Africa, where WWF and WRI are partnering to ensure that civil society, energy service providers, and other relevant stakeholders have a seat at the table to improve energy planning and program implementation. Through its local country offices in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, WWF is developing networks and Sustainable Energy Forums. Through these structures, the 10 Questions to Ask about Distributed Generation will be used to help diverse constituencies work through complex, multifaceted and in some cases, divisive issues around priority setting and planning for energy access.

This framework will be a valuable tool as countries begin to pursue Sustainable Development Goal number 7 and move towards implementing Sustainable Energy for All country action agendas as well as national, district and local energy plans.


The 10 Questions to Ask about Distributed Generation is part of a 4 part WRI’s 10 Questions series.

For additional information please contact Daniel Riley, Lead Specialist for Renewable Energy Policy at WWF

  • Date: 02 September 2015
  • Author: Matt Banks

 In August, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Obama announced the final Clean Power Plan, aiming to reduce carbon pollution from power plants across the nation. A safer and more prosperous future is within our grasp and on the horizon. To reach it, both governments and the private sector need to work together. Governments have made a major step with the Clean Power Plan. Businesses can match this step by committing to a zero-carbon future powered by renewable energy. The easiest place to start? A proven strategy designed by WWF, CDP and McKinsey & Co. that can save both money and carbon through:

  1. Energy efficiency through technology improvements
  2. Energy efficiency through management or behavioral changes
  3. Increased use of low-carbon energy
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  • Date: 01 May 2015
  • Author: James Beard, WWF and Rafael A Grillo Avila, Environmental Defense Fund

If international aviation were a country, it would be a global top ten carbon emitter, with emissions expected to triple or quadruple by 2040. This is why the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has agreed to cap net carbon emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels.

ICAO aims to achieve this goal through technical and operational measures; carbon pricing through market-based measures (MBM’s); and biofuels. Many airlines see biofuels as a “silver bullet” for meeting their carbon goals. Already over 40 airlines have flown over 600,000 biofuel-powered flights.

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  • Date: 17 February 2015

The Buyers’ Principles were launched by WWF and the World Resources Institute (WRI) in July, 2014 with 12 major companies. Word continues to spread and there are now 25 signatories.

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  • Date: 31 July 2014
  • Author: Sandra Vijn, WWF

There’s another energy revolution developing from the most unlikely of places – cow manure


Today, President Obama released a “Biogas Opportunities Roadmap”, as part of the administration’s Climate Action Plan - Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. The Roadmap promotes the market potential and benefits of biogas and encourages the adoption of closed-looped biogas systems. In action, this is collecting cow manure and allowing it to ferment in a sealed tank. The methane released during fermentation is captured and used for energy. In a closed-loop system, the “cooked” manure – essentially sterilized -- is separated into liquid and solid. The liquid is used as crop fertilizer and the solids can be used as cow bedding or compost.

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  • Date: 28 July 2014
  • Author: By Joshua Ryor, World Resources Institute (WRI) and Bryn Baker, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Earlier this month, Walmart and 11 other major companies announced their commitment to a set of Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles that outline how renewable energy providers and utilities can help meet the growing corporate demand for renewable energy.

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  • Date: 11 July 2014
  • Author: Marty Spitzer, Director US Climate and Renewable Energy Policy, WWF

What can rotary dial telephones, cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and door to door milk delivery teach us about the renewable energy revolution? They show us how once commonplace products and services have and will always be replaced by newer ones. It’s not farfetched to say 2014 is to renewable energy what 1955 was to the CRT TV – the golden age of renewable energy is just now upon us.

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  • Date: 19 June 2014
  • Author: Bryn Baker, Manager of Renewable Energy, WWF

For the largest corporations in the United States, clean energy is business as usual. And it’s good for business and our planet. In fact, nearly half of the largest companies in the U.S. are capturing significant business value by cutting emissions and using clean forms of energy to power their operations.

A new report from WWF, Ceres, Calvert Investments and David Gardiner and Associates finds that, 43 percent, or 215 of the companies in the Fortune 500 have set targets in one of three categories: (1) greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction commitments, (2) energy efficiency, and (3) renewable energy.

Leaders such as Caterpillar, Dow Chemical, General Electric, General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Sprint, and Walmart have set targets across all three categories.

The largest companies in the Fortune 500 – the Fortune 100 – continue to lead: 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have set clean energy and GHG reduction targets as of 2013. Since the first Power Forward report was released, companies like Apple and Pepsi have joined the ranks of other Fortune 100 companies with climate and clean energy targets.

The aggregate impact of the company actions is significant. Among the 53 Fortune 100 companies reporting on climate and energy targets to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), they are conservatively saving $1.1 billion annually through their emission reduction and renewable energy initiatives. In 2012 alone, these companies decreased their annual emissions by approximately 58.3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent – comparable to retiring about 15 coal plants – saving them an average of $19 per ton of CO2 equivalent.

The scale of these savings is likely to keep climbing rapidly as more companies realize the potential for big cost reductions enabled by energy efficiency and renewable energy. Individual companies have already achieved significant savings and have high expectations going forward. For example, IBM has saved a cumulative $477 million through its annual energy conservation actions. Walmart expects to save $1 billion globally per year through its renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. Dell estimates that improvements in the efficiency of its products will save customers $1.1 billion annually. The trends are clear: leading companies are capturing business value by executing effective clean energy strategies, and with proven results, more are sure to join the pursuit.