Bird is proud to be among the lowest-carbon transportation options available today. In order to lead micromobility into a completely sustainable future, however, we know we must continue to improve.
That’s why, starting in 2019, we began purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets. These actions helped neutralize the negative impact of our operations across North America and Europe and advanced our commitment to environmental protection.
Today we are proud to announce the next step on our sustainability journey. With the help of our partner 3Degrees, Bird has offset all greenhouse gas emissions associated with our shared scooter service in 2020. This includes all emissions from collecting, recharging and redistributing our vehicles, as well as our best estimates for those linked to manufacturing, shipping and recycling.
Here’s how we did it.
Measuring Our Emissions
In order to accurately measure our emissions, we worked with CEA Consulting and an independent consultant from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to track the total environmental impact of our scooters from manufacturing to end-of-life. We then compared the estimates from our life-cycle analysis against those of a similar independent exercise conducted by the International Transport Forum and picked the higher estimates.
Our LCA calculations were broken down into two emissions components:
The greenhouse gases associated with manufacturing, shipping, picking-up, dropping off and recycling Bird vehicles
The total direct energy (in megawatt hours) used to charge our fleet globally
Offsetting Our Emissions
Using these estimates, we worked with our offset partner 3Degrees to purchase carbon offsets to match the greenhouse gases we were responsible for emitting in 2020. These offsets will fund projects to ensure additional GHGs are not released into the atmosphere. We also matched our direct energy consumption with high quality, zero-emissions renewable energy certificates, also supplied by 3Degrees.
Our carbon offsets are third-party verified using internationally recognized standards. For example, one of the carbon projects we support avoids emissions in the transportation industry. The project, listed on Verra’s registry, was designed for magnesium automotive parts manufacturers to reduce emissions in the manufacturing process by replacing SF6, the traditional magnesium cover gas, with a lower GHG intensive cover gas.
This is a highly additional project, as it directly addresses emission reductions in a non-regulated sector of automotive manufacturing and requires ongoing financial support. Without the revenue from voluntary offset buyers, this project would not receive funding.
Strategies for Reducing Emissions and Next Steps
Transportation decarbonization is core to our mission, and we seek to support further reductions in our industry. Beyond carbon offsets and RECs, Bird is committed to taking important steps to proactively reduce our carbon emissions.
Some of these initiatives have already been implemented. They include revolutionary hardware developments such as our integrated structural batteries that reduce vehicle mass, operational enhancements like our proprietary Bird AI that significantly decreases service vehicle mileage traveled, recycling partnerships that keep as much as 95% of our ferrous and non-ferrous materials and 86% of our e-waste components out of landfills and our leadership role as the micromobility industry’s only signatory of the UN Global Compact.
Others are in progress, like the implementation of e-vans and cargo bikes in all Bird partner cities and an in-depth 2021 assessment of our environmental impact and formulation of carbon reduction targets that will be carried out with the help of global experts and nonprofit environmental organizations. We will report soon—and regularly—on the progress of these important strategies.
To learn more about Bird’s commitment to the environment, visit our new Sustainability page or subscribe to the Bird Cities Blog for regular updates on how we’re tracking towards our environmental commitments.