Southeast Asia’s tech startups are beginning to look deeper into sustainability. In a move to adopt environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concepts, Grab and Gojek – Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing and delivery superapps – have announced net-zero carbon targets ahead of their upcoming public listings.
Singapore’s ride-hailing service company, Grab Holdings Inc., released its first ESG report in June.
“As we intend to become a public company, we are increasing our commitment to high levels of transparency and accountability when it comes to sustainability reporting,” CEO Anthony Tan and co-founder Tan Hooi Ling stated in the report.
The Singaporean company plans to list at Nasdaq during the fourth quarter of this year through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger with Altimeter Growth Corp. with a valuation of close to $40 bn.
In its latest initiatives to promote environmentally friendly transport systems, Grab has started a new service that enables users to chose a hybrid car or an electric vehicle (EV) for the same fare as the normal ride-hailing option.
As another carbon offset feature, Grab users in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand can now add a small amount (less than $0.10) per ride. This amount will go towards reforestation and conservation projects. According to the company, trees will be planted in GrabForFood forests located in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam through partner organizations.
Grab has also pledged to have 26,000 EVs in Indonesia by 2025 and just announced to deepen a collaboration with Hyundai Motor. It will focus on accelerating EV adoption in Southeast Asia. The pilot project will test new EV business models: battery-as-a-service and car-as-a-service leasing arrangements, and EV financing options. Plans include developing a joint EV roadmap for 2021, starting with Singapore, and later expanding to Indonesia and Vietnam. It aims to lower the barriers of entry for Grab drivers and delivery partners to adopt EVs, such as lowering the total cost of ownership and reducing range anxiety.
Gojek to shift to EVs by 2030
In a similar move, Grab’s rival Gojek – Indonesia’s mobile on-demand services and payments company – also set out ESG goals via its first annual sustainability report in late April and announced its plans to decarbonize its operations.
Gojek, the one half of the newly formed tech conglomerate GoTo Group, announced commitments to three zeros: environmental sustainability to achieve Zero Emissions and Zero Waste, as well as socio-economic progress and equality and inclusion to achieve Zero Barriers.
As per Gojek’s co-Chief Executive Kevin Aluwi, the company plans to make every car and motorcycle on its platform an EV by 2030, through partnerships with manufacturers and favorable leasing arrangements. “Our target is to work with various different players within the industry and government to reduce the cost of EVs to about 30% lower than internal combustion engine vehicles,” Aluwi said.
He added that the company has EV pilot programs in Indonesia with state energy firms Pertamina and Perusahaan Listrik Negara, scooter makers Gesits, Viar, NIU Technologies and Honda Motor, and automakers Toyota Motor and Mitsubishi Motors.
“Through the integration of industry-leading ESG practices, we are ensuring we do business better across our entire ecosystem while paving the way for other companies in the region to do the same,” Andre Soelistyo, Co-CEO, Gojek, added in the company’s ESG report.
These pledges will apply to Tokopedia – the second half of the GoTo Group – as well. The newly formed group is expected to go public in Indonesia and the US before the end of 2021.