Hytch has announced the launch of the nation’s largest carbon offset program for commuters. The program is free to any commuter who wants to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Nashville-based platform records customers’ shared usage of transportation routes, including rides that don’t involve cars, then pays for the carbon offsets saved by using these routes, and rewards users with cash.
“Every business I’ve been in, no matter what business it was, fundamentally paid people to do what they wanted them to do,” Hytch co-founder Mark Cleveland tells Hypepotamus. “You either paid people to go to work and then you create incentives around doing better work. Every concept in business is about incentives … and nobody was applying this to transportation, which is stark raving madness in my eyes.”
Hytch’s new initiative allows the platform to track tailpipe emissions from any car listed in the EPA’s vehicle database, then determine how many tons of carbon credits Hytch and its partners need to purchase to make that trip carbon neutral. Commuters can download the free Hytch app from the Apple App or Google Play stores.
“Whenever you’re participating in something that’s got emissions, we and our sponsors offset those emissions so that you can have a carbon-zero footprint when it comes to mobility,” Hytch co-founder Mark Cleveland tells Hypepotamus.
In a statement, J. Thomas Ranken, President and CEO of the Seattle-based Clean Tech Alliance, highlighted the true scope of Hytch’s carbon-zero initiative. “Hytch technology makes carbon zero commuting accessible to everyone. This will really help employers to directly engage the entire workforce in corporate sustainability goals.”
Hytch’s Rewards platform is sponsored by partners comprised of corporations and organizations that pledge money to reward individuals willing to share their rides via carpooling, public transportation, or ridesharing services like Uber. Those individuals share their rides with the company, then Hytch’s partners use the platform to collect consumer data on how to evolve as mobility patterns shift. Any company can join by sponsoring their employees, customers and communities. This new initiative broadens Hytch’s audience from those sponsored by corporations and other organizations to people nationwide.
While other transportation services take advantage of a large network of individual users to match drivers to people that need rides, Hytch leverages the personal networks of its users to incentivize ridesharing and other green methods of transportation.
“People have fantastic networks already, but they just don’t have the incentive, and the people that give them rides to work don’t have an obvious incentive,” says Cleveland. “We’ve created this tool set that leverages personal networks, and does so in a cost-effective way … because we’re creating a marketplace that’s hyperlocal and hyperpersonal.”
“What’s necessary is to develop the habits and to have a tracking system that allows employers to provide incentives for employees to take one another to work.”
“The scale of this initiative is exciting,” said Steve Hellem, CEO of Suppliers Partnership for the Environment, in a statement. “Hytch epitomizes what our member companies are committed to: improving the global climate, driving economic development and creating new opportunities for our country.”
Hytch launched publicly in January 2018 with Nissan North America as the first sponsor. Since then, Hytch Rewards has sponsored more than 11.8 million miles in rides in Nashville alone — generating $250,000 in cash payments to riders. The company claims that’s the equivalent of 7.58 million undriven miles and 3,000 fewer tons of carbon released into the atmosphere.
“People who want to live a lower-carbon-impact life are only going to be able to do by walking to work or by finding a way to offset their carbon impact when they drive,” says Cleveland. “We set out to track their behavior and the change in behavior over time when you start giving incentives to make smarter mobility decisions.”
Because transportation remains such a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, employers, brands and governments partner with Hytch to measure and monitor mobility incentives to reach commute trip reduction goals and verify shared rides.
Hytch’s carbon-zero initiative is a bit of a passion project for Cleveland, who believes that commuter behavior needs to shift drastically in order to properly address quality of life issues like traffic congestion and air quality concerns.
“I believe that the single greatest impact on our environment is the way we use fossil fuels and cars,” says Cleveland. “We need behavior change there.”