Up&Ap: Sébastien Pellion on leading Glovo’s fleet electrification move to cut emissions




From organizing training for its couriers to championing sustainability projects, Glovo has been leading the charge in the multi-category space in Kenya for greener methods of doing business. During a recent visit to Kenya, Sébastien Pellion (pictured), Glovo’s Global Head of Impact & Sustainability, spoke on the organization’s sustainability strides in Kenya.

QUESTION: Can you provide an overview of Glovo’s sustainability and impact initiatives under your leadership?

SÉBASTIEN PELLION: Glovo has made significant strides in sustainability and impact. Under a series of impact commitments known as the 3G’s (Give, Grow, Green), we ensure to leave the right footprint by amplifying the positive impact and reducing negative externalities from our core business. Glovo is repurposing its technology to help NGOs achieve their mission by providing them with free logistics to deliver essential goods and in-app donations features for fundraising in times of crisis. We’ve successfully implemented training partnerships with Tunapanda and Ongoza Institute and our initiatives in fleet electrification and food waste reduction showcase our commitment to environmental responsibility. 

QUESTION: Could you tell us more about Glovo’s fleet electrification initiative?

SB: The motivation behind our fleet electrification initiative is rooted in reducing our carbon footprint and adapting to local regulations prohibiting access to the city center for combustion vehicles. The partnership with Roam and M-Kopa aims to transition a portion of our fleet to electric vehicles, promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility. Our goals include reducing emissions, improving air quality, and pioneering eco-friendly delivery solutions. Already, 10% of the fleet in Kenya is made of electric bicycles.

QUESTION: What environmental benefits do you expect from the fleet electrification initiative?

SB: Approved by science-based targets, Glovo is committed to reducing its emissions by 42% in 2030, by working on electrification of the fleet, phasing out of plastic packaging, and food waste reduction. This goal is equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road per year by 2030. Kenya is one of our key target countries to accelerate electrification efforts, due to the market maturity and willingness from the government to reduce combustion vehicles.

QUESTION: How does it align with Glovo’s long-term sustainability goals?

SB: The fleet electrification initiative aligns with our long-term sustainability goals by significantly reducing our carbon emissions. We anticipate a decrease in air pollution and environmental impact, contributing to healthier communities. This initiative underscores Glovo’s commitment to becoming a leader in environmentally conscious business practices and fostering a more sustainable future.

QUESTION: How are you addressing challenges related to the adoption of electric vehicles among couriers, and what steps are being taken to ensure the success of the pilot program?

SB: We recognize the challenges associated with adopting electric vehicles and are actively addressing them. Initiatives include providing financial support through partnerships with Roam and M-Kopa, offering incentives to couriers, and offering couriers the possibility to own their batteries and roam as charging stations if needed. These steps are designed to facilitate a smooth transition to electric vehicles and ensure the success of our pilot program.

QUESTION: What measures are in place to track and minimize food waste within the Glovo ecosystem?

SB: We employ a comprehensive tracking system to monitor food waste across our ecosystem. This includes regular audits, data analysis, and collaboration with partners to implement best practices in inventory management. We engage with partners through training programs, sharing guidelines for minimizing food waste and encouraging sustainable practices at every stage of the delivery process. CAPU (Cancelled After Pick Up) is active in Kenya and since January 2023, 375 orders that were canceled were donated to Nyumbani Children’s Home.

QUESTION: Looking ahead, what additional steps or strategies are planned for furthering Glovo’s impact on reducing food waste?

SB: Moving forward, we plan to expand our partnerships with NGOs to cover all MFCs, ensuring a holistic approach to food waste reduction. Additionally, we will continue to invest in technology and data analytics to identify areas of improvement, implement targeted interventions, and explore innovative solutions to further reduce food waste within the Glovo ecosystem.

QUESTION: Are there any upcoming partnerships, projects, or innovations in the sustainability we should expect in the near future?

SB: We are particularly excited about our continued collaboration with Roam and M-Kopa for fleet electrification, exploring opportunities to scale this initiative and make a more substantial impact. Moreover, we remain dedicated to furnishing couriers with various Learning and Development (L&D) tools to facilitate their growth. This includes platforms like Sololearn, tailored for coding enthusiasts, Busuu for language learning, and additional resources aimed at enhancing their skill set. And finally, we will continue to escalate our collaboration with Tunapanda to further impact an increased number of couriers in financial literacy and digital skills.

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