10 years later, Zipcar reflects on their Mayor’s Greenovate Award and their commitment to climate action.
The Greenovate community is a vast network of Boston leaders making a difference in climate action. Read below for our conversation with a winner of the Mayor’s Greenovate Awards in our series Where Are They Now?
Zipcar won the Mayor's Greenovate Award as a Green Business in 2007. You can nominate an individual, business, or any kind of group or organization to be considered for the Mayor’s Greenovate Awards.
Tracey Zhen, Zipcar President
Please introduce your organization: What neighborhood is your organization located? What does your organization do?
Zipcar is the world’s leading car-sharing network, providing on-demand access to thousands of vehicles big and small from compact cars to large moving vans. Our vision is bigger than just providing access to cars, though, we’re transforming the way cities move by reducing personal car ownership and freeing up space for things that are a lot more enjoyable than traffic. Our headquarters are located in Boston’s Innovation District in a colorful space that’s designed for energy efficiency and sustainability to keep with our core values.
What did winning the award mean to you or your organization?
Winning the Mayor’s Greenovate award was incredibly exciting and something we’re very proud of. It reaffirmed our commitment to enabling simple and responsible urban living, particularly in our hometown of Boston where our crazy idea of car sharing all began. It has now been 10 years since we won the Mayor's Greenovate Awards and we’re making huge strides toward our vision of a world where car sharers outnumber car owners. We’ve now grown to one million members sharing 12,000 cars in 500 cities and towns around the world. These members prevent 1.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions per year, and together, we’ve kept almost 415,000 personally owned vehicles off the road.
What leaders or organizations have influenced you the most? Why?
When we started Zipcar 17 years ago, we were out to solve a big problem facing cities: heavy traffic, parking demand and CO2 emissions. Since then, cities, including the City of Boston, have become our strongest and most influential partners as we continue to stand with them to achieve their goals of reducing carbon emissions, decreasing traffic and congestion, and encouraging multi-modal behavior amongst their residents. We’re proud of the impact that we’ve had together and with our over one million members – preventing 1.6 billion pounds of CO2 emissions per year and keeping almost 415,000 personally owned vehicles off the road.
What do you believe is the most pressing environmental issue of our time?
The transportation industry is the largest and fastest-growing contributor to climate change and our goal is to pump the brakes on that by encouraging people to share more and own less. The Earth needs saving and we’re confident that if we continue to enable car-free and car-lite lifestyles, we can continue to make progress.
What actions do you suggest young leaders take today to get involved and make impact to act on climate?
The biggest thing young leaders today can do to get involved and make an impact on the climate is to share more and own less. Whether it’s sharing cars, bikes, or train rides, we can all reduce our environmental impact by ditching our personal car and using more environmentally-friendly transportation options. We also encourage young leaders to be climate change advocates at home, at work and in their local communities. Asking for a recycling program to be implemented at work is a quick and easy example that could make a significant impact.
Did this award reignite your motivation to continue your work?
As a mission-driven company, our team shares a passion for the environment and a commitment to sustaining it through smart transportation. Awards like this help us stay inspired and focused on doing what we do best. We look forward to continuing to transform urban mobility across the globe and right here in Boston, making it even easier for people to live car-free and car-lite lifestyles.