This blog was updated on February 23, 2022.
When the co-founders started this company almost 6 years ago, we asked ourselves: why are we doing this? The answer was: we’re creating this company for impact. We believe in the power of technology to change the world for the better. We try to live by that every day, and it’s why we make the business decisions we do.
In line with our mission to help communities thrive, we use everyday commerce to empower people and businesses, and drive initiatives that put us on a path to a more sustainable future for all. In a few short years Upside has become the largest food & fuel network in the United States, and our massive financial impact has put us in league with some of the world’s largest companies doing good.
Since our founding in 2016, Upside has committed 1% of all our revenue to sustainability initiatives related to our areas of operation.
In fuel, we have enabled Upside users not only to get more value from their fuel purchases, but also to address their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Between 2016 and 2020, this means we offset 1.7 million metric tons of CO2, which is like taking almost 384 thousand cars off the road for a year or growing 31 million tree seedlings for 10 years. In context, Upside offset more emissions in 2020 than Disney, Salesforce, and Bank of America combined. That’s equivalent to almost 20% of Tesla’s avoided carbon emissions last year.
Through organizations like EnKing, 3Degrees, and the United Nations Carbon Offset Platform, we have supported wind-based power generation, wastewater treatment, and hydroelectric projects worldwide that generate offsets verified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) or certified under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 38 million people in the U.S. experienced hunger in 2020. At the same time, the same agency estimates that 30-40% of our food supply goes to waste, and ends up in landfills that release harmful greenhouse gases. When combined with the amount of energy it takes to produce, manufacture, transport and store this food, it contributes a staggering 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide to our planet.
As we launch more restaurant and grocery retailers on the Upside platform, we have the opportunity to address this food waste problem by donating revenue from Upside restaurant and grocery transactions to food rescue non-profit organizations. In just the first 12 months of work with Upside users drove enough transactions through the platform to rescue 60,000 pounds of food. With our plans to significantly grow our footprint in 2022, this is just the beginning of what’s to come.
Together, this carbon offsetting and food rescue work work puts Upside on the path to become a carbon negative company that makes meaningful contributions to global sustainability efforts. We’re incredibly proud of the work we’ve done to date and know that we have even more to do.
Moving forward, we will continue to enable Upside users to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and food waste, just like we have done to date. As we expand our work in different industries, we will identify the best to apply our 1% commitment to these new industries and maximize the positive impact of our product.
We’ve always known that our biggest platform for doing good would be through our product and with our partners. So we are exploring the best ways to leverage our product, our technology, and our position between merchants and consumers to accelerate our impact. We plan to empower our users to take action by enabling them to further offset their own emissions, and assist users in the transition to clean energy. For example, we’re considering ideas such as listing electric vehicle charging stations into the app. The possibilities are endless once our team starts to build, and we’re excited to share more in the future.
Our mission to help communities thrive shines through in everything we do, and our sustainability commitments will continue to evolve as we enter new industries and learn how we can have the strongest impact on our communities.