Story 1 of 4 - Apr 24, 2024 - San Francisco, CA, United States

Lime: sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand


Lime scooter with the San Francisco Bay on the Back.
Climate Action Environmental Conservation


Andrew Savage

VP of Sustainability and Founding Team


To have a fighting chance against climate change, we need sustainable businesses that can scale. In our experience, here’s how we’ve found sustainability and profitability to be inextricably linked.


When you look across businesses with an enduring sustainability impact in any sector, there is one thing nearly all have in common: They’re profitable. Profits are the lifeblood that allow a company to exist, to reinvest, and have a long-lasting impact. 

At Lime, where we provide shared e-scooter and e-bike transportation in more than 280 cities globally, our goal is to help shape a future of transportation that is entirely carbon free.

Tied to this ambitious goal, we’ve long known we wouldn’t have an enduring impact on environmental sustainability without also achieving financial sustainability. Simply put: We need to exist and provide our service to have an impact. Doing this hard work alongside other like-minded businesses similarly committed to a decarbonized future is easier than going it alone. That’s why we signed The Climate Pledge. 

The Climate Pledge was a natural extension of our climate efforts and ambition to be net-zero carbon by 2030. Joining the Pledge as one of the first 100 global businesses was less about Lime’s commitment to a net-zero future and more about being part of a global rallying cry of aligned businesses seeking an alternative path; a new frontier of businesses with strong missions that stand up for our climate future.

We believe that, collectively, businesses can have a global reach, touching nearly everyone in the global economy. To have a fighting chance of meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, it will take a monumental effort. Governments can’t do this alone. To have this fighting chance, we need businesses that can innovate, scale, and endure, where the more they grow, the more good they can do. We also need our collective impact to drive decarbonization of the industries around us, from supply chains to logistics. We can’t do it alone.

Last year we were able to extinguish the notion that there isn’t a path to profitability at scale for shared micromobility, or transportation using lightweight vehicles like bikes and scooters. We achieved positive Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) because of our focus on sustainability, not despite it.

If 2022 was the year we showed micromobility can be profitable, 2023 was the year we showed it can also be sustained at scale. In 2023, we again were able to grow the business by 30%, and adjusted EBITDA growth of over 500%. As with 2022, this isn’t just a major milestone for Lime, but is also further proof that a strong sustainability agenda is good for business. 

Over this same period, we cut our carbon emissions intensity by more than 37% and are on track for a 50% reduction over five years from our 2019 baseline. According to 2022 research by Fraunhofer ISI, a leading German research institute, Lime’s e-scooter service had an average net savings of 26.4g of carbon dioxide for each kilometer ridden and our e-bikes save 10.3g per kilometer. 

To date, our riders have taken over 500 million zero-emissions rides. Since one in every five trips prevents a high-emitting private car trip, they’ve prevented an estimated 62 million pounds of coal from being burned, or the equivalent of the annual electricity consumed by more than 11,000 homes.

So what did we do in order to get here?

Lime main image.
  • Our investment in longer-lasting vehicles with modular parts pays enormous dividends. The single most impactful step we’ve taken to improve the environmental and financial sustainability of our company is investing in our product. We developed an in-house engineering team that designs custom vehicles to withstand the rigors of the sharing economy. The team has developed modular vehicles prioritizing repair, reuse, and longevity, driving our vehicle lifespan from a few months in early 2018 to as long as seven years and more than 30,000 kilometers today.

  • Swapping fully charged batteries on the street was a game changer. Using swappable batteries allows us to quickly replace a vehicle's depleted battery with a fully charged one in a single trip, enabling the use of smaller operations vehicles and cutting our operations travel by more than 50%. It also means we avoid regularly deploying fleets of vans and trucks to retrieve and recharge e-scooters or e-bikes. As our fleet scales, so too does this positive impact.

  • Low-carbon aluminum for e-scooters. Even while maintaining strict cost controls for new hardware, last year we were able to successfully begin sourcing lower-carbon aluminum produced with renewable energy. We hope this is just the beginning of our strategic sourcing efforts, and that as more companies in the two-wheeled industry demand low-carbon materials, this will simply become the norm.

  • The vast majority of vehicles in our operations fleet are now electric. In 2019, we had just a handful of electric vans managing our fleet in Paris. Today, more than 60% of vehicles in our Lime operations fleet are electric, reducing our carbon footprint and providing a lower total cost of ownership. Among the savings we see in markets around the world: lower fuel costs, lower operations costs, and reduced maintenance costs for things like brakes, charging during off-hours, or unloading, rather than stopping for gas.

  • Larger batteries that travel farther on a single charge pay off. We introduced a battery that is twice the size of our previous batteries, enabling longer range, half the operational requirements, and more uptime for our riders so they can avoid higher-emitting car trips and other polluting forms of transportation. As our anti-theft efforts scale, the positive impact of this investment continues to pay off.

  • We spurred demand for zero-emissions trucking. In March, we became one of the first companies to announce our commitment to the World Economic Forum’s Mission Possible Partnership commitment to zero-emissions international shipping. Aligned with this effort, we have partnered with California trucking company Hight Logistics, which will use electric trucks provided by Forum Mobility to haul Lime’s new vehicles and parts for use in repairs to our logistics hubs with zero-emissions trucking from ports. We found the cost competitive and the sustainability benefits obvious.

  • We continue our relentless search for efficiencies throughout  the business. Cutting carbon throughout a growing business is hard. Facing higher shipping costs following the pandemic, our logistics team took a “Tetris game” approach to the way we ship our scooters resulting in now fitting twice the number of scooters on a pallet. As increased business travel at the company also resumed, we worked with business travel platform Navan to be part of a Train v Plane beta, nudging business travelers to take lower-emissions short train trips in lieu of flights.

As these efforts have been good for business and the environment, our financial position allows us to be more creative, investing in the future of the business. We’re testing, investing, and innovating around new vehicle types with the goal of bringing in new riders for new use cases, boosting the overall potential sustainability benefits of our service. Again, the more we can scale, the more good we can do.

We know the work we have ahead is hard. To meet our net-zero target, we’ll need everything from aluminum producers to international shipping companies to commit to decarbonization. With our fellow travelers in The Climate Pledge, we also know we’re not alone. They’ll need the same thing. It will take the support, partnership, and collective action of climate businesses driving change across all sectors to get there. While we celebrate progress as a company, we’re always clear-eyed about the incredibly hard but important work yet to come.

Andrew Savage was on the Founding Team of Lime and serves as the company’s Head of Sustainability. Lime signed The Climate Pledge on April 19, 2021. For more details on Lime’s dedication to sustainability, visit

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