Interviewee: Lawrence Leuschner, CEO of TIER Mobility
What does your company do?
TIER Mobility is the world’s leading shared micro-mobility provider, with a mission to Change Mobility for Good. We want to change the way people traverse and explore cities, and we want to help people swap car journeys for greener options in order to decarbonize urban transport as a means of fighting climate change. That’s why we provide people in over 520 cities and communities across Europe, the Middle East and North America with a range of low carbon vehicle options, including bikes, cargo bikes, e-scooters, e-bikes and e-mopeds. We are here to help citizens ditch their polluting cars in favor of more sustainable transport choices.
In addition, we are committed to helping cities reimagine public space to improve everyone’s quality of life. We advocate for prioritizing infrastructure for active travel and for repurposing some of the huge amount of city space currently dedicated to polluting cars, e.g. through parking spaces, roads, etc., for the benefit of all citizens by the creation of more green spaces, play areas for children and pedestrianized areas.
What about climate change?
The challenge we face is enormous. All the reporting from the IPCC is that things are worse than we thought and developing faster than we predicted so we mustn’t be complacent. There is a lot of work to do.
The biggest challenge we have is getting people to change their behavior! The latest report from the IPCC on mitigation gave an excellent overview of actions that we could and should take to reduce global warming e.g. scrapping subsidies for fossil fuels, funding renewables, adopting low-carbon diets and adopting greener transport habits. We now need to make sure we use our voices, our votes and our spending habits to ensure we are supporting sustainable decisions and choices. We need to hold politicians and companies accountable for their practices.
At TIER, it is our mission to Change Mobility for Good, to decarbonize urban transport and to ultimately lead the way to net zero. We are working to provide low-carbon transport options for people so they can ditch their polluting cars and cut their carbon emissions. In 2022, we are particularly focusing on lowering our company emissions, the emissions of our vehicles per passenger km, and increasing availability of our suite of vehicles to encourage even more people to choose lower emission transport options.
What role does Berlin play in your story?
Berlin never had a car industry, which was always based elsewhere in Germany. But in recent years, the city has become a powerful center for mobility innovation. The city has birthed dozens of new mobility startups, incubators and accelerators. At the same time, with a young and tech-savvy population, it has also become a testing ground for new types of mobility. With numerous shared mobility services like car sharing, shared bicycles, app-based minibus services, and great public transport, Berlin seems to be reaching some kind of critical mass in transport innovation.
Berlin is the perfect environment and playground for talented, mission driven people. And we very much hope that the city itself will become a pioneer for ambitious and sustainable transformation as well as modal shift.
Do you have any final remarks on the occasion of Earth Day?
Yes, Happy Earth Day! It is more important than ever to use this milestone to raise awareness of climate change – we are in a now-or-never situation, which requires each of us to take immediate action.
I have made a number of decisions in order to reduce my carbon footprint, including:
- Becoming vegan
- Taking the train instead of flying where possible
- Electrifying my 1975 Volkswagen van
- Buying CO2 certificates to offset any emissions I do produce
- Pledging 100% of my shares in TIER to Blue Impact Ventures – a fund I established to invest in early-stage companies focused on finding solutions to climate change and its consequences.
- And, of course, using TIER vehicles to get around my home city of Berlin 🙂
In terms of my hints, I would say don’t think you have to make a huge, life changing decision to have an impact – taking some action is better than taking none.
“Avoid, shift, improve” is how the IPCC report recommends framing behavior change to reduce emissions, and it is a good way of looking at it. The biggest potential for avoidance is reducing long-haul flights. If people took fewer long-distance flights and took the train where possible, overall aviation emissions could be reduced by 10 to 40 per cent by 2040. Improving the energy efficiency of your home is another key way to reduce your carbon footprint. And you can shift your behavior by adopting a plant-based diet or getting out of your car and onto a bike, scooter or your own two feet to get from A to B.
It’s time to take some climate action – you’d be surprised what a difference you can make in just a few minutes!