inDrive: Social impact, scaling & strategy in sustainability

Asya Vildt, Director of Operations Excellence and Sustainability at inDrive
Asya Vildt, Director of Operations Excellence & Sustainability at global mobility & urban services platform inDrive, shares sustainability impact insight

Asya Vildt is Director of Operations Excellence and Sustainability at inDrive, a global mobility and urban services platform. Asya oversees inDrive’s sustainability efforts, including setting the company’s strategic goals, quantifying its social and environmental impact, and ensuring compliance with industry best practices. Prior to joining inDrive, Asya held numerous roles in project and product management. Her first role focused on sustainability was with a European platform of home improvement companies where she was responsible for developing and implementing the company’s ESG strategy and saw first-hand the importance of actively measuring the impact of social change initiatives. 

The inDrive app has been downloaded over 175 million times, and was the second most downloaded mobility app in 2022. In addition to ride-hailing, inDrive provides an expanding list of urban services, including intercity transportation, freight delivery, task assistance, courier delivery and employment search. 

As an outdoor athlete, Vildt has travelled the world running marathons, skiing, and swimming, and seen firsthand that this is a beautiful planet worth preserving. She cares deeply about underserved communities and feels privileged to have a role in improving real people’s lives, believing that corporate sustainable development is a tool for rapid and meaningful action to make our world a better place.

What is the importance of social impact in sustainability?

Social impact is not an abstract concept. Rather, it’s a tangible phenomenon that directly affects people’s everyday lives. For instance, where a person was born or resides can impact their access to healthcare, subsequently affecting their quality of life and even how long they live. 

Companies have a pivotal role to play in ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of resources, opportunities, and privileges within a society.  Broadly speaking, social impact involves equal access to public goods like education, promoting decent working conditions, and ensuring social protection for all individuals in an unbiased and impartial manner. At inDrive, one of our key priorities is ensuring access to transportation in communities where those services are not available, or where the community needs better alternatives for mobility. Our peer-to-peer pricing approach enables riders and drivers to agree on a fair price, and the app offers information up front such as vehicle make and driver rating, ensuring transparency and empowering users to make the choice that works best for them. 

Communities that lack access to mobility and other social resources are robbed of opportunities for education, independence, and the ability to improve their own lives. Companies should care about the communities where they operate and want their customers to have equality of opportunity, not only to ensure they continue to have the ability to engage with a company’s goods and services, but also because it’s the right thing to do. 

How can social change impact companies?

Social change already impacts companies both internally and externally. On a macro level, social justice has gained significant prominence in politics and business, underpinning numerous social initiatives and shaping modern approaches to education, work, and social support. Social justice also influences governance, such as the Fair Trade principle and environmental agreements across borders - issues like access to clean air and safe drinking water are also recognised as social justice matters.  

In terms of corporate operations, social change has a huge impact on talent recruitment, employee engagement, and growth. Rising top talent seek companies that demonstrate purpose and positive impact, and ensuring teams understand a company’s purpose is a powerful driver of engagement and retention. Social impact also provides a competitive advantage - when making decisions on where to spend their money, customers consider a company’s social justice impact. 

Why is scaling sustainability important - from SMEs to multinational companies?

The primary driver of scaling is impact - the more effectively sustainable practices scale, the greater the potential for social impact. Large-scale, rapid impact is what will ultimately result in meaningful, sustainable positive changes within communities and around the world. That’s one reason why it’s so exciting to manage the sustainable development team at inDrive - we operate in more than 40 countries and have an incredible network of drivers, riders, and employees who have the potential to increase our social impact. 

How can the mobility industry be more sustainable?

Transparency, fair pricing, and access to services are important, initial goals to ensure all communities have equal access to mobility, which can deliver benefits for generations to come. 

Another exciting area with incredible potential for positive impact is smart transportation, which uses data and technology to reduce emissions by making mobility more efficient. For instance, by sharing data from mobility apps with local communities and then automating traffic control systems accordingly, we can make roadways for entire communities less congested, more efficient, and safer for all. 

What are your top tips to companies developing sustainable strategy?

When implementing social programs at inDrive, we aim to accomplish specific goals aligned with our mission and desired impact on the world. To achieve these goals, we dedicate our time, skills, and resources to take action. This approach is very adaptable to the vast majority of companies and sectors. 

Specifically, companies that want to establish or expand their social impact programs can do so by raising awareness about various forms of inequality and vulnerability, creating new educational and employment opportunities for individuals from vulnerable groups, and developing technological solutions to mitigate factors that contribute to vulnerability. 

Once a company assesses their strategy for sustainable development and determines their social justice priorities, it’s important to monitor and measure the impact of their initiatives. Assessing the impact of sustainability programs not only provides a clear picture of a company’s true impact, but is also a valuable tool for informing future sustainable initiatives. 

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For more insights into Sustainability - check out the latest edition of Sustainability Magazine and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn & Twitter

Other magazines that may be of interest - EV Magazine | Energy Digital

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Net Zero LIVE will be hosted live from the QEII Centre, London on the 6th and 7th of March, and streamed globally via our virtual event platform Brella. Net Zero LIVE London will feature four LIVE themes, incorporating Sustainability LIVE, EV LIVE, Scope 3 LIVE, and Energy LIVE to deliver a holistic conference and exhibition experience with opportunities to connect with like-minded peers and actively contribute to crafting a sustainable future. Following Net Zero LIVE, viewers can also sign up for Sustainability LIVE Dubai and Singapore. 

Sign up to the The Global Sustainability & ESG Awards 2024, coming to London on the 11th September 2024. 

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