Over a decade ago, we committed to sustainability by taking bold steps to reduce our carbon footprint across our operations. We purchased green power, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified paper products, sought LEED certification, sourced locally when possible, eliminated single-use plastics, transitioned to compostable gloves, and collaborated with Cedar Grove Composting to develop commercial composting programs now used throughout the Seattle area—an employee-inspired initiative!
Now, with our Envision Zero initiative, we are elevating our sustainability efforts. Our goal is to achieve carbon neutrality and zero waste. To support this aim, we acquired two company-owned Chevy Bolts (EVs) for delivery. This move not only reduces our carbon footprint but also creates opportunities for employees without cars to drive for us. We plan to add more EVs to our fleet. Additionally, our E-Bike program continues to grow — another employee-driven idea! Transitioning to digital menus has helped us cut down on paper usage.
In an exciting development toward carbon neutrality, we are thrilled to announce a partnership with Zipline, a leader in the field, to pursue drone deliveries. Our incredible driver team, who provides five-star service to our customers, won't be going anywhere. Drones will complement the team by alleviating pressure during peak hours — with a 97% reduction in delivery emissions compared to cars. After extensive testing and addressing logistical and regulatory challenges, drone deliveries are expected to launch sometime in 2024.
If this sounds like science fiction to you — it did to our leadership team when we were first approached by Zipline — you’re not alone. But our skepticism changed when we met with the Zipline team responsible for making this happen and learned how it works. Mark Rober, the former NASA engineer and popular YouTuber, made a video that explains the technology as well as anything. Zipline’s recent keynote address has more details for anyone interested.
Zipline’s Platform 2 Zips (drones) fly more than 300 feet above the ground and are virtually silent, designed to sound like rustling leaves in the wind. When the Zip arrives at its destination, it hovers safely and quietly at that altitude, while its fully autonomous delivery droid maneuvers down a tether, steers to the correct location, and gently drops off its package to areas as small as a patio table or the front steps of a home.
We’re working with Zipline to design a special box that will fit in the Zip. We will be able to use the drones to deliver two 13-inch pizzas, a salad and a couple sodas.
Safety is a top priority for Zipline. Their drones undergo more than 500 safety checks, are monitored in real-time by professional flight operations teams, and are equipped with Zipline’s autonomous Detect and Avoid technology, their autonomous airspace deconfliction tool, recently approved by the FAA. Additionally, the drones have Zipline's unique Parachute Landing System, ensuring a safe landing in case of emergencies.
As we work toward carbon neutrality, Zipline's drones will enable us to scale our deliveries sustainably during peak times. We will persist in expanding and enhancing our composting programs, use of green power, local product sourcing, and sustainably produced paper products. Thank you for your efforts to help us be good environmental stewards in our communities.