Over 30 million people in the US – and ten times as many globally – face food insecurity. But simultaneously, food waste in the U.S. is worsening. There were 91 million tons of surplus food in 2021, which also are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s clear that our hunger crisis sits at the intersection of a major sustainability crisis.
To help combat these challenges, all-electric autonomous vehicle leader Cruise and food recovery platform Replate launched a first-of-its-kind, driverless, all-electric food rescue initiative in June 2023, with aims to scale nationally.
Through this partnership, Cruise’s zero-emission AVs are now delivering recovered meals from local businesses and name-brand restaurants to nonprofits serving those experiencing food insecurity. Integrating with Replate’s existing national network of food recovery partnerships, Cruise is helping to create a food cycle that is entirely sustainable, while fighting hunger and food waste in our communities.
Food insecurity and climate change are challenges no one effort can solve. But this partnership scales Replate’s capacity to serve communities across the country and explores how emerging technology can address complex problems.
This partnership is just the latest in Cruise’s dedication to social good. Since the start of the pandemic, Cruise has delivered over 2.4 million meals to those who disproportionately lack access to food and transportation in partnership with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and San Francisco New Deal. Cruise has also pledged to use 1% of its AVs to serve local communities in need, everywhere the company goes.
The Cruise and Replate partnership came to life with the companies’ aligned missions to make a bigger impact through a smaller footprint. Cruise’s all-electric, AV fleet helps Replate expand its work combat food waste and food insecurity while also reducing carbon emissions.
The success of this initiative was a result of Cruise and Replate’s deep, collaborative, and long-term approach to partnership. From the partnership’s initiation, the two companies continue to work in lock step and collaborate daily to iterate and innovate. Tight feedback loops and streamlined communication are critical in maintaining and improving service and efficiency, while allowing for constant cross-sector learning and innovation to meet long-term goals and maximize impact.
Cruise’s social impact efforts are grounded in partnering with organizations deeply embedded in local communities. By listening and learning with these groups, Cruise can help them maximize benefits to the communities they serve.
Cruise and Replate announced the initiative during a mainstage speaking opportunity at the 2023 Social Innovation Summit in Los Angeles. Replate CEO Maen Mahfoud and Cruise Director of Social Impact Amanda Lenaghan unveiled the partnership live with a video demonstrating the need, impact, and future vision for the collaboration and how it will help to combat food insecurity, food waste, and climate change.During the on-stage event, Cruise published a blog (with the video included) on its website.
Both the blog and the video served as key collateral for a record-setting social media amplification campaign, with Cruise executives and key industry partners (Replate, Social Innovation Summit, and Pledge 1%) sharing the news on social media. The campaign also garnered wide national awareness through exclusive, tier one media coverage in Fast Company.
The primary objective of this partnership is to combat food insecurity, food waste, and climate change through a first-of-its-kind sustainable non-profit and tech collaboration. The partnership demonstrates how tech can be used to create positive social impact on our communities and address some of our biggest societal challenges. While the partnership is still in its early days, both teams are excited for its high-impact potential to increase access to food while mitigating the environmental impacts of food waste.
From the partnership announcement social media campaign, Cruise social drove over 28,000 impressions and 800 engagements across Twitter and LinkedIn, which is above its social impact benchmark for impressions. The media assets (partnership video and blog) also drove new traction to the Cruise website, beating the social impact team’s content benchmark by 4.6x, nearly matching general pages while doubling reach. Additionally, the Fast Company article reached a potential of more than 4M unique monthly visitors.
The partnership successfully increased awareness of new solutions to address food waste, food insecurity, and climate change to a wide audience, including policymakers, civic leaders, community stakeholders and the general public. This message continues to spread as the partnership expands nationally, with the collaboration slated to kickoff in Austin, Texas before the end of the year.