Our Journey Towards Corporate Citizenship

Sébastien Pellion - Head of Social Impact September 21, 2021 · 7 min

What we do at Glovo is less about corporate social responsibility, aiming to contribute to societal goals through supportive practices or policies, but rather it is about the company becoming a “corporate citizen”. This requires a recognition that, as a business, we have social, cultural and environmental responsibilities to the cities and communities in which we operate that run parallel to the economic and financial ones we have to our shareholders and stakeholders.

Being a corporate citizen means committing to taking action to find solutions to the social challenges of the 21st century. Thankfully, the unique nature of the market we operate within provides us with a huge opportunity to have a much bigger impact than companies in other, more traditional sectors.


Glovo’s commitment to sustainable future

Social impact and sustainability were things we started thinking about early at Glovo. The company was around three-years-old when we began to put this into practice and we were much smaller back then. You might be wondering why a young European company, in a hyper-competitive marketplace dominated by well-funded giants, would even be looking at its ethical footprint so early after its launch, rather than focusing on its product and expansion and growth? Well, our co-founders, Oscar Pierre and Sacha Michaud, felt that companies in our space should not only be looking to provide a best-in-class product, but also a product that has a positive social impact. They both felt that, when a company reaches a point where it can begin to give back, then it should. That it should interrogate the way it thinks about its significant resources and ask itself if it can redirect those resources to finding solutions to the great challenges of our time, like climate change.

So, growth and scale, two widely acknowledged early business priorities soon became aligned with, and vital to, social impact: the bigger the business, the bigger the contributions it could make, the more resources it could dedicate to tackling social and environmental challenges.

Our desire for sustainable development has already seen us introduce significant changes to our operations, like committing to carbon neutrality through a combination of CO2 emissions reduction and offsetting programs. Or launching our sustainable packaging program to make recyclable packaging accessible to thousands of restaurants at a discounted  price. These are just two of the ways in which we are using our platform to tackle the climate problem. We have also joined over 200 signatories of The Climate Pledge (TCP) committed to achieving Net-Zero carbon by 2040, and meeting The Paris Agreement 10 years early has done nothing but strengthen the commitment to our current goal.


Our ways of making an impact 

Following the creation of the Social Impact department within Glovo, the team began looking at and testing various different initiatives to generate positive social outcomes for different communities. One of the team’s biggest and most important successes came at the beginning of the pandemic, during the first lockdown. In Spain, our home market, we entered one of the strictest lockdowns rolled out anywhere in the world. A lot of people, especially the elderly and most vulnerable, were not only worried about the virus but about their access to essential, everyday items such as food and groceries. During this time we readdressed our priorities and looked at how we put the business to good use, to help. We decided to do two things: deliver meals to the most vulnerable members of our community on behalf of NGOs and to provide logistics support as a partner.

The outcomes were staggering. We delivered over 235,000 meals and received over €66,500 in donations from our generous users. Following this success, we took a step back and asked ourselves: where can we continue to create change? By asking ourselves this question we wanted to hone our vision and look at where we could contribute the most, where we could really have an impact for the better. And so we began building our roadmap and quantifying our goals and the team came up with three areas we all agreed we wanted to see change. So what are those areas and what are our goals?

  1. Food and Logistics 4 All — Equality of access to essential goods for everyone. The pandemic really drove home how big an issue this is for so many people. Today we deliver 10,000 orders per month with a social purpose. The next step: 50,000 a month.
  2. Courier Trampoline — We know better than anyone that our couriers see our platform as the first step on the road to where they want to go or what they want to do next. So, shouldn’t our focus be on helping them take that next step? We think so. Our goal is to make sure 15 percent of the couriers connected to our app are actively using our e-learning platform by the end of the year and that 500 of them are accessing job opportunities from our partner restaurants or call centers.
  3. Women in Tech — The tech sector has an inclusion problem. Women remain underrepresented and continue to face an uphill battle just to enter the industry. Yes, there is a problem in our educational systems that sees women deterred from pursuing STEM subjects but what role can we play in finding a solution? Well, we can help drive the conversation and our goal is to highlight to over 750 girls in the school system the opportunities for them in tech by organizing meetings between them and our tech teams, to raise their awareness of the gender gap in our sector.


Enabling for more impact

Beyond these “dreams”, which is what we call our impact programs, we are always looking for ways to create large-scale positive impact by using our assets.

Our overarching goal is to ensure that all the company’s processes and operations are aligned with the highest social and environmental standards. If we do this then we can deliver on all of our dreams and realise our impact goals. For us it’s about creating and nurturing a culture of impact in which everyone at Glovo wants to contribute and feels empowered to do so. This is not a one-off CSR project, it’s a journey and one to which we are committed.

Despite what you’ ve read in this article it’s perfectly reasonable to ask about accountability. As a private company we regulate ourselves and we alone are responsible for delivering on the promises we make. Surely, if we don’t fulfil them, you won’t hear about it, right? Wrong. Time and again company’s make a big song and dance about the things they want to do and they’re going to do and, when it comes down to it, they don’t deliver. We’ve seen it too many times to count. So, we’re doing things a little differently.

We believe the biggest builder of public trust is transparency.  We’ve started to work on impact measurement and decided that we will publicly disclose a comprehensive set of qualitative and quantitative data about Glovo’s social contributions. We’re determined to make a difference and  make our social impact dreams a reality, and we want our users and the public to know exactly what actions we are taking to meet our goals. Together we can create the change we want to see.

For more information on our impact initiatives please check out our 2020 Social Contribution Report. And please, stay tuned for more, because this is not where we stop but where we start.