Sustainability

A core aspect of GroBikes’ mission and business model is to participate in and promote sustainable development, defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”[1].  Fundamentally, there are four ways that our circular business model[2] significantly contributes to this end.

Environmentally

  1. In the short term, GroBikes maximizes the useful lifetime of our bicycles (and by extension, all the time and energy involved in producing and transporting them) by investing in high-quality, lightweight bicycles that, as a result of our careful maintenance program, will be ridden by many children over many years, reducing the number of lower-quality bicycles that would otherwise be sent to landfills or recycling facilities.

  2. In the long term, because good fit and light weight translate to a better, “funerer” riding experience, GroBikes cultivates in our riders an affinity for cycling as a means of transportation that, as they grow up, translates into a greater likelihood that they will choose cycling over other polluting, more material- and energy-intensive options such as private car travel.

Socially

  1. An affinity for bicycles (whether for transportation or recreation) translates into better long-term health for our riders, reducing the costs to society (and them!) of poor health, whether directly due to treatment costs, or indirectly due to lost happiness and economic productivity.

  2. Private cars require far more space than bicycles to move people around, space that is paid for directly through the financial cost of building and maintaining more, larger roads and parking lots, and indirectly through the time lost to traffic and, until electric vehicles powered by renewable energy become the norm, the health impacts of the pollution they create.

While there will always be opportunities for GroBikes to improve the sustainability of our business model and operations, we believe that we are off to a good start to creating a business that is better for our subscribers (parents and children), the environment, and society-at-large, and that, ultimately, will have a positive net impact on our ecology and society.

Footnotes

[1] “Sustainable Development.” International Institute for Sustainable Development, 29 Nov. 2018, www.iisd.org/topic/sustainable-development.

[2] Circular (as opposed to linear) business models are defined by their emphasis on re-using and re-cycling products, materials, and energy to the greatest extent possible, mimicking the natural ecosystem’s propensity for outputs (so-called “waste”) from one area to become inputs (food) for others.  The Ellen MacArthur foundation provides a more detailed description at www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/concept.