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Grab’s ESG progress in 2023: Serving more people, better

Jun 05, 2024


In 2023—as economies fully reopened and travel resumed—our mobility business rebounded and our deliveries business showed remarkable resilience amidst rising inflation. We grew our user base. As of December 2023, 35.5 million people leverage our platform to eat, ride and make digital payments every month. We welcomed over one million new driver-partners and 500,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on to our platform. And we served more than 3.5 billion transactions.

With an ever-growing community relying on Grab in their day-to-day lives, whether for utility, convenience, or to earn a living, our responsibility to the society and the environment we operate in magnifies. This is reflected in our resolute commitment to our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) priorities—first, to empower our partners to earn sustainable livelihoods; second, to offer a safe, trusted platform that everyone in our ecosystem can reliably depend on; and third, to manage our impact on the environment in order to foster a lasting planet for the communities we are dedicated to serving today and into the future.

As we seek to make continuous, consistent progress against these commitments, we publish ESG reports on an annual basis that serves as an important accountability measure. Here are some of the key progress updates from the latest report covering 2023:

1. Better and fairer earnings for driver-partners


In 2023, in line with our principles for fair work conditions and sustainable earnings, Grab introduced a new driver fare structure. It takes into account the time and distance our driver-partners travel to get to where the passenger is, and ensures they are fairly compensated for the effort needed to pick up passengers, without impacting passenger fees. Additionally, we have continued to roll out initiatives to boost our partners’ productivity, so that they can complete more orders and increase their earnings with less effort, time, or costs. Through features like hyper-batching and our Grab Navigation technology, we saw a 5.6% increase in trips per transit hour across mobility and deliveries, a 14% reduction in drivers' wait time for order pickups, and delivery partners earned 53% more per transit hour for batched orders. On the whole, our driver-partners saw their earnings per transit hour grow 9% year-on-year.

2. Improving financial inclusion for the underserved


Many of our driver- and MSME merchant-partners are ‘invisible’ in the traditional financial system due to a lack of formal credit history. We bridge this gap, leveraging our data to offer cash loans for our driver-partners, and business loans for MSMEs so that they do not have to turn to unlicensed moneylenders. In 2023, loan disbursals to our driver- and merchant-partners increased 57% year-on-year. 1 in 3 active driver-partners take up a loan with us, and are 4X more likely to be approved for a loan from us as compared to other credible lending alternatives. Our new digibanks in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia will provide additional financial products for underserved groups such as gig workers, entrepreneurs, and early jobbers.

(Read more: From loans to literacy: Grab’s growing financial products portfolio address Southeast Asia’s financing gap)

3. Helping our partners grow their skill sets and diversify their earning potential


Grab works with corporates and government agencies to give our partners access to upskilling programmes. These help them in their current roles, or teach new skills so they can pursue more opportunities, even beyond the Grab platform. In 2023, Grab rolled out more courses with Microsoft, covering financial literacy, digital marketing, and professional career preparation. In Thailand, we worked with the Department of Skill Development and Social Security Office to co-develop training modules on topics such as English for Drivers, Chinese for Drivers, and Electric Vehicles 101. Grab and Mastercard also jointly launched the ‘Small Business, Big Dreams’ initiative, providing digital upskilling for small businesses and gig economy workers across Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. More than 1.2 million driver-partners have taken a course on GrabAcademy in 2023.

4. Improving safety through continuous innovation


Over the years Grab has aimed to raise the bar on safety in Southeast Asia, innovating to create new safety features on the Grab app that cover every part of each ride and delivery. These include AudioProtect and fatigue nudges. In 2023, in spite of the total number of rides from mobility and delivery increasing by 11%, 99.99% of all our rides continued to occur without any safety incidents. We saw an 11% reduction in total road accident rate, and our rides are 6x safer than Singapore’s Land Transport Authority’s Quality of Service benchmark.

5. Supporting driver-partners’ transition to low or zero emission transport options


Supporting our driver-partners’ transition to low or zero emission modes of transport will be the biggest and most important emissions reduction lever to achieve our goal of carbon neutrality by 2040. In 2023, 6.3% of all distance travelled was on low or zero emission modes of transport (EV, hybrid vehicles, cyclists, and walkers). In total, we reduced ~71,000 tCO2e through use of these modes of transport. While there has been some progress in recent years on EV adoption, fostering an EV ecosystem in Southeast Asia remains challenging as the infrastructure to support this shift is not as advanced or coordinated as compared to the other parts of the world. Grab intends to continue playing our part to help accelerate EV adoption. We are working with strategic partners to make EVs more accessible to our driver-partners, either through rentals or financing. At the same time we are working with energy providers and other partners to improve charging infrastructure.

6. Reducing packaging waste


Grab has set a goal of Zero Packaging Waste by 2040. We seek to leverage our platform to influence consumer behaviours and experiment with sustainable packaging solutions. For example, Grab's in-app cutlery opt-out option has saved 3.1 billion sets of cutlery since 2019, including 817 million sets of cutlery reduced in 2023 alone. In Malaysia and Indonesia, Grab partnered with various companies to launch reverse-vending machines that reward customers for recycling. We also trialled a doorstep pick up of PET bottles for recycling in Indonesia, tapping on our GrabExpress Recycle fleet. Between October to December 2023, 160,000 PET bottles were collected and recycled.