Wellington City Council is a supporter of Creative HQ’s Climate Response Accelerator, the first of its kind in the country, and designed to help innovative entrepreneurs develop climate-change solutions.
The three Pōneke teams selected to take part in the 12-week programme were behind carpooling platform Hitch, the Foodprint app where hospitality and retail sectors can sell surplus, imperfect and short-dated food at a discount to prevent waste, and TasmanIon, which focuses on sustainable alternatives to lithium-ion batteries.
The Climate Response Accelerator programme aligns with Wellington City Council’s Te Atakura – First to Zero blueprint and action plan, says Alison Howard, Manager Climate Change Response.
“As we gallop towards 2030 it’s heartening to know proactive people are out there working to make a difference for our city.”
Hitch was co-founded by passionate problem-solvers, Todd Foster and Claudia Grave.
“One windy Wellington morning last November we were sitting at a cafe on Waterloo Quay plotting our next venture,” Claudia says.
“We couldn't help but notice the number of people all driving in the same direction with empty seats in their car, so we started counting. On average 28 cars with no passengers went by every 30 seconds.”
She says every day in New Zealand more than 1.4 million people travel in private vehicles, nearly all with just one person inside.
“The end result is that 5.5 million empty seats travel to and from work each day. Empty seats lead to traffic congestion, high cost of travel, strain on resources like roads, but most importantly, it contributes to climate change.”
Claudia says taking meaningful action against climate change requires a conscious mindset shift, breaking habits, and at times making sacrifices.
Through the duo’s platform, Hitch, they aim to change the way people think about commuting by making carpooling more flexible and convenient, by connecting commuters heading the same way at the same time.
“Many people who drive to work could start commuting in a more environmentally friendly way tomorrow. We hope Hitch will ultimately give commuters a chance to do their bit for the environment and their community.”
Hitch’s current focus is getting workplaces carpooling.
“Sustainability is becoming more top of mind for workplaces and one of the easiest ways we can reduce our carbon footprint is staring us right in the face - our commute!”
Claudia says carpooling will help with building a sense of community within workplaces and reduce parking pressures.
Visit the Hitch website to find out more.