GoTo: financial strife will not affect our sustainability commitments

The Indonesian tech giant says share price volatility will have no impact on its plans to decarbonise, eliminate waste and support vulnerable riders.

Gojek rider
Gojek owner GoTo hatched a plan to decarbonise its business as part of a wide-ranging review of its sustainability strategy in 2019. Image: Foto-foto Ilustrasi Kompas Iklan/Flickr

GoTo, the Indonesian tech giant that owns ride-hailing app Gojek and e-commerce firm Tokopedia, has said the firm’s sustainability ambitions have not been affected by the company’s financial difficulties.

The company lost Rp20.3 trillion (US$1.3 billion) between January and September 2022 – a worrying increase on the Rp11.5 trillion lost over the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, the company’s stock has been in freefall since a lock-up period on shares expired in November, and its value has shrunk by 70 per cent since its post-merger initial public offering last April.

However, the firm is continuing to focus on priority areas, which include integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) best practice across its business lines, according to GoTo’s group head of sustainability, Tanah Sullivan.

In 2021, GoTo hatched a plan to decarbonise its operations, eliminate waste from its deliveries and protect its vulnerable riders from economic shocks by 2030. 

Sullivan said there would be no changes to the company’s sustainability commitments despite the firm’s financial situation, and GoTo would be ratcheting up its sustainability efforts in 2023.

Sullivan pointed to progress the company has made towards achieving its “Three Zeros” sustainability strategy – “zero emissions”, “zero waste” and “zero barriers – which includes launching pilot projects for electric two-wheelers with a view to fully electrifying Gojek’s fleet of vehicles and using only renewable energy by the end of the decade.

In an interview last year, Sullivan admitted that the company’s sustainability targets are “extremely ambitious” in response to concerns that reducing GoTo’s emissions to zero by 2030 would be almost impossible in a country like Indonesia, which has a coal-powered grid and very limited  infrastructure.

Last month, GoTo’s chief financial officer Jacky Low said the firm is pursuing “high quality” growth and an ongoing focus on efficiency and cutting expenses to guide the company towards profitability. The firm has been criticised for the high salaries of its management team.

Business growth will come from product innovations such as GoPay Coins, a loyalty scheme for Gojek users, and GoTransit, which provides users with the latest information on public transport schedules, the company has said.

Sullivan told Eco-Business last year that the firm’s aggressive growth targets would not hinder its sustainability commitments. “We are not going to prioritise growth targets that impact or hinder our sustainability commitments,” she said.

“We are a relatively young company. We have relatively young leadership. That has been a huge advantage for me, because it has meant that our team does not have to necessarily convince everybody that sustainability is important,” she said.

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