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ZEG Takes Action: ‘Mobike’s Environmental Award Is Absurd’

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COLOGNE, Germany – The United Nations’ decision to name the Chinese bike sharing operator Mobike as the ‘2017 Champions of the Earth’ by the United Nations immediately sparked response from the German dealer cooperative ZEG who announced the cease of its membership of the UN Global Compact Initiative.

ZEG Takes Action: ‘Mobike’s Environmental Award Is Absurd’
Mobike contributes to billion-dollar waste of resources. This is why ZEG regards Mobike's Environmental Award as absurd. – Photo Bike Europe

“The decision of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to award Mobike is a slap in the face of all those 8,700 companies from 140 countries who have committed themselves to the strict ten basic principles of the Global Compact,” explains ZEG CEO Georg Honkomp.

The United Nations Global Compact is an initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation. It is the world’s largest corporate social responsibility initiative with 13,000 corporate participants and other stakeholders in more than 170 countries. The ZEG has ceased its membership of the UN Global Compact since 2013 with immediate effect and all related financial benefits.

ZEG Protests

The reason for Europe’s largest bicycle dealers cooperative to take this step was the United Nations Environment Program’s ‘Champions of The Earth 2017’ award which was handed out to the Chinese bike sharing operator Mobike. They received the highest environmental award from the United Nations for building a pedal-powered green economy as well as “acknowledging its contribution to the advancement of low-carbon public transport.”

“In honoring the award, the United Nations strongly focused on the issue of environmental protection in addition to the protection of human rights, corruption, child labor decent working condition. However not all principles, part of the United Nations Global Compact initiative were taken into consideration. For example the issue that companies should follow the precautionary principle when dealing with environmental problems.”

Fierce battle for market dominance prevails at Mobike

“Mobike violates this principle in the biggest possible way,” says Georg Honkomp. “In a fierce battle for market dominance and venture capital in China, the company and its competitors are literally pouring bikes down the streets and squares in major cities such as Beijing (2.3 million bike-sharing bikes). The bikes are simply left there without any maintenance and service, or any distribution philosophy. Hundreds of thousands of well-preserved bicycles end up in landfills in the battle between the bike sharing companies.”

Honkomp concludes that, “Instead of criticizing this billion-dollar waste of resources the UN environmental organization awarded Mobike. It is absurd that a company like Mobike was then awarded the highest environmental award. Huge amounts of cheap bikes which are not needed are pushed into the market. This requires enormous quantities of aluminum. We as a dealer cooperative cannot and do not want to support this,” explains ZEG CEO Georg Honkomp.

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