James Taylor, Zipcar UK General Manager
James Taylor, Zipcar UK General Manager

Interview with James Taylor, Zipcar UK General Manager

 

General Manager of Zipcar UK, James opens up about being a gay man in a leadership role, the importance of sustainability and how he’s working to support all communities our members, colleagues and allies belong to.

What drew you to Zipcar as a company?

The opportunity to work for the UK’s largest car-sharing company, a brand that people know and love, was a massive draw. I’m really lucky that I have a great team that are all as passionate as me about encouraging city dwellers to give up their private car and make more sustainable, greener transport choices through switching to car sharing.

How has Zipcar created an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ employees? 

We have a number of employee groups which celebrate diversity within the organisation, but which also focus on bringing more education and resources to the company, helping drive further change from within. As General Manager, it is my role to reinforce this message and continue to ensure that we have an accepting environment for all.

Our community of members come from all walks of life and backgrounds and it’s important our workforce reflects that diversity as well. A diverse workforce also ensures we get different perspectives – we all bring something different to the role, which means we get better results.  Being able to be your true, honest self in the workplace not only means you are happier in the workplace, but also allows you to perform better. That’s certainly something I’ve experienced throughout my career.

What do you want to see more of in terms of supporting LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace?

For me it’s not just about supporting LGBTQ+ employees, it’s about supporting all employees. If everyone feels able to be their true, honest self in the workplace then that allows them to perform better.

My role is to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities to grow and develop within the organisation. I think we’re already doing a lot as an organisation to recognise the diversity in our workforce, however there is always more that can be done, whether that’s creating a more diverse, inclusive culture or providing employees with more resources and training.

Do you feel it is important for senior figures in the workplace to use their voices to support LGBTQ+ employees? How important is it for you as a gay man to use your voice and position to support LGBTQ+ employees?

Yes definitely. It’s important we have a diverse workforce at all levels within the organisation and that we recognise and celebrate that diversity. It makes us much stronger as an organisation, but there’s always more that can be done. Having senior figures in the workplace support LGBTQ+ employees shows the level of commitment at all levels to create an inclusive culture.

I’m very conscious of my position as a gay man in a senior position within Zipcar, and it’s very important for me to use that position to support other LGBTQ+ employees within the organisation. I hope that seeing me in a senior position and being comfortable to be out in the workplace encourages other people within the organisation to also be their true honest self, and to see that they can also succeed and progress.

But I’m equally conscious that I need to do this for all parts of the organisation that feel under-represented, and do all that I can within my position to create an even more inclusive and diverse organisation across all levels of the business.

What is Zipcar’s mission, and why is this so important?

Zipcar’s mission is to enable simple and responsible living. That isn’t just about looking after the environment we operate in, but also our communities too.

Our cities are fantastic places to live and work, but they face unprecedented challenges as they grow - such as poor air quality and lack of space. That’s where Zipcar has real power to help. We know that for every Zipcar vehicle we take up to 13 privately owned vehicles (which are generally older and more polluting) from our roads. More importantly we change travel behaviour – after joining Zipcar our members walk, cycle and use public transport more and drive fewer miles – all helping improve our cities.

And with our vision to have a fully electric fleet by 2025 we’re contributing even more to helping our cities be greener and cleaner – lowering carbon emissions, reducing congestion and promoting more sustainable travel options.

One other important aspect of what we do, is making access to electric vehicles affordable for all, so access to EVs isn’t just for those who can afford to purchase one.

Sustainability is another hugely important cause that Zipcar stands behind - how important is this to you?

It’s really important. One of the great things about working at Zipcar is being able to see the impact of what we’re doing as an organisation – whether its members telling us they’ve sold their own car thanks to Zipcar or seeing the number of members who have driven an electric vehicle with us. It’s hugely motivational and I know the team share the same passion that I have to make real impact and drive positive change for our cities.

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do as an organisation – it has been from the day we were founded and will continue to be so – it’s part of our DNA. At the same it’s important we don’t rest on our laurels – there are always areas where we can continue to make positive changes whether big or small. We’ll continue to invest in our electric vehicles but also look at changes we can make in our office environment – such as minimising our use of plastic, ensuring we recycle as much as we can and working with suppliers who share our ethos.

Have Pride in Your Ride

Zipcar pride in your ride winner

Have Pride in Your Ride

We knew that summer 2021 wouldn’t be the same celebrations for the LGBTQ+ community, and because we wanted to do something to celebrate and recognise our colleagues and members in the community we gave members the chance to design a new branding for 10 of our cars!

Causes we support

planting a seed and watching in grow

Environmental Impact

Since 2000, our mission has been to create better communities. So we set out to cut carbon emissions, reduce congestion and promote multi-modal travel. Thanks to our over one million global members, we proudly lower CO2 emissions by 1.6 billion lbs per year and take away the need for more than 415,000 personally owned cars.

Pride heart

Embracing Equality

Equality shouldn’t be up for debate. That’s why Zipcar was an early supporter of LGBTQ+ organisations and equal rights. We continue to show our support at Pride events and in how we do business every day. We believe people can overcome anything on their own - but we’ll always be stronger together.

a gift wrapped box

Charity Support

Zipcar helps non-profits do more with affordable access to on-demand transportation. Through working with partners (and members) including the Felix Project, St Mungo’s, Thames Reach and The NHS we help raise money for their causes – as well as offer a transport solution that saves them much needed budget.

2 hands holding each other shaped like a heart

Championing Diversity

Providing access to transport - a key driver of economic opportunity and social equality - has always been our focus. But to truly fight systemic racism we need to build a more equitable car-sharing culture and community. That’s why we’ve launched the Power of Colour Employee Resource group, led by our Global President, to create a more diverse, inclusive culture and are providing more employee resources and training on racial bias and inequality. We will also continue to make our service more widely available to cause-based organisations that support underserved communities, will continue to champion our members from all backgrounds – especially those from black communities and ethnic minorities - and will use our platform to be a stronger voice for social justice and equality.

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