Bezos: Amazon Is ‘Done Being In the Middle of the Herd’ on Climate Issues

by | Sep 19, 2019

(Credit: Amazon)

Amazon has announced a commitment to be net zero carbon across its businesses by 2040; if successful, the ecommerce giant will meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says the company is “done being in the middle of the herd on this issue” and plans to use its size and scale to “make a difference.”

Amazon’s commitment comes as part of The Climate Pledge, a joint movement with Global Optimism which calls on companies to join Amazon in its determination to reach net zero carbon a decade ahead of the Paris Accord’s goal of 2050.

Companies that sign The Climate Pledge agree to:

  • Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis;

  • Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies;

  • Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.

“If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon – which delivers more than 10 billion items a year – can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can,” Bezos says. “I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge. Large companies signing The Climate Pledge will send an important signal to the market that it’s time to invest in the products and services the signatories will need to meet their commitments.”

Amazon has launched >a new sustainability website to report on its commitments. The site includes information on Amazon’s carbon footprint and other sustainability metrics that share the progress the company is making towards reaching The Climate Pledge.

Bold steps from big companies are needed in order to boost the development of new technologies and industries that will support a low carbon economy, believes Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism. “If Amazon can set ambitious goals like this and make significant changes at their scale, we think many more companies should be able to do the same and will accept the challenge,” she says.

Amazon’s announcement comes a day before the company is expected to lose hundreds of members of its workforce when employees walk out as part of the youth-driven Global Climate Strike. Employees planning to take part in the walkout say they want Amazon to reach zero emissions by 2030, use electric delivery vehicles, and end contracts with fossil fuel companies that use its technology products.

Two years ago, Amazon made a long-term commitment to power its global infrastructure with 100% renewable energy. Amazon is now pledging to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030. Major investments in renewable energy are a critical step to address its carbon footprint globally. To date, Amazon has launched 15 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects that will generate over 1,300 MW of renewable capacity and deliver more than 3.8 million MWh of clean energy annually.

Amazon has also installed more than 50 solar rooftops on fulfillment centers and sort centers around the globe that generate 98 MW of renewable capacity and deliver 130,000 MWh of clean energy annually.

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