A Look Into Amazon’s Climate Pledge

The climate pledge does update Amazon’s climate target from 2050, the issues that surround the announcement, however, is much more intriguing.

A day before Greta Thunberg rung the bell for climate strike all over the world, e-commerce giant Amazon sniffing trouble at home, released a climate pledge to assuage the dissent brewing within its walls.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos along with Global Optimism has reportedly co-founded the climate pledge to meet its climate targets a whole decade early 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. I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge,” Bezos said in a statement.

Christiana Figueres, who worked as the executive secretary of UNCCC, is the brain behind the climate pledge. “Bold steps by big companies will make a huge difference in the development of new technologies and industries to support a low carbon economy,” said Figueres who is also the founding partner of Global Optimism, “With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization.”

Highlights of the Climate Pledge:

80 percent Renewable Energy by 2024 and 100 percent Renewable Energy By 2030: Amazon is now pledging to reach 80 percent renewable energy by 2024 and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 on its path to net-zero carbon by 2040.

Investing USD 100 million in Reforestation: Amazon is launching the Right Now Climate Fund, committing USD 100 million to restore and protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands around the world in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.

Sustainability Reporting: Amazon also launched a new sustainability website to report on its commitments, initiatives, and performance.

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The Climate pledge on one hand does update Amazon’s climate target from 2050, the issues that surround the announcement, however, is much more intriguing. Amazon employees, according to the reports, had organized an ‘Amazon Employees for Climate Justice’ forum to press Bezos for a more stringent action on climate change. Thousands of Amazon employees walked out to join the climate strikes on Sept. 20. This was the first strike in the history of its Seattle office. With Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Google employees joining in climate strike with their stricter climate plans, Bezos may have given in to the pressure. As an act to diffuse the internal tension and create a better and greener brand image, Amazon climate pledge works as a tool for internal advocacy.

Amazon orders Rivian Electric Delivery Vehicles
Amazon orders Rivian Electric Delivery Vehicles

Another interesting mention is the electrification of heavy haulage vehicles like trucks which have so far been away from the electric mobility glitz.

“The USD 440 million investment will accelerate the production of electric vehicles critical to reducing emissions from transportation. To further advance this goal, Amazon today announced the order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles, with vans starting to deliver packages to customers in 2021. Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030 – saving 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030,” Amazon said.

If Amazon gets successful in fleet electrification in those numbers, the action may become a gamechanger for the heavy goods electric vehicle industry. This will open a new business segment, bring down prices for the technology and encourage other retail or delivery services to follow Bezos to compete.

The domino effect of Amazon will improve fleet electrification, improve charging infrastructure, and pour in funds for innovation of battery technologies for the long-range travel. This, in turn, can work in tandem with Amazon greening its supply chains which will benefit renewable energy, forests, people and environment and push others to meet the same standards.

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