Amazon’s Climate Pledge
Amazon, world’s biggest ecommerce company, has been battling an image crisis. It witnessed strikes by its own workers for inhuman work practises in July of last year and on September it had to face the embarrassment of watching its workers again taking part in the Global Climate Strike pushing Amazon to be more aggressive in its climate goals. Bezos, whose personal wealth has been staggering gave in finally to these pressures. He has committed to meeting the goals of the Paris agreement 10 years ahead of schedule and be carbon neutral by 2040. He has termed this new effort as the Climate Pledge. It includes:
- Purchase of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from U.S. vehicle design and manufacturing startup Rivian Automotive LLC.
- Creating the Right Now Climate Fund and committing $100 million for conservation of protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands globally, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
- Launching a website to publicly disclose its climate-change effort’s progress: sustainability.aboutamazon.com
Amazon which delivers more than 10 billion items per year, with the use of 100,000 emissions-free electric delivery vehicles will be sparing the environment 4 million metric tons of carbon by 2030. While Bezos is optimistic about the Pledge and wants to set an example to the rest of the business world, some of his employees feel that not enough has been done. Amazon should take further action and halt any kind of assistance to the fossil fuel industry (Amazon provides Amazon Web Services (AWS) to oil and gas companies) and to politicians who deny climate change. Bezos, who knows where the money comes from, said “To ask oil and energy companies to do this transition with bad tools is not a good idea and we won’t do that,” and regarding the funding of climate change deniers he promises a “hard look”.
One may wonder about the sudden aggression and emergency on the part of the employees because amazon has so far invested on solar and renewable energy projects generating 3.8 million MWh of clean energy annually and its Frustration-Free Packaging and Ship in Own Container programs have reduced packaging waste by 25%. Its ever accelerating delivery system which now promises same day or next day delivery is forcing fulfilment centres to come closer to the delivery destination thereby eliminating energy inefficient, fuel hogging air transport. The answer to this can be best summed up by an employee Bobby Gordon “We do have high standards for Amazon because Amazon has high standards for us.”
Let’s hope that Jeff Bezos really means it when he says “We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue—we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference”.