Amazon Vows to Achieve Net-Zero Carbon Emissions By 2040

Amazon has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, a full decade ahead of the Paris climate agreement.

Amazon Vows to Achieve Net-Zero Carbon Emissions By 2040
Earth melting bestdesigns/iStock

Aiming to do what politicians in the U.S. are failing to do, eCommerce giant Amazon announced a corporate pledge to surpass the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for the planet to be net-zero carbon by 2050. 

In a press release, the company said it aims to be carbon neutral by 2040, a decade before the Paris Accord's goals. 

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Amazon's tired of being 'in the middle of the herd' on climate change

“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,” said Jeff BezosAmazon founder, and CEO said in the press release. “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."

Amazon is teaming up with Global Optimism, a non-profit dedicated to saving the planet from climate change, to create The Climate Pledge. The pledge calls on all signatories to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2040. 

Companies who sign on are required to be transparent 

Companies who sign on agree to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis, put in place decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement which requires real business changes and innovations and neutralize any remaining emissions with quantifiable, real and permanent offsets. 

"I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge," said Bezo in the announcement. "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 pointed to Rivian, the Detroit-based electric truck maker as one example of how its supporting low carbon products and services to help meet the pledge. Amazon led a $700 million investment round in the startup that's gearing to roll out a fully electric pickup truck and SUV in late 2020. The eCommerce giant invested $440 million, which it said will go to accelerate production of the electric vehicles.

Amazon orders 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian

Amazon also announced it is ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian with deliveries using the trucks starting in 2021.  As soon as 2022, Amazon plans to have 10,000 new electric vehicles on the road and all 100,000 on the road by 2030. Amazon estimates it will save 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030. 

The company also announced it launched the Right Now Climate Fund and is committing $100 million to restore and protect forests, wetland, and peatlands located across the globe. The initiative is in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Finally, Amazon said it has created a new sustainability website where it will report all its commitments, initiatives and performance. 

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“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 Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism in the same press release. “With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization. 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. We are excited to have others join.” 

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