Author : admin | Monday, 14 October 2019
Amazon head Jeff Bezos pledged on Thursday to make the US technology and retail giant carbon neutral by 2040 as well as encourage other companies to do the same, in a bid to help meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years early. "We want to use our scope and our scale to lead the way," Mr Bezos told a news conference in the US capital, striving to shake off the firm's reputation as a laggard on environmental issues.
Amazon revealed its "Climate Pledge" initiative and said it would be its first signatory, as part of an endeavor to lessen emissions in keeping with a 2050 goal for carbon neutrality set by the Paris agreement.
"We're done being in the middle of the herd on this issue," Mr Bezos said. "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." Mr Bezos stated he had spoken with other CEOs of global companies, and noted "I'm finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge."
With regard to the ramped-up effort, Mr Bezos said Amazon had consented to acquire 100,000 electric delivery vans from vehicle startup Rivian, to help prune its carbon footprint. Amazon formerly announced a US$440 million (S$605.7 million) investment in Rivian. The first vans will hit the road in 2021, with the fleet to be completely operating in 2030. Amazon also pledged to invest US$100 million on reforestation efforts in co-operation with the Nature Conservancy.
Amazon said their new "sustainability" initiative would deal with all of its business operations, with declined carbon in packaging, delivery and its own energy use. Mr Bezos's statement came the day before a global day of demonstrations to demand action on climate change, prior to a UN summit on zero-emissions on September 23. Amazon confronts mounting pressure to address its environmental impact, with more than 1,000 of its workers considering to walk off the job Friday as part of the Global Climate Strike.
Asked about the Amazon employees set to sign up the strike, Mr Bezos called it "totally understandable." "People are passionate about this issue," he said. "Everybody in this room should be passionate about this issue."
Amazon staff welcomed the announcement but said they would maintain their protest. "Climate Pledge is a huge win.. & we're thrilled at what workers have achieved in under a year. But we know it's not enough," said a Twitter message from Amazon Employees for Climate Justice.
The Paris Agreement, on it's own, is not going to get us to a livable world. Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we'll be in the streets. Greenpeace USA senior campaigner Gary Cook said the Amazon news was positive but lacked details on exactly how it would be implemented.
"Amazon is known for speed, but if Jeff Bezos wants Amazon to be a leader on climate, he needs to spell out exactly how it is going to rapidly move the company off of fossil fuels to keep our planet within the 1.5 degrees temperature threshold in the Paris Agreement that Amazon has now committed to," Mr Cook said.
Seeking 'many more' companies
Mr Bezos was coupled by Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief and founder of the climate activist group Global Optimism, who expressed hope the pledge would spur more action by companies. "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 said.
Mr Bezos said he hopes Amazon to reach 80 per cent renewable energy use by 2024, up from around 40 per cent today, and 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 on a path to net-zero carbon by 2040. This will involve investments in wind and solar energy projects and initiatives to curb carbon emissions at its facilities including the second headquarters, HQ2, just outside the US capital. Mr Bezos said that Amazon's push to speedier shipping, including one-day delivery on many items, would be a net positive in environmental terms even though it was "counterintuitive."
"The reason is, that once you get to one day and the same day, you can't really do it by air transportation anymore," he said. This means keeping warehouses and products closer to the consumer and as a result "you're actually transporting the products in a very efficient way," he said.