Amazon targets carbon-neutral shipments by 2030

Online retailer Amazon has set an ongoing target of achieving carbon neutrality for all its global shipments, starting with a 2030 ambition of making half of its shipments 'net-zero'.

Amazon targets carbon-neutral shipments by 2030

The announcement comes just one day after Amazon confirmed it will invest $700m (£542m) into EV startup Rivian

Amazon’s senior vice president Dave Clark unveiled the new commitment, which the company has dubbed ‘shipment zero’, in a blog post on Monday (18 November).

The blog entry states that Amazon can “see now a path to net-zero carbon delivery for the first time”, following a string of investments into its long-term aim of sourcing 100% renewable power globally.

Since unveiling that aim in 2014, Clark claims that technological and scientific developments which have helped to decarbonise the automotive, aviation, energy and maritime shipping sectors have now made it possible to offer carbon-neutral logistics.

Amazon has confirmed that it will invest in electric vehicle (EV) research and development and expand its EV delivery fleet as it strives to achieve ‘shipment zero’ but is yet to release exact details on the amount of funding or vehicles the plan will cover.

The company will also invest in low-carbon maritime and aviation technologies, including biofuels for jet planes, while paying for carbon credits to offset the remainder of its transport-related emissions.

“Customers are always going to want more selection, faster delivery speed and lower costs – but we believe that lower costs include lowering the costs to the environment we all live and work in every day,” Clark said in the blog post.

“It won’t be easy to achieve this [2030] goal, but it’s worth being focused and stubborn on this vision and we’re committed to seeing it through.”  

The move builds on Amazon’s ‘ship in your own container’ scheme, which saw the retailer encourage brands it stocks to send goods without an overbox or extra packaging. Launched last September, Amazon claims the initiative could deliver reductions of up to 50% in shipping volume and packaging use within its first year.

It also comes just one day after Amazon confirmed it will invest $700m (£542m) into EV startup Rivian. The retailer is yet to release details on the deal, but Forbes has claimed that it could see Amazon use Rivian vehicles for last-mile deliveries in urban areas. 

New goals, better disclosure

To track progress against its ‘shipment zero’ goals – and to allow investors and the general public to do the same – Amazon has pledged to publish its company-wide carbon footprint for the first time by the end of 2019.

This disclosure will cover the company’s direct (Scope 1 & 2) emissions, as well as those generated through its indirect operations (Scope 3) such as shipping.

Amazon’s decision to publish this information follows a two-year project which aimed to create an “advanced and scientific” carbon mapping model, which was designed specifically for the multinational. 

The move comes after years of campaigns against Amazon’s environmental disclosure policies by green groups, with the likes of Greenpeace having previously criticised the firm’s low-carbon energy strategy for “lacking in basic transparency”.

Sarah George

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