Amazon’s Climate Pledge: Maersk and SAP among 95 new businesses signing up

Image: Amazon

The new signatories bring the total number of businesses committed to the Pledge, which is co-orchestrated by Amazon and Global Optimism, past 300 for the first time. Signatories now represent more than $3.5trn in annual revenues, up from $1.8trn in September 2021.

The Pledge is headlined by a requirement for signatories to reach net-zero emissions across all scopes by 2040 at the latest. To ensure that signatories are not over-reliant on offsetting, there is also a requirement for businesses to prioritise energy efficiency, renewable energy and creating a closed-loop for materials. From there, they must “neutralise any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent and socially beneficial offsets”.

Signatories are also encouraged to collaborate on key focus areas relating to clean energy, energy efficiency and the circular economy.

New signatories include Maersk, SAP, Mitie, Weyerhaeuser, Kin and Carta and Cognizant Technology services.  

Several of these businesses are already working towards standalone net-zero plans with deadlines of 2040 or sooner. Maersk, for example, moved its net-zero target forward from 2050 to 2040 back in January.

Global Optimism’s co-founder Christiana Figueres said the announcement is timely, in the wake of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report. Published on 28 February, the report warned that global heating is on course to end hopes of a “liveable” future for more than three billion people by 2050. The report concluded that there is still a window in which to deliver the emissions reductions and adaptation funding needed, but that it is rapidly closing.

Figueres, best known for her work on the Paris Agreement as the UN’s climate lead from 2010 to 2016, said: “In the face of great peril, which is what the latest science depicts, the business community must have a clear path forward: step up and accelerate emissions reductions so that we might avoid the worst of the damages yet to come,”

“It’s encouraging, therefore, that 300 companies are committed to working together to achieve net-zero by 2040 or sooner through The Climate Pledge. But 300 companies are not enough to deliver the transformations we need. I encourage all business leaders to get to grips with the science, translate it for their businesses, and enable the changes we need without delay.”  

It bears noting that, earlier this month, As You Sow criticised Amazon’s own corporate climate commitments. In a report assessing how  55 of the largest US-based corporates are responding to the growing global net-zero movement and contributing to global efforts to hold temperature increases above pre-industrial levels below 1.5C, Amazon was given an ‘F’ grade. Other firms with this grade included ExxonMobil, Chevron and Tesla.

Sustainable Cities Accelerator

In related news, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has this month launched a new accelerator programme to support startups and scaleups working to deliver low-carbon solutions for cities.

The AWS Sustainable Cities Accelerator will support between 10 and 15 startups. In particular, AWS is looking to partner with businesses working to cut transport-related emissions within cities. This includes firms working on micro-mobility, electric vehicle (EV) charging, zero-emission last-mile deliveries, traffic and route optimisation.

Successful applicants will be supported with mentoring, business development and investment guidance, AWS training and up to $100,000 each in AWS Activate credits. AWS is working with Freshwater Advisors and the Public Spend Forum to deliver these initiatives. Applications will need to be submitted by 15 April and successful applicants will begin receiving support a month later.

The programme is modelled after the Clean Energy Accelerator launched by AWS in 2021. That programme supported innovators working in fields including battery innovation, energy data and energy storage.

Sarah George

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