Amazon Climate Pledge: What Is It, and How Does It Work?

By Finnie Zhao
January 29, 2024
4 min read

In 2019, Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge with Global Optimism, an advisory organization that advocates for climate solutions, committing to net-zero carbon emissions across businesses by 2040. The three principles Amazon presents in The Climate Pledge are regular reporting, carbon elimination, and credit offsets. Amazon has promised to periodically measure and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, implement decarbonization strategies through business changes and innovations, and execute quantifiable and socially beneficial offsets to achieve its 2040 Net-Zero target.

Why It Matters

Amazon has long been challenged for carbon emissions and environmental concerns throughout the company’s supply chain. Experts critique that its major services like package delivery, plastic wrapping, and boxing are leading to serious environmental concern for the company’s contribution to anthropogenic climate change. For example, Amazon’s shipping and delivery services alone have resulted in about 19 million metric tons of carbon in 2017, which is just under the emissions of five coal power plants. The trend is accelerating. The Amazon Sustainability 2020 Report disclosed that its carbon emissions rose 19% as the pandemic-fueled boost to its business as a primary driver of the increase in carbon footprint. In dealing with public comments and the companies’ need to reduce excessive carbon emissions, The Climate Pledge is an essential step for the company to increase input in coping with ongoing environmental issues and converge global efforts to the transition into a sustainable future.

Amazon Climate Funds

Amazon is hoping to achieve its climate goal through the strategic investments of carbon-reduction technologies and carbon offset projects. It has invested in two funds in support of The Climate Pledge: The Climate Pledge Fund and Right Now Climate Fund.

Amazon launched The Climate Pledge Fund with an initial $2 billion funding to invest in emission reduction technologies that facilitate energy transition and accelerate the Net-Zero target. Since the fund was announced in 2020, Amazon has invested in nine companies from multiple industry sectors that encompass the circular economy, food and agriculture, energy use and technology, manufacturing and materials, and transportation and logistics. Companies invested by Amazon are contributing to innovative technologies such as zero-emissions package delivery, renewable electrofuels, and advanced battery management. These investments are helping Amazon transform its services from carbon-heavy activities to renewable and energy-saving services.

Under the Right Now Climate Fund, Amazon invests in nature-based solutions that conserve, restore, and improve land management activities to increase carbon storage. The fund now has in total $100 million investment in reforestation projects and climate mitigation solutions. The initiative is global, with projects tackling climate change in Europe, restoring native rainforests in Brazil, and developing urban greening programs in Germany.

Climate Pledge Friendly Certifications

Amazon introduces the Climate Pledge Friendly certification program as a way for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. With 18 external certification programs and Amazon’s Compact By Design Certification, Amazon’s selling partners are encouraged to create sustainable products that help protect our planet. The Compact By Design certifications by Amazon identify products with sustainable design and less packaging that make the products more efficient to ship. The total 19 certifications cover a broad range of commitments in safer chemical usage, carbon footprint measurement, animal welfare, sustainable packaging, energy efficiency, etc. Until now, more than 25,000 products have achieved one or more certifications and are labeled as Climate Pledge Friendly. Amazon is leading the trend of more sustainable online consumption by stimulating manufacturers and selling partners to consider the environmental impacts of their products.

Climate Pledge Signatories

Amazon is not working alone. In its 2020 Sustainability Report, Kara Hurst, Vice President of Amazon Worldwide Sustainability, stated that Amazon is not only committed to building a sustainable business for its customers and the planet, but also to serving as a catalyst and sending signals to the market to drive a faster global transition to a low-carbon economy. Amazon is now setting off a wave of climate actions to drive collective and cross-sector collaboration for global businesses to achieve the target set under the Paris Agreement in 2015 -- limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. So far, The Climate Pledge has already received 300+ signatories in 51 industries across 29 countries. Climate & Sustainability has become an inescapable and imperative cause for companies in almost every sector.

Christiana Figueres, the founding partner of Global Optimism and the United Nations’ former climate chief, said that for today’s climate change, “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.” With more companies signing on The Climate Pledge, we wait to see how collective efforts could lead to a systematic change in dealing with the climate crisis.

Interested in the Climate Pledge Friendly Certifications and the Climate Pledge Signatories? Request a demo from Ecolytics today to see how we provide customized recommendations for your business’ sustainability goal and more! Click here to learn more about the benefits of carbon offsets and how to use them effectively.

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