On Thursday, Amazon announced it has committed to The Climate Pledge, becoming the first signatory to the pledge. Under this pact, the multinational tech company agrees to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early.
The Climate Pledge calls for signatories to hit net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040. As a participant, Amazon will have to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis, implement decarbonization strategies that are in line with the Paris Agreement and neutralize any remaining emissions will offsets to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2040.
“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 Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “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.”
To help meet the commitment, Amazon has ordered 100,000 fully electric delivery vehicles, the largest order ever for electric delivery vehicles. Amazon says will also invest $100 million in reforestation projects around the world which will help to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
And, Amazon has launched a new sustainability website to report its progress on The Climate Pledge.
“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. “With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization.”
Bezos says ” I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge. 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.”
In a press release issued by Amazon, the company says that by joining The Climate Pledge, all signatories will “play a critical role in stimulating investment in the development of low carbon products and services that will be required to help companies meet the pledge.”
To that end, Amazon has invested $440 million in Rivian, a Plymouth, Michigan-based company that produces emissions-free EVs. Amazon announced on Thursday that it will purchase 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian.
The vans will begin rolling off the assembly line and delivering packages to Amazon customers in 2021. Amazon says it plans to have 10,000 of the new EVs on the road as early as 2022 and hopes all 100,000 of the electric delivery vans will be on the road by 2030. This will save 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030.
In 2017, Amazon committed to power its global infrastructure with 100 per cent renewable energy. The company says it will reach 80 per cent renewable energy by 2024 and 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Amazon has launched 15 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects that will generate over 1,300 MW of renewable capacity and deliver more than 3.8 million MWh of clean energy annually. This is the equivalent of electricity needed to power 368,000 homes in the United States. Amazon has also installed more than 50 solar rooftops on fulfillment centres and sort centres around the globe that generate 98 MW of renewable capacity and deliver 130,000 MWh of clean energy annually.
As well, Amazon is launching the Right Now Climate Fund, which will see the company commit $100 million to restore and protect forests, wetlands and peatlands around the globe. The company will work alongside The Nature Conservancy to achieve its goals.
The Right Now Climate Fund will help remove millions of metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere over the lifetime of the project, and create economic opportunity for thousands of people.
“The science is clear: healthy forests, grasslands, and wetlands are some of the most effective tools we have to address climate change—but we must act now to take natural climate solutions to scale,” said Sally Jewell, interim CEO, The Nature Conservancy. “A commitment of this size is an exciting opportunity, with the potential to drive transformational change.”
As part of The Climate Pledge, Amazon has also launched a new sustainability website to report on its commitments, initiatives, and performance. The site includes information on Amazon’s carbon footprint and other sustainability metrics that share the progress the company is making towards reaching The Climate Pledge.