Amazon, the largest retailer in the world and one that services more than 10 billion packages a year, just announced a new climate plan to go carbon neutral ten years earlier than pledged at the Paris Accord.
Jeff Bezos says this plan constitutes lobbying CEOs from industry leading companies, adding 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2024, running all facilities on 100% renewable energy by 2030, and in-depth measuring and reporting of Amazon’s emissions, while encouraging suppliers and third parties to follow suite.
Amazon has arguably the largest influence among retailers over the future of the industry, and now many companies will be forced to work within certain sustainability parameters in order to tap into the Amazon ecosystem.
The behemoth has been key to the public's shifting perception of Big Tech, particularly regarding its social and environmental responsibilities. Antitrust probes, warehouse safety concerns and manipulation of online reviews have all bubbled to the surface recently. Are these factors in this new 'responsible' stance?
Mounting internal pressure might also have played a role. More than 1,000 Seattle employees walked out as part of the Global Climate Strike and a letter with 8,200 signitatures pushed Bezos be do more about Amazons carbon emissions.
Retail has begun to catch on to the need to reduce its impact: one estimate found the fashion industry to account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. Companies such as Nike, Burberry, H&M and Hugo Boss have all pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
Jeff Bezon admits, “We've been in the middle of the herd on this issue, and we want to move to the forefront”. How could Amazon's decision influence the rest of the industry? How can we further empower customers and employees to pressure the systems they interact with every day?