Amazon polluting worsens as it launches sustainable fund

Jeff Bezos

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has launched a US$2 billion fund to advance technologies that will cut down greenhouse gases.

Amazon, founded by CEO, President and Chairman Jeff Bezos, and Global Optimism co-founded The Climate Pledge last year when Amazon agreed to be carbon neutral by 2040. However, Amazon created about 15% more carbon dioxide last year than 12 months earlier as its worldwide sales increased.

Amazon released more than 51 million metric tons of CO2 in 2019, according to Amazon’s 2019 sustainability report, which compared to just over 44 million metric tons it emitted in 2018 – the first time it disclosed its carbon footprint.

The Climate Pledge Fund is to support the development of sustainable technologies and services that will enable the online retailer and other companies to meet The Climate Pledge.

“This dedicated venture investment program — with an initial $2 billion in funding – will back visionary companies whose products and services will facilitate the transition to a zero-carbon economy,” Amazon said in a media release.

US multinational telecommunications company Verizon, UK multinational consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser and Indian multinational technology company Infosys recently joined The Climate Pledge.

“The Climate Pledge Fund will look to invest in the visionary entrepreneurs and innovators who are building products and services to help companies reduce their carbon impact and operate more sustainably,” said Jeff Bezos. “Companies from around the world of all sizes and stages will be considered, from pre-product startups to well-established enterprises. Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations.”

The Climate Pledge Fund will invest in companies in multiple industries, including transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilization, manufacturing and materials, circular economy, and food and agriculture. Over time, Amazon will also look for opportunities to involve other Climate Pledge signatories in this venture investment program.

“Amazon has demonstrated its leadership in adopting low carbon technologies at scale,” said Rivian CEO R J Scaringe. “Their investment in Rivian and subsequent order of 100,000 electric delivery vans will substantially shrink the carbon footprint of Amazon’s package delivery network. We’re excited about a future of decarbonised delivery services.”

Bezos’ company said in its 2019 sustainability report that it’s on target to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of schedule. As part of The Climate Pledge, Amazon had previously committed to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030.

“To date, Amazon has announced 91 renewable energy projects around the globe. Together, these projects totalling over 2,900 MW of capacity will deliver more than 7.6 million MWh of renewable energy annually, enough to power 680,000 US homes,” the company said.

“Amazon made two investments from its $100 million Right Now Climate Fund in nature-based solutions and reforestation projects around the world, including a reforestation project in the Appalachians in the US and an urban greening initiative in Berlin, Germany.”

Since 2015, the online retailer said it has reduced the weight of outbound packaging by 33% and eliminated more than 880,000 tons of packaging material – the equivalent of 1.5 billion shipping boxes.

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