Amazon and Global Optimism announced Thursday, September 19th “The Climate Pledge,” a commitment to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change ten years early.
As a result, Amazon today becomes the first signatory of this pledge, which calls on signatories to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across their businesses by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Accord’s goal of 2050.
Companies that sign the “Climate Pledge” agree to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis, to implement decarbonisation strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies.
They also agree to neutralise any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon 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 ten billion items a year, can meet the Paris Agreement ten years early, then any company can. 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.”
Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism said, “bold steps by big companies will make a huge difference in the development of new technologies and industries to support a low carbon economy.
“With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonisation. If Amazon can set ambitious goals like this and make significant changes at their scale, we think many more companies should be able to do the same and will accept the challenge. We are excited to have others join.”
By joining this pledge and agreeing to decarbonise on a faster timeline, signatories will play an important role in boosting investment in the development of low carbon products and services.
Amazon had previously announced an investment in Rivian, which is a producer of emissions-free electric vehicles, with its headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan and a manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois.
Amazon targets with a $440 million investment to accelerate the production of electric vehicles critical to reducing emissions from transportation. To achieve this goal faster, Amazon today announced the order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles, with vans starting to deliver packages to customers in 2021.
Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022, and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030, saving four million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030.
Two years ago, Amazon made a long-term commitment to power its global infrastructure with 100% renewable energy. Amazon is now vowing to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024, and 100% renewable energy by 2030 on its path to net-zero carbon by 2040.
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, enough to power 368,000 U.S. homes.
In addition, the firm is launching the “Right Now Climate Fund,” committing $100 million to restore and protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands around the world, in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy. The Right Now Climate Fund will help eliminate millions of metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere over the lifetime of the project and generate 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 of The Nature Conservancy.
“Amazon is recognized as an innovator that drives real change. A commitment of this size is an exciting opportunity, with the potential to drive transformational change. We applaud Amazon’s Climate Pledge, and their aggressive ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, and look forward to our high-impact collaboration.” she added.
A Sustainability website on Amazon’s commitments, initiatives, and performance is launched Friday, September 20th. 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.