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Jeff Bezos Details Amazon’s Net-Zero Carbon Emissions 2040 Goal

September 19, 2019, 8:32 PM UTC Inc.’s CEO Jeff Bezos offered a plan for the retail giant’s renewed commitment to fighting climate change, a day before some of his workers and that of tech companies Microsoft and Google are scheduled to participate in a Global Climate Change Strike.

At a Washington, D.C., news conference Friday, Bezos said Amazon would reduce its carbon emissions to a net zero by 2040–a decade earlier than called for in the Paris Agreement, the international climate-change pact.

“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 Bezos, Amazon’s founder, according to a company news release.

Bezos also said he’s co-founding The Climate Pledge, with Global Optimism, a non-profit promoting social and environmental changes, started by Christiana Figueres, former climate change chief at the United Nations.

The pledge solicits net-zero emissions goals from other companies. Collectively, signatories should help invigorate corporate climate-change remediation, while spurring investment in eco-friendly technology, Bezos said.

“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,” Bezos said. “I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge.”

“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,” Bezos said.

Global Optimism’s Figueres said Amazon’s increased focus on reducing its global carbon footprint encourages like-minded participation.

“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,” Figueres said, according to the new release.

Increasing climate-change scrutiny

Bezos’ climate-change pledge comes at a time as corporations as a whole focus on remediating climate change, and as consumers in the U.S. and worldwide demand more action on the issue.

Two years ago, Amazon committed to powering its global infrastructure with 100% renewable energy, considered a key part of reducing carbon emissions. Now offering more specifics, the company pledges to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024, and the balance by 2030, before reaching net-zero carbon neutrality by 2040.

So far, Amazon has tapped into wind and solar renewable energy projects generating 3.8 million MWh of clean energy annually, or the equivalent of powering 368,000 homes. Under its Shipment Zero program, the company has set a 50% net zero carbon goal by 2030, with an eye to eventually eliminating carbon from its shipping. Already, since 2015, Amazon said its Frustration-Free Packaging and Ship in Own Container programs have reduced packaging waste by 25% .

In other climate-change-reduction news, Amazon also announced:

• Creating the Right Now Climate Fund and committing $100 million for conservation of protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands globally, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. These efforts will considerably remove carbon from the atmosphere and create jobs, Amazon said.

• Launched a website to publicly disclose its climate-change effort’s progress: 

• Ordering 100,000 emissions-free electric delivery vehicles from the Plymouth, Mich. manufacturer Rivian, with vans starting to deliver packages to customers starting in 2022. By 2030, the vehicles annually will be sparing the environment 4 million metric tons of carbon, in contrast to conventional petroleum-powered vehicles. Amazon earlier invested $440 million in Rivian.

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