In 2019 Amazon promised to decarbonise half of all its shipping by 2030 © Suriyapong Thongsawang via Getty
In 2019 Amazon promised to decarbonise half of all its shipping by 2030 © Suriyapong Thongsawang via Getty

Amazon abandons 2030 net zero carbon shipping commitments

6 June 2023

E-commerce giant, Amazon, has announced it is to scale back on its shipping decarbonisation pledge, prompting a furious response from employees. 

In 2019 its "Shipment Zero” pledge promised to decarbonise half of all its shipping by 2030.

However, the firm has now revealed it has abandoned its specific Shipment Zero commitment, and will instead absorb its shipping goals into its wider Climate Pledge.

This latter promise commits Amazon to becoming net-zero across all its operations by 2040, and by deferring to this it means its 2030 targets will be ditched completely.

According to Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, an employee group campaigning for better sustainability across the firm’s operations, the move is one they are “deeply concerned” about, describing it as a “broken” commitment. 

“It’s not just that Amazon isn’t doing enough to decarbonise and truly lead on climate, it’s actively blocking progress too,” the group said.

It added: “Amazon is breaking its climate commitments as we speak.”

Responding to these claims, Amazon says its Shipment Zero commitments were set before it had announced its Climate Pledge. As such, it said it “no longer made sense to have a separate and more narrow shipment zero goal that applied to only one part of our business.”

It continued: “We remain focused on The Climate Pledge and our goal to reach net-zero carbon across our operations by 2040.”

It added: “This includes working towards powering our operations with 100% renewable energy, transforming and decarbonising our transportation network with electric vehicles and alternative fuels, using more sustainable building materials, and reducing packaging waste, among other areas.”

However, the firm’s own sustainability report shows that its emissions are actually rising. 

In its most recent report, Amazon said it emitted the equivalent of 71.54m metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021 across its activities. This was an 18% year-on-year increase, and an increase of nearly 40% compared to 2019.

When it first introduced Ship it Zero in 2019 Amazon said: “it won’t be easy to achieve this goal,” but noted “it’s worth being focused and stubborn on this vision and we’re committed to seeing it through.”

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