Amazon sets 'shipment zero' goal for lower emissions

The bigger the scale a company works at, the more of an impact even the smallest change can have. You don't get much bigger than Amazon, and a new initiative could have a huge impact on the carbon emissions produced from delivering all those products we order.

Posting on the Amazon blog, Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon, introduced a new project this week the company is calling "Shipment Zero." Amazon wants to eventually reach a point where its entire global infrastructure runs on 100 percent renewable energy, but while transport still relies so heavily of fuels that produce emissions, that's very difficult to achieve.

Shipment Zero is a big step in the right direction, though, with the first goal being to achieve 50 percent of all Amazon shipments with net zero carbon by 2030. Amazon admits it's not an easy goal to achieve, especially when you consider those shipments rely on air transport as well as ground transport using both large and small trucks. However, by setting the goal and stating it publicly, it puts pressure on not only Amazon, but its suppliers to also do better when it comes to cutting emissions.

To show how committed the company is to this, Amazon intends to start sharing its carbon footprint publicly "later this year." It has apparently taken Amazon two years to "develop an advanced scientific model to carefully map our carbon footprint." It goes further than just stating figures and is meant to help the different business teams within the organization identify where carbon savings can be made.

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By doing this, Amazon is not only setting itself a difficult goal, but it sends the message out to competitors that if they don't keep up, then Amazon will soon be able to claim to be a greener business than them. I also have no doubt the scientific model Amazon developed will call out any suppliers who are under-performing and this could be used in the future to issue warnings and potentially put contract renewals in jeopardy.

Whatever you think of Amazon, this is a very positive move by the company that could have an industry-wide impact in the years to come.

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