Amazon has reported that its greenhouse gas emissions increased by 18% last year as the company continues to grow into an e-commerce giant, according to government data released Thursday. Meanwhile, COVid, Amazon’s growing transportation business, saw its emissions increase by 32% from 2016 to 2017, even as the number of goods it shipped stayed about the same. (more here)
A Pandemic-Driven Surge in e-commerce Led Amazon’s Business to Grow 18% Last Year as it Met Increased Demands
As Amazon grew its business to meet the additional demands resulting from a pandemic-driven surge in e-commerce, its carbon emissions increased 18% last year.
According to Amazon’s annual sustainability report released Monday, its operations produced the equivalent of 71.54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021. This year’s carbon footprint is 18% higher than in 2020, and more than 40% higher than in 2019, the year that Amazon began releasing data on its carbon footprint.
Amazon’s carbon intensity, which is a measure of emissions per dollar of sales, fell by 1.9% in 2021, down from a 16% decrease in 2020. Covid-19 led to a massive influx of orders at Amazon and other e-commerce sites. Taking advantage of stimulus check money, many consumers opted to shop online to avoid being exposed to the virus. Due to this surge in demand, Amazon had to expand its delivery network of vans, planes, and trucks. It also opened new warehouses quickly to handle the influx of orders. Amazon doubled the number of fulfillment centers it had built over the past 25 years in the year ended 2021.
The pandemic also accelerated corporations’ migration to Amazon Web Services, causing the company to add more data centers.
The Company also Launched a $2 billion Venture Capital Fund, in addition to Investing $2 billion in New Climate Technology
It announced its “Climate Pledge” in 2019. The giant of e-commerce will become carbon neutral by 2040 and will purchase 100,000 electric vans from Rivian Automotive by 2030. The company also launched a $2 billion venture capital fund to invest in new climate technology, partly to support its sustainability goals. However, Amazon’s environmental record has come under scrutiny. A report by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting earlier this year revealed that Amazon–contrary to Target and Walmart–is only responsible for the carbon emissions produced by the products that are marked with the Amazon brand, and not those made by the companies it buys from and sells directly to the customer.
An Amazon spokesperson didn’t address the discrepancies directly, but they mentioned they adhere to guidance from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard when reporting their Scope 3 emissions, or emissions that come from the company’s supply chain. Amazon’s spokesperson explained that Amazon third-party sellers ‘control their own carbon emissions accounting’, the spokesperson added.