Amazon launched a program back in 2019 called “Shipment Zero” with the intent to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. However, the company recently made changes to its shipping policies that would hurt this initiative.
The global e-commerce giant has been under fire the past few days after one reporter found they deleted a blog post supporting the “Climate Pledge” initiative. This move reflects Amazon's commitment to addressing environmental challenges and advancing sustainability across its entire business operations.
So, what exactly is Shipment Zero and how will it affect Amazon sellers in the future? Read on below as we break down the answers in the article.
What Is Shipment Zero and the Climate Pledge Movement?
In 2019, Amazon announced a program called Shipment Zero with a goal to make 50% of its shipments net-zero carbon by 2030.
A few months after launching Shipment Zero, the e-commerce company released The Climate Pledge – a broader initiative aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. This pledge was made to build a collaboration of companies, organizations, individuals, and other partners working together to address climate change and help decarbonize our economy.
The Climate Pledge’s deadline is set in 2040, two decades after Amazon first started Shipment Zero.
Changes to Amazon’s Shipping Policy
In a recent statement, Amazon scrapped its Shipment Zero initiative saying it no longer made sense to set narrow goals that only applied to one aspect of the business.
“As we examined our work toward The Climate Pledge, we realized that it no longer made sense to have a separate and more narrow Shipment Zero goal that applied to only one part of our business, so we’ve decided to eliminate it,” said Amazon in a statement.
As per Fast Company, an Amazon spokesperson said that the policy change shouldn’t be an indication that the company wasn’t working toward its earlier goals.
“Nothing has changed in our commitment to decarbonize our operations,” the spokesperson said.
Why Did Amazon Remove the Policy?
Will Evans, a reporter from the Center for Investigative Reporting, who was the first to find out about the policy change asked Amazon if the reason for removing the pledge was because of the possibility of missing the goal.
Amazon said that wasn’t the case.
Eric Leveridge, leader of a zero-emissions shipping campaign at the nonprofit organization Pacific Environment, said that this policy change is of great concern.
“I can’t speak to their reasoning, but the fact that this commitment was quietly deleted from their website and had to be unearthed by a reporter who had previously reported on Amazon underestimating their carbon footprint, is concerning,” says Leveridge.
He also pointed out that Amazon has great potential to transition to clean shipping by procuring zero-emission transportation to mitigate the climate crisis.
“In the most decisive decade for climate action, Amazon should be doing everything in its power to eliminate its pollution and achieve zero-emission goods movement,” added Leveridge.
Fast delivery is one of Amazon’s main selling points and also one of the main reasons thousands of customers use the platform.
Dropping this shipping pledge raises environmental and ecological concerns for sellers as it’s a known fact that Amazon’s operations rely heavily on fleets of vehicles and aircraft to deliver their packages. These millions of deliveries make up a big percentage of the world’s carbon emissions due to the amount of fuel they consume daily.
The e-commerce giant is shifting gears with its carbon footprint and is extending their deadline of net-zero carbon emissions to 2040. This goes to show how fickle corporate sustainability goals can be.
Sellers know that people will always opt for the more efficient delivery option at a lower cost. This brings further challenges for Amazon to deal with as it continues to grow on a global scale with green initiatives.
With this new goal for green sustainability, one can only imagine – can Amazon reach its newly set target by 2040?