Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced today that the company is pledging to meet the emission reduced goals of the Paris Accords 10 years ahead of schedule. The retail giant vowed to meet the goal, measure and report emissions on a regular basis, implement de-carbonization strategies, and offset remaining emissions with carbon offsets.
Bezos added that his goal is for Amazon to move from its current rate of 40% renewable energy to 80% renewable energy by 2024, before transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030. As part of the plan, Amazon has agreed to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from vehicle manufacturer Rivian. Bezos said the first electric delivery vans will be on the road by 2021 and he estimates 100,000 vehicles will be deployed by 2024. The move builds on Rivian’s $700 million investment round in February, which was led by Amazon.
“We want to use our scale and our scope to lead the way,” Bezos said. “One of the things we know about Amazon as a role model for this is that it’s a difficult challenge for us because we have deep, large physical infrastructure. So, if we can do this, anyone can do this.”
Amazon has vowed to work with companies in its supply chain to help them decarbonize and reach the same goals outlined in the plan. Dara O’Rourke, a senior principal scientist on Amazon’s sustainability team, said the company built a “comprehensive” carbon accounting system that helps it pull data from its various businesses.
“Amazon is as complex as many companies combined,” O’Rourke said. “That forced us to build one of the most sophisticated carbon accounting systems in the world. We had to build a system that had the granular data but at an Amazon scale.”
Experts claim Bezos’ appearance comes just as Amazon faces mounting pressure from employees to address its environmental impact. Over 1,000 Amazon employees have said they plan to walk out on Sept. 20 as part of the Global Climate Strike, of which Google and Microsoft employees also plan to participate. The employee walkout represents the first strike at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters in the company’s 25-year history, according to Wired.