scorecardAmazon gives up a key part of its climate pledge and deletes the blog post that announced the Shipment Zero initiative. We dug up the details anyway.
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Amazon gives up a key part of its climate pledge and deletes the blog post that announced the Shipment Zero initiative. We dug up the details anyway.

Alistair Barr   

Amazon gives up a key part of its climate pledge and deletes the blog post that announced the Shipment Zero initiative. We dug up the details anyway.
Tech2 min read
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon.    Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media
  • Amazon scrapped its Shipment Zero initiative, which was announced a few years ago.
  • The company has rolled the goal into its broader Climate Pledge to become carbon-neutral by 2040.

Big corporations usually choose their bottom line when it comes to hard choices over profit versus the environment. Amazon is no different.

The ecommerce giant recently backed out of a commitment to make 50% of its shipments net-zero carbon by 2030.

Amazon said in a statement that it would roll this goal into a broader Climate Pledge to reach net-zero carbon across all its operations by 2040 — A decade later than the 50% goal, which was called "Shipment Zero" at the time.

"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," Amazon wrote in the statement.

The investigative reporter Will Evans squeezed this information from Amazon and tweeted about it Thursday. Last year, Evans uncovered a study that said the company had drastically undercounted its carbon footprint. At the time, an Amazon spokesman reiterated the company's commitment to cutting emissions, including ordering a fleet of electric delivery vans and buying renewable energy for its electricity needs.

Dropping the specific shipment pledge is noteworthy because Amazon's ecommerce operation relies on vast fleets of vehicles and aircraft to deliver packages to consumers quickly. Most of this activity chews up vast quantities of fossil fuels and spews out greenhouse gases. However, fast delivery is a key selling point for shoppers and the main reason millions subscribe to the company's Prime program.

Amazon announced the Shipment Zero initiative in a blog a few years ago. The company has since deleted the post. However, through the magic of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, large corporations cannot rewrite online history. Here's a version of the blog.

Some choice phrases from the announcement, so you can see what Amazon is backing out of now:

"We can now see a path to net zero carbon delivery of shipments to customers, and we are setting an ambitious goal for ourselves to reach 50% of all Amazon shipments with net zero carbon by 2030."

"We believe that lower costs include lowering the costs to the environment we all live and work in every day. We'll keep you posted as we work towards achieving Shipment Zero."

"It won't be easy to achieve this goal, but it's worth being focused and stubborn on this vision and we're committed to seeing it through."




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