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As part of Amazon’s mission to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, they’ve emphasized their commitment to build a sustainable business for their employees, their customers, and communities around the globe, which is evident in the company’s 2021 Amazon Sustainability Report. This extensive analysis of the company’s performance details the measures Amazon has taken and the meaningful progress they’ve made in the last year.
Here, seven important highlights from the 2021 Amazon Sustainability Report, and what this means as they look ahead to the coming year.
1. The Climate Pledge Increased 700% in Signatories
We’re written about The Climate Pledge before, and it’s great to see this initiative continue to rise in popularity. Amazon sealed its commitment to The Climate Pledge, an initiative with the goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, by adding 253 companies in 2021, which is a 700% increase from the year before.
They’ll continue their efforts through The Climate Pledge Fund, a $2 billion venture investment program that supports the development of sustainable technologies to help Amazon meet this important goal, by continuing to invest in companies that assist in accelerating their progress.
2. Electric Vehicles Delivered Over a Half Million Amazon Packages in North America
In 2021, Amazon customers in North America received over half a million of their packages from electric vehicles, with more than 100 million packages delivered to European customers by a fleet of 3,000 electric delivery vans and other zero-emission vehicles. Amazon is already making great strides in 2022, with a recent announcement of custom delivery vehicles from Rivian expected to hit the road in over a dozen U.S. cities and soon-to-be hundreds by the end of this year.
3. Over Two Million Products Qualified Under Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP)
Amazon’s flagship program, Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) was initiated to provide customers with more sustainable packaging that was not only easier to open, but also fully recyclable, and protective enough to not require additional packaging. At the end of 2021, over two million Amazon products qualified under their FFP programs, avoiding over 30,000 tons of plastic across North America.
As they look ahead to 2022, the data-science algorithms Amazon employs to reduce the use of corrugated boxes should increase from covering 65% of global box shipments to 97%. As a regular supporter of Amazon’s package delivery service, I’m a very big fan of all steps to make this process more ecofriendly.
4. Amazon Donated 85 Million Pounds of Food
Through Feeding America, Amazon donated the equivalent of more than 70 million meals in the U.S., and in Europe, the company donated more than 4,000 tons of food, which is the equivalent of about 10 million meals. Amazon also utilized processes like composting and anaerobic digestion to avoid landfills for any food that could not be donated.
Eliminating food waste is another personal passion, and it’s great to see that by 2030, Amazon is committed to reducing food waste by 50% across their U.S. and Europe operations. Amazon is approaching this task by optimizing food inventory management systems that minimize waste and putting the priority on procedures that allow them to avoid landfills.
5. Over 250,000 Products Now Offered Through Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly Program
Part of Amazon’s commitment to sustainability means helping customers in the U.S. and Europe discover and shop for more sustainable items. Since the program launched in 2020, Amazon reports that the Climate Pledge Friendly program has grown from 75,000 to over 250,000 products, with more than 370 million units shipped to customers.
Amazon has taken a more sustainable approach to their devices as well, by incorporating recycled materials into many devices, and even addressing the electricity used by their devices through renewable energy development, starting first with the Echo.
They’re committed to making Amazon device packaging 100% recyclable by 2023, and plan on making investments in additional wind and solar farm capacity that would produce the clean energy equivalent to the electricity used by all the Echo, Fire TV, and Ring devices worldwide by 2025.
6. Amazon Web Services (AWS) 3.6 Times More Energy Efficient Than Median U.S. Enterprise Data Centers
Amazon has designed data centers that provide AWS customers with the service they expect, while still minimizing their environmental footprint. Studies have shown that AWS is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of U.S. enterprise data centers surveyed. That’s not only impressive, I believe it’s exactly the kind of energy savings that will resonate with customers as well.
AWS has also reduced the amount of water used to cool their data centers through evaporative cooling and on-site water treatment, as well as the utilization of recycled water systems for cooling purposes.
7. Amazon Reached 85% Renewable Energy Across Their Business
With the announcement of 274 renewable projects at the end of 2021, Amazon is now the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. Currently, Amazon has 310 renewable energy projects across 19 countries, and is positioned to power their operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.
These 7 highlights from the 2021 Amazon Sustainability Report are only a small fraction of the efforts Amazon is taking to help deliver progress toward long-term change that helps to improve the well-being of people, communities, and the world. It’s impressive to see that through continued innovation and determination, Amazon is tackling the challenge of sustainability through company-wide efforts that are clearly paying off, and more importantly, making a positive impact on the planet.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.
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Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”