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For the first time, Amazon has seen its carbon emissions decrease

An Amazon.com contractor cleans a truck in Richmond, California, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon reduced its carbon emissions for the first time since it began disclosing the figure four years ago.

In its annual sustainability report released on Tuesday, the e-tailer said its operations emitted the equivalent of 71.27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide last year. This is 0.4% less than in 2021, when the carbon footprint was reported to be 71.54 million metric tons. Emissions are still up about 40% from 2019, when Amazon first began disclosing its carbon footprint.

The company also reported that its carbon intensity, which measures emissions per dollar of sales, fell 7% between 2021 and 2022, and fell 24% from 2019.

“We achieved this in large part by improving the efficiency of our business and continuing to invest in renewable energy,” Amazon said in the report.

According to the company, Scope 2 emissions, which take into account emissions from electricity use, fell by 29% between 2021 and 2022.

Amazon has spent millions on wind and solar projects to power some of its warehouses, data centers and offices, and recently became the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. It also promises that by 2040, its entire business will be zero-carbon.

Amazon said its Tier 3 emissions, which include indirect sources such as building construction and third-party transportation, fell 0.7% in 2022 after three consecutive years of growth.

The company has been working to electrify its delivery fleet, including buying 100,000 Riviansky electric delivery vans, which it says will be on the road by 2030. The company currently has more than 9,000 electric vehicles in its global fleet and 2,600 Rivian vans in North America, according to the report.

However, Amazon’s climate record and the way it measures its own environmental record are under scrutiny. Employees and shareholder groups have expressed concern that Amazon is not living up to its climate commitments, while environmental justice groups have criticized the company’s rapid warehouse expansion, which they say causes disproportionate environmental damage to minority communities where its warehouses are often concentrated.

Amazon recently eliminated one of its climate goals is called Shipment Zero, in which the company has pledged to make half of all its shipments carbon neutral by 2030. Amazon said it “no longer makes sense” to have a separate goal that applies to one area of ​​its business, and that it will instead focus on the Climate Pledge.

On Tuesday, Amazon said it would also update its supply chain standards to require suppliers to regularly share carbon emissions data and set targets for reducing emissions. The change will take effect next year.

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