Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is eager to shed its reputation as an environmentally unfriendly company.
The tech giant has been heavily criticized in the past for contributing to the planet's destruction. On Monday, it responded by unveiling plans to make half of all its shipments carbon neutral by 2030. The company said it will meet its goal by delivering more packages in electric vans, using renewable energy and encouraging its suppliers to recycle packaging.
As part of its "Shipment Zero” initiative, Amazon also pledged to publish its carbon footprint for the first time later this year. In a statement, the company said it spent the past two years developing an advanced scientific model to map its carbon footprint and find ways to reduce it.
Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon, described the tech giant’s target to deliver 50% of shipments with net zero carbon as “ambitious” but worth pursuing.
“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,” he said.
Amazon has come under increasing pressure to clean up its act. Late last year, a group of shareholders and employees filed a resolution demanding that the company start sharing its plans to go green. Amazon has also been repeatedly criticized by Greenpeace for not meeting its own renewable energy goals, operating "dirty" data centers and lacking transparency.
In 2017, the organization gave the company an "F" grade for its environmental impact, describing the tech giant as “one of the least transparent companies in the world in terms of its environmental performance.” In a blog post, Greenpeace said Amazon talks about renewable energy deals, but refuses to provide details about its sourcing of recycled materials or restrictions on hazardous chemicals.
The environmental organization continued its attack in 2019. In a report, dated Feb. 13, Greenpeace claimed that Amazon’s data centers in Virginia are powered by only 12% renewable energy, compared with Facebook Inc.’s (FB) 37% and Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) 34%.
Amazon denied the accusations in a statement to Windpower Engineering.
“Greenpeace has chosen to report inaccurate data about the energy consumption and renewable mix of AWS’s infrastructure and did not perform proper due-diligence by fact checking with AWS before publishing” a spokesperson at the company said. “Greenpeace’s estimates overstate both AWS’s current and projected energy usage. Additionally, the report does not properly highlight that AWS has been a major investor in solar projects across the Commonwealth of Virginia and played a leading role in making it easier for us and other companies to bring more renewable energy to Virginia through our Market-Based Rate with Dominion Virginia Power."
When unveiling "Shipment Zero," Amazon pointed out that it currently has a network of solar and wind farms and runs several environmentally friendly programs, including Frustration-Free Packaging and Ship in Own Container. The company added that it employs more than 200 scientists, engineers and product designers to help save the planet.