Amazon cites electric vans, renewable energy as sustainability wins

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon had a busy 2020 in terms of pursuing global sustainability goals.

The e-tail giant has published its 2020 sustainability report, “Further and Faster, Together,” detailing a variety of efforts aimed at reducing carbon emissions and fossil fuel usage. Highlights include:

• Testing electric vans designed and built-in partnership with manufacturer Rivian on delivery routes in Los Angeles. Amazon will roll the electric vehicles out in as many as 15 additional cities by the end of 2021, and has committed to having the first 10,000 Rivian vehicles on the road delivering to customers worldwide as early as 2022, with a planned full fleet of 100,000 operational by 2030.

• Reaching 65% renewable energy across its business, up from 42% in 2019. As of June 2021, Amazon is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, has a total of 232 wind and solar projects around the world with 10 gigawatts of electricity production capacity. In addition, Amazon lowered its carbon intensity by 16% from 2019 to 2020.

• Creating the Climate Pledge Fund, a dedicated venture investment program designed to support the development of sustainable technologies and services, with initial $2 billion funding.

• Securing the naming rights to downtown Seattle’s KeyArena, which will be transformed into the Climate Pledge Arena, the first net-zero carbon certified arena in the world.

“We are relentlessly optimistic about the future, “Kara Hurst, VP and head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, said in a corporate blog post. “We know that crossing the finish line won’t be easy, and there’s still lots of exploring and inventing that needs to happen. But with passion, partnership and continued operational changes, we believe we can build a better future together.”

In addition, Amazon is adding two new leadership principles to its list of 16 leadership principles. The two new additions are:

Strive to be Earth’s best employer
Leaders work every day to create a safer, more productive, higher performing, more diverse, and more just work environment. They lead with empathy, have fun at work, and make it easy for others to have fun. Leaders ask themselves: Are my fellow employees growing? Are they empowered? Are they ready for what’s next? Leaders have a vision for and commitment to their employees’ personal success, whether that be at Amazon or elsewhere.

Success and scale bring broad responsibility
Amazon must begin each day with a determination to make better, do better, and be better for its customers, employees, partners, and the world at large. And Amazon must end every day knowing it can do even more tomorrow. Leaders create more than they consume and always leave things better than how they found them.