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03/17/2022

Amazon makes sustainability history with new Amazon Fresh store

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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amazon fresh net zero carbon
Amazon Fresh is going net zero carbon.

Amazon is eyeing net zero carbon certification for its latest high-tech Amazon Fresh grocery store.

The new location is the fourth Amazon Fresh store in the Seattle area and the 26th in the U.S. More than a dozen upgrades and features have been incorporated throughout the design and development of the 35,000-sq.-ft. space to help make the store the world’s first grocery store to pursue the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Zero Carbon certification. 

[Read more: First Look: Amazon debuts new high-tech grocery store]

Updates to the store include transitioning to a CO2-based refrigeration systemwhich Amazon says reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 38 metric tons per year compared to a conventional system. The store also uses steel byproducts in the concrete floor to reduce the embodied carbon associated with the manufacturing and installation of the flooring by nearly 40%.

Other sustainable features of the new store include:

  • Fully electric kitchen space.
  • 100% renewable electricity sourced from Amazon’s sustainable energy projects.
  • Free electric vehicle charging for customers.
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the store.
  • Additional doors on refrigeration cases to help reduce energy consumption.
  • Low-flow fixtures in restrooms and fixtures.
  • CO2-based refrigeration.
  • Responsibly sourced interior wood signage.
  • Skylights bring in additional natural light.

Some upgrades will be used at all of the retailer’s Amazon Fresh grocery stores moving forward, such as added doors on refrigeration cases and lower-carbon concrete flooring. 

Moving toward sustainability
Amazon considers obtaining net zero carbon certification for the store as a milestone in meeting its commitments to the Climate Pledge. In 2019, Amazon and climate change network Global Optimism co-founded the Climate Pledge, an initiative to reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early and be net-zero carbon by 2040. Amazon also intends to use 100% renewable energy across its enterprise by 2025.

As a result of its sustainable upgrades, Amazon expects the store will save nearly 185 tons of CO2e each year, equivalent to driving around the Earth 18 times in a standard passenger vehicle. In addition, customers will be able to choose from a variety of “Climate Pledge Friendly” products that Amazon has certified as eco-friendly, ranging from grocery items to household cleaning and beauty products.

“We are constantly thinking about what we can do to make the customer shopping experience easier, more seamless, and more sustainable,” said Stephenie Landry, vice president of Amazon Grocery. “We know many customers are prioritizing sustainability in what products they buy and where they choose to shop. With our newest Amazon Fresh store, we are taking the next step on our path to becoming a net-zero carbon business by 2040, and we welcome customers to experience this firsthand while shopping with us in this store.” 

In order to deliver on our commitments to The Climate Pledge, we must work together across all areas of our business to develop solutions to decarbonize,” said Kara Hurst, VP of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon“It’s meaningful progress to open our latest Amazon Fresh Store seeking net-zero carbon certification, and I’m proud of the innovation and technology that the store offers to customers and employees, and for the environment.”

ILFI-certified buildings must be energy efficient, have all electricity provided by renewable energy, demonstrate a reduction in the embodied carbon of building materials, and prove that all carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing and construction process have been neutralized.

To receive certification, ILFI will review 12 consecutive months of performance data to ensure the new store meets this standard. Amazon will be able to measure the real-time impact of these upgrades via a system built by Amazon Web Services’ Professional Services Sustainability Practice.