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10/18/2021

eBay sets ambitious carbon targets

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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eBay is pledging to drastically reduce the environmental impact of its operations.

eBay Inc. is committing to almost eliminate its scope 1 and 2 emissions in nine years.

The e-commerce giant is setting a greenhouse gas (GHG) target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The company is pledging to reduce its own scope 1 and scope 2 emissions 90% by 2030 from a 2019 base year, in line with limiting global temperature warming to 1.5 degrees, aligned with the Paris Agreement.

The Science Based Target Initative (SBTi) mobilizes companies to set science-based targets and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. Other notable retail participants include Amazon and The Home Depot.

eBay is also committing to reduce scope 3 emissions from downstream transportation and distribution by 20% in the same timeframe. These emissions represent the transportation of the goods eBay ships using its platform. The company says it will work with its logistics providers to offer low-carbon alternatives.

Scope 1 is emissions generated from eBay facilities, scope 2 is emissions from energy purchased to power eBay facilities, and Scope 3 is emissions generated from the entire supply chain.

Separate from its science-based target, eBay is also committing to be carbon neutral for its offices and data centers (scope 1 and 2) by the end of 2021. With this commitment, eBay says it will continue to prioritize reducing its footprint and will offset any remaining emissions to be carbon neutral from this year on. 

To reduce its environmental impact, eBay has taken a number of steps including reduction of overall energy use, moving electricity supply to renewable energy sources, reduction of water usage, waste diversion and more. In 2020, eBay sourced 74% of its electricity supply from renewable energy, up from 66% in 2019. eBay's San Jose headquarters is 100% powered by renewable energy, with a target to cover 100% of the company’s operations by 2025.

From eBay's science-based target baseline year of 2019 to 2020, the e-tailer has already reduced scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 19%, primarily due to increased investment in renewables.

Other recent eBay environmental activities include investing, alongside McDonald's and solar company Lightsource bp, to purchase power from what will be Louisiana's largest solar project. Once completed in mid-2023, the project is expected to generate over 600,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean energy annually, which is estimated to abate more than 450,000 metric tons of GHG emissions annually.

"At eBay, we believe we have an urgent and important responsibility to mitigate the impact of climate change," said Renee Morin, chief sustainability officer at eBay. "We are committed to ambitious action and the approval of our science-based target along with our accelerated carbon neutrality goal are critical to the work we are doing to have real, measurable impact."

"We congratulate eBay on setting science-based targets consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement," said Alberto Carrillo Pineda, managing director, science-based targets at CDP, one of the SBTi partners. "By setting ambitious science-based targets grounded in climate science, eBay is taking action to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change."

More details on eBay's environmental best practices are available here. eBay Inc. operates in more than 190 markets around the world.