Pandemic Shopping Fuels Jump in Amazon’s Climate Pollution in 2021

An Amazon Prime delivery truck
An Amazon Prime delivery truck in Poland on Nov. 4, 2021. Beata Zawrzel / NurPhoto
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Despite being the world’s biggest corporate buyer of renewable power, Amazon’s climate pollution grew 18% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the retail giant’s latest sustainability report.

Amazon generated about as much climate pollution as 180 gas-fired power plants last year, and it’s the second consecutive year Amazon’s climate pollution grew double digits. In 2019, former CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company planned to achieve net-zero climate pollution by 2040, but has yet to make substantial progress as online shopping (and profits) surged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon’s climate pollution is up about 40% since the company first disclosed their emissions using 2019 data, though the carbon intensity of each sale on Amazon fell 1.9% as the company improved efficiency and Amazon purchased 85% of its energy needs from renewable sources in 2021 — up from 65%.

For a deeper dive: The Verge, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal

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