Amazon’s “shipment zero”

Amazon announced its “Shipment Zero” plan in 2019. What’s that? It’s a “vision” to make 50% of all Amazon’s product shipments net zero carbon by 2030.

Sounds great right? Well, you know we’re a skeptical bunch.

Problem a) That little word “net” means Amazon are leaving open the option to not actually change their fossil-fuelled supply chain at all, just pay some money to people in poor countries to do things differently. This practice is known as “offsetting”, and according to the biggest study of the biggest offsetting scheme ever done, the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM… it doesn’t work. Simply put, most of these projects would go ahead anyway, even if no company in the rich world had bought the associated “carbon credit”. So it’s meaningless to claim the buying of that credit actually reduced carbon emissions in any way.

Problem b) Only 50% of product shipments? Come on Amazon, go big, commit to clean up ALL your business not half.

Problem c) Amazon has not provided any public plan on how it will clean up its MARITIME shipping emissions – i.e. the shipping that actually happens on ships. It’s done some good work buying electric vans for the last mile delivery, but the giant, fume-belching monstrosities that emit as much greenhouse gases as Germany? No plan. Not a peep.

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