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Amazon plans to cut carbon emissions from package delivery

Amazon has launched an ambitious green delivery initiative that aims to slash the emissions stemming from delivering millions of packages each year.

The  goal of the  “Shipment Zero” initiative is to make half of its shipments net zero (emissions) by 2030. The company said it intends to meet that benchmark by ramping up the use of aircraft biofuels, renewable energy and reusable packaging.

“It won’t be easy to achieve this goal, but it’s worth being focused and stubborn on this vision and we’re committed to seeing it through,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, in a blog post today.

The e-commerce giant also plans to publish its overall carbon footprint later in 2019.

Critics charge that Amazon’s business model has increased greenhouse gas emissions, as skyrocketing consumer demand for the products it sells puts more delivery trucks on the road. Buying online also uses more packaging compared to brick and mortar purchases.

Generally speaking, the  e-commerce channel tends to produce more emissions per item than in retail store commerce. In addition to the packaging, customers tend to buy fewer items per online transaction, and multi-item orders often result in multiple deliveries.

Amazon has also come under fire for increasing emissions in other business divisions. Just last week, the nonprofit Greenpeace published a report about Amazon growing  Amazon Web Services operations in Virginia, where less than five percent of energy generated by the state’s largest utility comes from renewable energy sources, the nonprofit contends.

Amazon has committed to moving to 100 percent renewable energy to run its data centers, but the report suggests the company has reneged on that pledge.

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Linda Baker, Staff Writer

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves staff reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes early-stage VC, freight-tech, mobility and West Coast emissions regulations.

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