Amazon’s Bare Knuckle 50% CO2 Emission Cut In 10 Years?

Mr. Dave Clark, SVP of Worldwide Operations, Amazon, recently made an announcement that suggests
the latest developments in electric car technology, biofuel, renewable packaging and alternative energy together have reached a tipping point to turn Amazon’s dream into a reality: to deliver goods to customers with a bare-knuckled epitome of footlightedness – zero carbon emission – the biggest stumbling block Amazon is currently facing. According to a blog Mr. Clark posted recently, as consumption goes on a constant rise, maintaining logistics sustainability, be it logistics operation or cost efficiency, is the major consideration, to put it lightly.

L’Oreal announcement to jump on the Green New Deal (GND) bandwagon and cut as much greenhouse gas emissions out of the value chain as possible saw it joining force with a parade of other earth conscious mega corporations that have divested from fossil-fuel. As air transport is discovered to be the largest contributor to the greenhouse gas effect above all modes of transportation, followed by road, rail and sea transport , given L’Oreal’s considerably small direct sales volume, minimizing air freight makes sense. In Amazon’s case, on the other hand, air freight is fundamental to maintaining e-Commerce mobility and thus fulfillment superiority. Besides, its role as the biggest marketplace platform renders it impossible to embrace a similar approach of predominately selecting environmentally friendly logistics service providers.

Amazon has so far invested heavily in boosting its logistics capacity involving the purchase and lease of over 50 airplanes. Vertical integration has allowed it to play the role of both the owner and the logistics planner and thus make it possible to optimize logistics operations and fuel-energy consumption. Yet, it still has to rely on other logistics operators to achieve its targets. For instance, an Amazon logistics operator opted to reduce carbon emissions through shorter delivery routes while resorting to an increase in the use of alternative energy.

According to Beth Davis-Sramek, a Professor of Supply Chain Management, Harbert College of Business, Auburn University, the extent of an organization’s information disclosure on sustainability measurements reflects its intent to put preach to practice, or hypocrisy altogether. It be details in the fine print of objectives or action taken that constitutes green progress, all hold the key evaluating success and leading by example.

The professor proceeds to explain that in the case of Amazon, sustainability data disclosure remains superficial in juxtaposition to 85% of other green companies on the Fortune 500 list (the world’s 500 largest companies as measured mainly by sales volume or revenue).  This is because Amazon has never before revealed any sustainability information nor participated in the Governance and Accountability Institute’s carbon emissions reduction project which conducts a survey on various corporations’ carbon emissions.

Amazon, meanwhile, promises to release more detailed information this year along with data on core components for the measurement which is the target of its planned carbon emissions reduction by 50%.

It is clear that businesses nowadays, regardless of size, are compelled to account for the environment in their pursuit of prosperity, i.e., sustainability being a corporate value and corporate vision sees its growth as contingent to communal sustainability, as that would at least set the corporate image that sends the right message to avoid unnecessary confusion of to where things are heading amid the backdrop of slow green tech development and the currently overbearing price tag for going green. On the other hand, the answer to Paris 2015 has been sitting right in front of us for nearly two decades. If only half of comfortable new buyers of cars in the same price range as, e.g., a Jazz, a Leaf, a Prius or a Bluetec Hybrid, had answered the call to action, imagine where the green industry would be now. In reality, a mere 1% put money where the mouth is and show up at the dealer with intent.


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