Amazon Buys 100,000 Electric Delivery Vans With Climate Pledge

JASON REDMOND  AFP  Getty Images Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

JASON REDMOND AFP Getty Images Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

"We want to use our scale and our scope to lead the way", Bezos said at a press conference.

At Amazon's annual shareholder meeting in May, thousands of employees submitted a proposal asking Bezos to develop a comprehensive climate change plan and reduce its carbon footprint, though it was ultimately rejected.

"We're done being in the middle of the herd on this issue-we've made a decision to use our size and scale to make a difference", Bezos said in a press release.

Bezos announced the Climate Pledge, setting a goal to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early.

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The company, which ships more than a 10 billion items a year on fuel-guzzling planes and trucks, said it has ordered 100,000 electric vans that will start delivering packages to shoppers' doorsteps in 2021. The 100,000 vehicles will come from a company called Rivian, in which Amazon has already invested $700 million.

Amazon's announcement comes a day before the company is expected to lose hundreds of members of its workforce when employees walk out as part of the youth-driven Global Climate Strike. Some employees at Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) are also planning to join the Global Climate Strike on Friday.

"People are passionate about this issue", he said.

Bezos was joined by Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate chief and founder of the climate activist group Global Optimism. The company is also inviting other companies to sign onto the pledge.

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A proposal that the company report how it plans to deal with climate change received only 29.8% of votes at the shareholder meeting, despite signatures in support from almost 7,700 employees. Workers complained that the company known for its obsession with data and measurable goals would not share data on its own carbon footprint, calling on Amazon to get to zero emissions by 2030.

This will involve investments in wind and solar energy projects and initiatives to curb carbon emissions at its facilities including the second headquarters, HQ2, just outside the USA capital.

Amazon will also invest $100 million to restore forests and wetlands, said Bezos, adding the company will take a "careful look" at political campaign contributions it makes that could be going to politicians that deny climate science.

This means keeping warehouses and products closer to the consumer and as a result "you're actually transporting the products in a very efficient way, a very short distance", which becomes less carbon-intensive, he said.

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