Amazon – making hay by doing “a bit less evil”

Amazon has had quite a lot of bad press lately – mostly related to paying its staff badly and working them really hard, selling fake brands, wasting packaging and chasing handouts from municipalities to attracts it to build offices in a particular location. But others in the Climate Change brigade have other reasons for hating it – it ships goods around the world, using burning up massive amounts of carbon in the process, in order to bring Prime members its finest selection of goods.

This week Amazon has topped off a number of prior announcements to address this, with a further one, that is really data driven – it calls it Amazon Day – and it involves Prime members getting all their packages on one day of the week, saving fuel and packaging in the process, because it also promises less packaging will be used.

It will not be lost on Prime members that they pay for free-of-charge delivery and already get the benefit of Prime Video, and a few other goodies, on the back of it. It’s pure irony that people who pay extra so they get zero delivery charges, are going to hand to Amazon a massive cut in its delivery bills – because that’s the side-effect of signing up to Amazon Day.

Amazon Day is now supposed to be seen as a single initiative which is part of its overall project called Shipment Zero – a long term plan to reduce its carbon emissions from the process of delivery by 100%. First step is a 50% cut by 2030 and this was only detailed in February

The Amazon Day deal so far is only in the US, but it will likely spread, other initiatives include Frustration Free Packaging (fully recyclable), Ship in Own Container, and the company’s use of  solar and wind farms, with solar sitting on the roof of most of its fulfillment centers. It has also made investments in what it calls the Closed Loop Fund, again all to do with ensuring it uses the best materials in packaging for recycling.

The company says it has 200 scientists, engineers, and product designers dedicated exclusively to saving the planet through carbon savings and says it will adopt electric vehicles, use aviation bio fuels, and that it can now clearly see the route to hitting net zero carbon on deliveries.

There are two things that could potentially catch fire here. If companies want to use Amazon to sell stuff, they will be forced to go down the same route as Amazon and use renewable energy, and secondly other rival logistic operations will not want to be seen in a bad light when they are compared with Amazon, so they will adopt similar or even more aggressive carbon reduction strategies. Renewable energy operations selling to such companies should immediately highlight the Amazon strategy and suggest that other major etailers begin to do the same.

Maria Renz, VP, Delivery Experience at Amazon said in the release “We’ve been testing this program with a group of Prime members and Amazon Day has already reduced packaging by tens of thousands of boxes – a number that will only continue to grow now that the program is available to Prime members nationwide.”