Amazon pledged a large new climate investment this week on the heels of reporting that its businesses had emitted 15% more carbon dioxide in 2019 than they had in 2018.
According to the company’s numbers, Amazon’s total carbon footprint for 2019 was 51.17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMT CO2e) compared to 44.4 MMT CO2e in 2018, the Associated Press reported. The 2018 numbers were released last fall after employees pressured the company to step up its response to climate change.
At the time, the 2018 footprint was enough to rival those of major fossil fuel companies. “It’s a big number,” Bruno Sarda, president of CDP North America, told Bloomberg last September. He said that CDP had been requesting environmental disclosures from Amazon for years. “They’re just not big fans of transparency, or using frameworks that others have developed to measure their performance,” he added.
The Seattle-based online shopping company reported that Scope 1 emissions for 2019 were 5.76 MMT CO2e. Scope 2 emissions from purchased electricity were 5.50 MMT CO2e.
Indirect Scope 3 emissions represented most of last year’s footprint: 39.91 MMT CO2e. Of those, 15.41 MMT CO2e were from corporate purchases and Amazon-branded product emissions such as operating expenses, and business travel plus branded product manufacturing, use phase, and end of life. Emissions from sources including third-party transportation, packaging, and grid line losses accounted for 12.44 MMT CO2e.
Additional Scope 3 emissions from capital goods — building construction, servers and other hardware, equipment, and vehicles — were responsible for 8.01 MMT CO2e. Lifecycle emissions from customer trips to Amazon’s physical stores accounted for 4.05 MMT CO2e.
“Amazon said that while its carbon footprint grew, the amount of carbon it emitted for every dollar spent on the site fell 5% between 2018 and 2019,” the Associated Press reported.
This week, Amazon announced a new $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund to help it and other companies become net zero carbon by 2040. Amazon also said it expects to reach 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of the company’s original commitment as part of the Climate Pledge. To date, the tech company has 91 renewable energy projects globally.