Amazon Climate Report: Rising environmental emissions show need for innovation

After using 96 pages to promote their company’s many environmental efforts, Amazon officials have saved the most important information for the final section of the company’s latest sustainability report.

In its journey to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, Amazon’s total carbon footprint has grown – yes, grown up—by 18% last year, from 60.64 million metric tons to 71.54 million metric tons.

And despite all sorts of mitigation attempts — investments in renewable energy, sustainable construction, purchases of electric vehicles, improved packaging — the tech conglomerate’s emissions relative to gross merchandise sales fell just 1.9% in 2021.

Someone call Greta Thunberg.

The third annual report from Amazon, which co-founded a net zero climate pledge campaign in 2019, offered the latest reminder to take Big Tech’s environmental pledges with a rock of salt. Until green technology evolves to the point that gas-guzzling cargo flights and power-hungry factories run on renewable energy — a distant proposition with no clear target date in sight — Amazon and its industry rivals will continue to disappoint environmentalists. ardent.

Amazon’s 2021 results offer one of the clearest examples yet of reality far from promise, with no end in sight.

In a year marked by freewheeling spending by consumers, businesses and investors, Amazon’s business took off. The company’s total revenue hit $469.8 billion in 2021, up 22% from a year earlier, as e-commerce sales soared and demand for its cloud computing business exploded.

Amazon’s carbon emissions have grown at a similar rate despite the company’s many climate-focused initiatives. Its use of fossil fuels for direct operations, such as air and ground transportation, increased 27% from the previous year. Its emissions related to construction and equipment have increased by 46%. The company’s operations, including the production of Amazon-branded products, produced 14% more carbon emissions.

Amazon is certainly not alone in struggling to reduce its carbon footprint – notably, Microsoft’s emissions jumped 21.5% in 2020-21 – but it has placed environmental altruism at the heart of the company’s brand. company. The e-commerce giant launched The Climate Pledge three years ago, eventually attracting more than 300 companies willing to commit to net zero emissions by 2040.

In reality, however, Big Tech’s environmental goals remain largely at the mercy of innovation.

Amazon can spend nearly 100 pages touting its South African solar farms and fleets of bicycle cargo carriers, but those carbon savings are paltry. The real progress will come when the two-day shipping and data center operations approach carbon-neutral status, developments that still require many iterations of technological advancements.

Amazon officials have acknowledged this in their sustainability report, if only in vague terms.

“The challenges we collectively face on the path to net zero carbon are significant,” the company officials wrote. “Many new technologies show promise in their ability to reduce carbon emissions, but may still require significant development. We must both invent new solutions and evolve and reduce the costs of known solutions. »

Amazon certainly deserves some credit for its environmental efforts. The company doesn’t report its annual emissions-related expenses, but it’s fair to assume the number runs into the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. Amazon has ordered more than 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, helping to support an important industry. It also earmarked $2 billion for venture capital investments in companies developing sustainable technologies and services.

And yet, these investments offer minimal evidence to date that Amazon will reverse its carbon trajectory anytime in the near future. Unless it plans to spend ungodly sums on future carbon credits — a prospect shareholders will surely avoid — Amazon has an interest in seeing major breakthroughs in modern science over the next 20 years.

Otherwise, company officials might need to bury their emissions data even deeper.

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Jacob Charpentier

NEW

Finally cash out. Uber shares soared 18% by midday Tuesday after the ride-hailing company beat analysts’ quarterly revenue estimates and posted its first-ever quarter with positive free cash flow, CNBC reported. Uber generated $8.07 billion in revenue, easily beating Wall Street’s forecast of $7.39 billion, thanks to better-than-expected ride-sharing demand. The company still reported net losses totaling $2.6 billion, including $1.7 billion attributed to realized losses and paper investments.

A bit of hope. pinterest shares rebounded 13% by midday on Tuesday, as investors expressed optimism on the digital scrapbooking site despite a disappointing second quarter, MarketWatch reported. The surge came as an activist shareholder Elliott Management gave a vote of confidence to the new CEO of Pinterest Invoice readywho succeeded the co-founder Ben Silberman end of June. Pinterest also reported virtually no change in the number of active users from the previous quarter, ending a streak of user losses, although earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Gateway without money. The Pirates stole nearly $200 million from a crypto bridge protocol used to transfer funds between blockchains, the latest heist to shake up the industry, CoinDesk reported. The researchers concluded that a security flaw in the Nomad protocol allowed users to create fake transactions, giving them the ability to withdraw money intended for another recipient. The loss is thought to be the third-largest for a crypto protocol this year, behind a $600 million attack on the Ronin Bridge and a $300 million theft on the Wormhole Bridge.

An unwelcome month of August. OracleThe plan to cut thousands of jobs began in earnest on Monday, with the tech giant lay off an indefinite number of employees in the United States, reported The Information. Oracle officials discussed cuts totaling $1 billion, though they did not release detailed plans or layoff targets. The information reported that Oracle’s marketing and customer experience teams were primarily affected by the layoffs.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Know your market. American consumers love their Costco and Sam’s Club – one of the many facts fast delivery companies have overlooked in their ill-fated, pandemic-fueled race to expand. Four industry experts interviewed by Insider said Getir, gopuff, and several other struggling fast delivery companies have been unable to replicate the industry’s success in Europe due to a fundamental misunderstanding by US customers. While venture capitalists poured tens of billions of dollars into fast delivery companies last year, the biggest players in the industry have all cut staff, abandoned markets or closed their doors.

From article:

Several ultra-fast players had learned the trade outside the United States. Gorillas, for example, honed its model on the streets of Berlin, while the founders of Buyk ran a super-fast delivery service called Samokat in Russia.

But analysts told Insider that may have led to blind spots when it comes to the American consumer.

Shoppers in Europe tend to buy fresh produce every few days. In the United States, people with larger homes often buy goods in quantities that can last a week or more, Hawkins said. And persistent inflation has made buying in bulk even more attractive.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

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Taiwan’s business community has carefully navigated the US-Beijing relationship. The fallout from Pelosi’s visit could force him to finally take sidesby Grady McGregor

The co-founder of a $4 billion venture capital firm says the bear market has Silicon Valley somewhere in the 5 stages of grief. “We are probably somewhere between anger and negotiation”by Will Daniel

The 15 greatest downrounds of 2022by Kevin Kelleher

These are the Roaring Twenties. Invest till it hurtsby John Dilullo

Why India alone could shape the future of e-commerce this summerby Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever

BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Like taking candy from a boss. There’s a bunch of candy scammers on the loose, and the man behind the Dum Dums digital empire is on the hunt for these suckers. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that scammers buy signature lollipops in bulk from discount retailers like sam’s club and resell them on Amazon at a higher price. The price gap brings a good profit to resellers, but it is a costly problem for the producer of Dum Dums Spangler Candy. It’s the latest example of corporate charlatans taking advantage of incomplete oversight by Amazon, which struggles to keep up with peddlers employing undercutting tactics (the practice violates Amazon policy). Mitchell Owens, who runs Spangler Candy’s e-commerce operations, said the racketeering had cost the 115-year-old family business millions of dollars in lost revenue and legal fees.

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