Amazon's Eco Friendly Pledge. A quick break down for customers.
Amazon has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement. They’re also pledging to be run by 100% renewable energy by 2025, are purchasing 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, investing $100,000,000 in reforestation solutions, and investing $2 billion to support the development of technologies and services that reduce carbon emissions and help preserve the natural world. But how is this going to look for their customers?
As part of their “Climate Change Pledge” Amazon is now highlighting brands and products who they deem to be top of class in sustainability. Products are qualified through Amazon’s partnered certification organizations. In other words, if one of their independent certification partners (Click here for the current list) has certified a certain product, they will earn the “Climate Pledge Friendly” Badge. The badge is a really cool feature that shows on a product's listing, and allows customers to click through and further investigate the eco friendly claim.
In addition to the independent certifications, Amazon is including one of their own: Compact by Design. Compact by Design aims to optimize the use of packaging material by volume and is based on a volume to weight formula per product category.
The issue with “Compact By Design” is that a product can carry the Climate Pledge badge and still stand in sharp contrast to eco friendly ideals. For instance, plastic wrapped paper towels, and one time use disposable wipes are now eligible for an eco friendly approved badge on Amazon. It is a little counter productive in our opinion to promote a generally wasteful product as "eco friendly" because it’s packaging size has been reduced and is now considered to be economically packaged by Amazon. Furthermore, they do not even take the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging into consideration.
Unfortunately, at this stage of the Climate Pledge, Amazon has a very limited number of product categories that are even eligible for their “Compact by Design” certification. They’re also missing some other key certifications such as the BPI compostable material certification (the only North American authority on compostability standards). We do, however, need to understand that they are early in their process, and nothing starts perfectly. We anticipate and hope to see Amazon introducing more relevant certification partners, and other eco friendly considerations such as the use of plastic, and one time use products.
Aside from that point, we applaud Amazon’s initiative. We must start somewhere, even if it is not perfect. As consumers we need to continue to vote with our wallets, and demand that eco friendly standards be stringently upheld.