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Amazon has announced it will launch a $2 billion internal venture capital fund focused on technology investments that can reduce the company’s carbon footprint. The fund will support Amazon’s goal of reaching “net zero” carbon emissions by 2040.
In a press release about the new initiative CEO Jeff Bezos said, “Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations.”
Amazon was founded in 1994 by Bezos as an online book store but has quickly grown into an over $1 trillion end-to-end e-commerce business with operations around the world. Today, it is almost impossible to avoid doing business with the behemoth, which sells its own consumer tech products, runs its own media streaming platforms, and operates its own delivery service.
The company has come under fire for a range of issues, including its out-sized effect on the environment. The company has received flak over its one-day shipping policy, which critics say is a large source of carbon dioxide production. Additionally, the company has been called out for environmentally unfriendly packaging, including a line of plastic packaging that can’t be recycled in some countries.
However, Amazon is trying to turn this image around with a host of green initiatives like its $2 billion VC fund. While Bezos is a proven leader, he can’t do it alone and will lean on some of the company’s key employees to execute his goal.
Kara Hurst leads the global development and evolution of sustainability and social responsibility at Amazon and will be a central figure in the company’s plans. Hurts and her teams focus on problems like e-commerce packaging standards, renewable energy and energy efficiency, eWaste, product take-back, hazardous waste, and social and environmental policy setting. The company has already made some headway on packaging standards, as it introduced a program in 2018 that encourages vendors with monetary incentives to optimize their e-commerce packaging to reduce waste.
Amazon’s SVP of Operations Dave Clark has already published blog posts outlining the company’s carbon-zero goal and his team will play a key role in its realization. One of Clark’s direct reports, VP of Amazon Transportation Services David Bozeman, will likely play a key role in the implementation of the 100,000 custom electric vans that the company ordered last September from Rivian in an effort to cut its output of greenhouse gasses. This initiative could be one of the most important that Amazon undertakes, as 27% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, according to the European Enviorment Agency.
Another name to know when considering Amazon’s green efforts is Gur Kimchi, Amazon’s VP in charge of its nascent electric delivery drone service, called Prime Air. These drones, which are capable of carrying 5 pounds of packages up to 15 miles, can drastically cut emissions as they can fly over obstacles like traffic and avoid winding roads to take the most efficient route.
This world-class team of leaders is on the right track to improving Amazon’s carbon footprint While there is still a long way to go, their efforts have enabled Amazon to seen as a leader in the fight against climate change.
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