Amazon AWS: Amazon's emissions increase

Aug 11, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Despite Amazon's lofty promises of securing carbon neutral status before 2040, the latest statistics from its sustainability report, reveal that the giant's carbon emissions actually increased by 18%, from 60.64 million metric tons to 71.54 million metric tons, the equivalent of 19 coal-fired power plants. This is also up ​​roughly 40% since the company first disclosed its statistics, in 2019. This also doesn't account the additional emissions it hasn't disclosed. For example, Reveal published an investigation into the company’s carbon reporting, arguing that Amazon wasn't being fully transparent about its emissions, only reported "a fraction" of the emissions caused by the products sold on its website.

In the report, Amazon, vice president of sustainability Kara Hurst, said: "We are proud of the progress we've made, but we recognize we have more to do." Adding: "As we work to decarbonize our company, Amazon is growing rapidly." This figure was reached despite Amazon's numerous attempts to decrease its emissions, such as renewable energy investment and sustainable construction. Its continuous expansion is the main culprit for this surge in emissions, and its 2021 revenue was up 37% as it scaled its operations, with its direct emissions increasing by 26%, and its Scope 3 emissions increasing by 21%. 

The report said: "The challenges we collectively face on the path to net-zero carbon are considerable. Many new technologies are showing promise in their ability to reduce carbon emissions, but may still require significant development." It made sure to highlight that its carbon intensity "decreased by 1.9 percent," and said that "over time, continued decreases in carbon intensity can lead to lower absolute emissions."

It added that while it has achieved "success cutting emissions from some operations," it is still "early in the process of transforming others." Further to this, it outlined that although some actions and investments have "immediate carbon savings," others will take years to demonstrate results." Adding: "The path to net-zero carbon has many obstacles, but we thrive on big challenges."

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