How Has Amazon Hit 100% Renewables Target 7 Years Early?

Wind Wall, a wind farm located in California’s Tehachapi Mountains, generates carbon-free energy for AWS.
Amazon’s 2023 Sustainability Report celebrates ESG achievements including matching 100% electricity with renewable energy – seven years ahead of schedule

Amazon is not just a global company, but one of the most widespread, influential organisations in the world, with operations in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America.

With approximately 1.5 million full- and part-time employees worldwide, it has the power to enact real change when it comes to sustainability. 

Global leader in renewable energy

The company’s sixth annual sustainability report explores Amazon’s progress towards its goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

The highlight? Amazon has reached its goal to match 100% of the electricity consumed by its global operations with renewable energy by 2030 – seven years ahead of schedule.

“Reaching our renewable energy goal is an incredible achievement and we’re proud of the work we’ve done to get here, seven years early. We also know that this is just a moment in time and our work to decarbonise our operations will not always be the same each year - we’ll continue to make progress, while also constantly evolving on our path to 2040,” said Amazon Chief Sustainability Officer Kara Hurst. 

Kara Hurst, Chief Sustainability Officer, Amazon

“Our teams will remain ambitious and continue to do what is right for our business, our customers, and the planet. That’s why we’ll continue investing in solar and wind projects, while also supporting other forms of carbon-free energy, like nuclear, battery storage and emerging technologies that can help power our operations for decades to come.”

Amazon’s net zero carbon journey

Amazon has been recognised (for the fourth year in a row) as the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world.

Since 2019, it has enabled renewable energy projects in 27 countries, supporting policy development for the construction of wind and solar projects. 

In the UK, Amazon has 26 onsite solar projects and five wind farms and, looking globally, Amazon’s renewable energy portfolio will help avoid an estimated 27.8 million tons of carbon per year once all projects are operational.

"In 2019, we set a goal to match 100% of the electricity we consumed across Amazon’s global operations – including our data centers, corporate buildings, grocery stores and fulfillment centers – with renewable energy by 2030," says Andy Jassy, President and CEO at Amazon.

"I'm proud to share that we’ve already met that goal, seven years ahead of schedule, in 2023. To get there, we’ve been the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world for four years running, according to BloombergNEF, and we’ve invested billions of dollars in more than 500 solar and wind projects worldwide.

Andy Jassy, President and CEO at Amazon

"We know every year might look different on our path to net-zero carbon by 2040, but we’ll continue to invest in wind and solar while also supporting other forms of carbon-free energy."

Amazon’s sixth annual sustainability report 

The 2023 Amazon Sustainability Report is nearly 100 pages covering the company’s sustainability efforts in the 2023 calendar year. The report covers business units and subsidiaries including AWS, Devices, Fresh, Whole Foods Market, Amazon Private Brands, Twitch, MGM Studios and Ring, and is split into three categories:

  • Environment – this section explores scaling, partnerships and inventing new solutions to minimise emissions, waste and water use, increasing use of carbon-free energy and pioneering solutions to improve packaging, products and materials
  • Value Chain – this section centres around human rights, managing a responsible supply chain, creating sustainable products and using more sustainable materials, advancing supplier diversity and having a positive impact on the communities where Amazon operates
  • People – this focuses on Amazon’s people, the company’s ambition to be ‘Earth’s best employer’ and the safest place to work in its industries, including employee experiences, health and safety and inclusivity.

“At Amazon, we are always looking for ways to move faster, deliver the best possible customer experience and innovate,” says Kara.

“We regularly hear from our customers, corporate partners and employees how much they care about sustainability and social responsibility. For a company as diverse as Amazon, embedding these values into all of our businesses, products and services - as well as how we deliver for our customers - has been an incredible undertaking, with much of it taking place behind the scenes.

“I’m proud of the work that’s under way and truly excited for what’s to come.”

Environment

In the environment section, Amazon has achieved a 3% reduction in absolute carbon emissions and a 13% decrease in carbon intensity.

Amazon’s carbon footprint

Packaging plays a large part of Amazon’s environmental sustainability initiatives and the company has been working to reduce waste and boost sustainable delivery

In 2023, Amazon saw a 9% decrease in average single-use plastic packaging weight per shipment across its global operations network and 12% of packages globally shipped without additional Amazon packaging as part of the Ships in Product Packaging programme.

Amazon delivery

In terms of delivery, 680 million packages were delivered using more than 24,000 electric delivery vehicles globally. This includes more than 11,800 EVs in the US, more than 7,200 in India and more than 3,000 in Europe. Sustainable fuel is not just a focus on land – Amazon transported 10% of its ocean cargo in maritime ships powered by low‑emission biofuels in 2023.

Value Chain

Amazon is working to bring sustainability to every part of its value chain and undertook 3,000 social and environmental performance assessments of suppliers of Amazon-branded products. 

All cotton for Amazon private brands apparel is sourced from recycled materials, from farms certified as producing organic cotton, or through the Better Cotton Initiative.

In comparison to 2022, the company saw a 42% increase (1.16 billion) in items sold that are recognised by certifications in the Climate Pledge Friendly programme.

It also spent US$4.3bn with more than 500 certified US Tier 1 diverse suppliers.

People

Since its launch in 2019, more than 358,000 US employees have participated in upskilling programmes as part of the Upskilling Pledge.

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The company is investing in the wellbeing of its employees by spending US$1.3bn on pay increases for customer fulfilment and transportation employees in the US, which brings the average pay for those roles to over US$20.50 per hour.

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