Amazon Goes Electric to Cut Emissions -- WSJ

Date : 09/20/2019 @ 8:02AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Amazon com (AMZN)
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Amazon Goes Electric to Cut Emissions -- WSJ

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By Patrick Thomas 

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (September 20, 2019).

Amazon.com Inc. plans to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles as it seeks to reduce its carbon emissions in the face of criticism of its environmental impact.

The order was part of a broader company pledge made by Chief Executive Jeff Bezos while speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. He said the company plans to be carbon-neutral by 2040 and plans to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years earlier than the 2050 target.

The e-commerce giant is ordering the electric vehicles from the suburban Detroit-based startup Rivian Automotive. Amazon said the vehicles will start delivering packages to customers in 2021. The company plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022, and all 100,000 by 2030.

Amazon led a $700 million financing round in the electric-vehicle startup earlier this year. Rivian recently landed a $350 million investment from Cox Automotive, bringing its valuation to about $3.5 billion, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Amazon has built up its delivery fleet in recent years and has become a force in the shipping industry, although it still works with companies such as United Parcel Service Inc. FedEx Corp. recently ended its two major shipping contracts with Amazon.

Mr. Bezos said Thursday that the commitments are part of a new climate pledge that promises Amazon will report greenhouse-gas emissions regularly and implement strategies to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. A company being carbon-neutral means having no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by either offsetting emissions through actions such as planting trees or by eliminating emissions altogether.

Amazon said it expects 80% of its energy use to come from renewable sources by 2024, up from 40% now. It is working toward its facilities being 100%-powered using renewable energy by 2030, helped in part by the development of large-scale wind and solar projects. "We're done being in the middle of the herd on this issue. We've decided to use our size and scale to make a difference," Mr. Bezos said in a written statement, while calling on other large companies to sign the pledge.

Amazon's climate pledge comes one day before more than 1,550 Amazon employees world-wide threatened to walk out of work if the company didn't do more to fight climate change. The employees had pressed the company to have zero carbon emissions by 2030, stop providing its cloud-computing services to fossil-fuel companies and to end donations to lobbyists and politicians who deny the existence of climate change.

Earlier this year, Amazon shareholders rejected an investor-led proposal that called for the company to disclose how its business could be disrupted by climate change and how it could reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Amazon had recommended investors vote against the measure, in part, because it said it was already making certain disclosures on the topic.

The group of Amazon employees said on Twitter that the company's Thursday announcement was a win, but said they still plan to walk on Friday. "We're thrilled at what workers have achieved in under a year. But we know it's not enough. The Paris Agreement, by itself, won't get us to a livable world. Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we'll be in the streets," the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said in a tweet.

President Trump in 2017 withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, which aimed to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by the year 2025. The 2015 agreement tried to keep the global average temperature from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius. A range of U.S. companies have pledged to continue working toward those goals even with the government's withdrawal.

Amazon also pledged $100 million to help restore and protect forests and wetlands world-wide in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.

Write to Patrick Thomas at Patrick.Thomas@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 20, 2019 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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