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Amazon carbon emissions decreased for the first time in 2022
19 July 2023

Amazon’s global carbon emissions decreased for the first time ever in 2022 while the business continued to grow, according to its annual sustainability report.

The firm said its total emissions dropped by 0.4% – from 71.54 to 71.27 million metric tons over the year. This compared with an 18% increase in its emissions in 2021 and a 15.7% increase in 2020.

It comes as the company managed to decouple emissions growth from business growth for the first time as its net sales grew by 9% year-on-year.

Amazon’s carbon intensity – the amount emitted per kilowatt hour of electricity used – also decreased by 7% in 2022, compared with 1.9% in 2021.

In the independently verified report, Amazon said several projects have contributed to the milestone, which include efforts to decarbonise its energy use.

It posted a 29% drop in Scope 2 emissions (those from purchased electricity), as well as an 11% reduction in Scope 1 (those from its operations).

The report said that Amazon is now using renewables to meet 90% of its electricity needs, up from 85% in 2021.

Efforts to transition its fleet of road vehicles also contributed to its decarbonisation with more than 9,000 electric vehicles in its global delivery fleet in 2022.

It has also invested in energy efficiency measures for its buildings, including fitting energy-efficient lighting and cooling systems.

Amazon made some progress on packaging – a major sustainability issue for the company. It posted an 11.6% decrease in single-use plastics while 11% of all packages shipped globally are now without the added Amazon delivery packaging.

The company acknowledged that reaching net zero across its global supply change is “challenging”.

There was a reduction in its Scope 3 emissions (those from across the value chain which represent the vast majority) of 0.7% although it was lower than its cuts in other areas.

Amazon said that as of 2024, it will update its supply chain standards to require suppliers to share their carbon emissions data and set goals.

Kara Hurst, Amazon’s vice president and head of worldwide sustainability, said: “In 2022, we took important steps forward across our social, community and environmental work, while also continuing to expand our sustainability vision for the future of our business.

“At the centre of it all is our customer obsession. We know that sustainability is important to our customers, and we’re continuously investing, inventing and improving to make every interaction more sustainable than the last. We do this while working to minimise our impact on the planet and the communities we operate in.”

She added: “From the moment a customer clicks ‘buy now’ to the moment a package arrives on their doorstep, we have teams of scientists and engineers working to make that process more sustainable.

“Across our production studios, we’re reducing the use of fossil fuels, deploying battery-electric generators, using solar-powered cast trailers, and operating electric vehicles on sets.

“At Amazon Web Services (AWS), we’re helping customers reduce their environmental impact, offering advanced engineering, data centres and cloud computing that reduces energy and workload carbon emissions.”

It comes as Amazon saw its revenues surge to a new record high of £24 billion in the UK, an increase of £1 billion year-on-year.

The business has invested more in infrastructure as it continued its rapid expansion across the nation.

More than £1.6 billion was spent on investments including fitting warehouses with the latest robotics technology, and opening a new development centre in Swansea in Wales.

The firm revealed it paid £781 million in direct taxes in the UK last year, a jump of more than £130 million from the prior year.

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