Amazon’s carbon emissions rose 19% last year, even as the Covid-19 pandemic caused a sharp drop in global emissions levels.
In its annual sustainability report issued Wednesday, Amazon said its activities emitted the equivalent of 60.64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020. That’s more than in 2019, when it reported 51.17 million metric tons, an increase of 15% year over year.
Covid-19 has forced many people to stay indoors to avoid exposure to the virus. Last year, that change in activity brought with it a drop in global greenhouse gas emissions. Global carbon emissions fell about 7% year-over-year in 2020, marking the largest decline on record, the researchers found last December.
Amazon said its emissions increased in 2020 as a result of its business growth fueled by the pandemic. The company was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic, with shoppers relying on the online retailer for everything from face masks and hand sanitizers to groceries and office supplies. Amazon racked up a record $ 386 billion in revenue last year.
While absolute emissions grew, Amazon reduced its carbon intensity, which measures emissions per dollar of sales, by 16% in 2020, which is in line with internal targets, the company said.
“This year-to-year carbon intensity comparison reflects our initial progress in decarbonizing our operations as we also continue to grow as a business,” Amazon said in the report. “Almost half of our improvement in carbon intensity is the result of our investments in renewable energy and improvements in operational efficiency.”
Amazon unveiled its “Climate Pledge” in 2019. As part of the plan, Amazon has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040. Last June, Amazon said it expects to be fully powered by clean energy by 2025, five years before the goal. . initially it was declared in the Climate Commitment.
Part of Amazon’s climate goals include integrating electric vehicles into its distribution network. It ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles to Rivian that it says will be on the road by 2030.