Amazon produced more carbon emissions last year than Switzerland

The Eco Experts

Amazon has revealed it emitted 51.17 million metric tonnes of CO2e (equivalent metric tons of CO2) last year – more than the likes of Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Denmark.

This figure, measured over 2019 and released on June 23rd, was a 15% increase on the previous year.

Amazon simultaneously revealed it had improved its net sales figures by 22%.

The American tech giant’s three largest international markets – Germany, the UK, and Japan – have all reduced their CO2e emissions – but not Amazon.

No fewer than nine European countries have lower emissions totals than Amazon, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

On the same day Amazon released its carbon emissions tally, the company announced it was setting up the $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, a venture capital scheme to invest in sustainable energy.

This followed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s announcement in February that he planned to set up the Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion initiative to help fight climate change.

Amazon responds

An Amazon spokesperson told The Eco Experts: “We are committed to becoming net carbon neutral by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement, and we’re working hard to achieve that.”

The Paris Agreement is a United Nations climate deal joined by more than 190 countries, which does not apply to companies.

an Amazon box altered to resemble a sad face

The spokesperson continued: “While Amazon’s net sales increased 22% in 2019 (excluding changes in foreign exchange rates), our total carbon footprint increased 15% during the same period.

“While still early days, our 2019 carbon intensity metric is 122.8 grams of CO2e per dollar of gross merchandise sales, down 5% year over year from 128.9 grams of CO2e per dollar in 2018 and this will continue to improve as the actions we’ve taken begin to have more impact.

“Like many companies in high growth mode, we look at the absolute tons of carbon in our footprint, but also at how we are improving our carbon intensity.

“We’re continuing to take significant action across Amazon to become more sustainable in all of our operations and have just launched The Climate Pledge Fund with an initial $2 billion in funding to help support visionary companies whose product and service solutions will facilitate the transition to a zero carbon economy.”

“2020 will be even worse”

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) tweeted in response to the news, calling the company’s CO2e increase “a big step in the wrong direction.”

The group continued: “Amazon greenwashes its emissions growth by saying the year-over-year increase is less than its sales growth.

“But dollars are irrelevant to the health and sustainability of the planet.”

AECJ said “the data is clear: Amazon is polluting the planet more than ever before while sales & the stock price skyrocket.”

The group then added, ominously: “We know 2020 will be even worse.”

AECJ was established last year, after Amazon threatened to fire staff for speaking out against climate change.

Written by:
josh jackman
Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.
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