How Amazon Can Deliver On Its Promise To Reduce Emissions

Amazon announced earlier this year that it plans to reach net zero carbon emissions for 50 percent of all shipments by 2030, a project referred to as “Shipment Zero.” The supply chain powerhouse, which ships billions of items with fossil fuel-powered vehicles, also established that it would publicly summarize its carbon footprint this year.

Wendy Tate, a professor in the online Master of Science in Supply Chain Management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, and Lisa Ellram, a professor of Supply Chain Management at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University, discuss how, in an April 2019 International Business Times piece, Amazon’s efforts to reduce emissions set a positive example for other companies. Given its enormous carbon footprint, if Amazon can attain a reduction of this magnitude, it will influence other organizations to make the same effort.

This achievement will not materialize without a great deal of planning and action, Tate and Ellram say. This is especially true given Amazon’s reliance on both air and ground transport, as well as third-party shipping organizations.

Tate, and Ellram, suggest that Amazon could successfully reduce carbon emissions by:

  • Working closely with suppliers, carriers, employees and customers to come up with innovative shipping methods, and encouraging bulk shipping;
  • Educating customers on the consequences of shipping methods;
  • Charging additional fees for air shipping; and
  • Further pursuing an environmentally friendly work culture though the education of employees, establishment of ride-sharing programs and the replacment of travel with video conferencing.

If the necessary steps are taken to reduce emissions, Amazon’s momentum could result in a considerable win for the environment.