Amazon sustainability initiatives in India

Rising temperatures, melting glaciers, prolonged periods of floods and drought are just a few manifestations of the adverse effects of climate change. With the climate crisis getting worse, “Sustainability” as the chief ingredient in government schemes and projects and also in the corporate sector is providing a ray of hope.


Multi- national companies having a wider consumer base can surely be held responsible and accountable for their unsustainable practices and are capable to act on the climate crisis owing to the global impact that they can create. Keeping this view in mind, many leading private players have engaged themselves in profitable green businesses that can play a crucial role in mitigating the adverse effects on the environment. Amazon is one such global business that acknowledges the fact that investment in sustainability is a win for all. 
Amazon and Global Optimism founded the Climate Pledge in 2019 with the goal of reducing its carbon footprint and achievenet-zero carbon emissions by 2040. With a consumer base of more than 130 crore people, India is the third most polluted country in the world, it generates approximately 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually out of which 43% is generated from single-use plastics and packaging. All this provides Amazon with a strong reason to engage with India in its sincere efforts to help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. With a family of 200+ signatories worldwide, the climate pledge has gained impetus in India with signatories such as Infosys, UPL Limited, Greenko Group and GODI. In order to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help preserve the natural world, low carbon solutions are required in all sectors of the global economy, thus Amazon India is working in the diverse areas such as renewable energy particularly solar energy, water conservation, forest management and restoration, electric mobility, transportation and logistics, reducing the use of plastic and raising awareness through community efforts. 


e-mobility: In partnership with Mahindra Electrics, Amazon India has announced to roll out 10,000 electric vehicles (EV) both 3 wheeler and 4 wheeler vehicles by 2025 in India. Delivery service partners of Amazon India have already deployed Mahindra Treo Zor Vehicles in cities such as Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, etc. this will give a push to the government’s effort in expanding the EV industry and Make in India initiative for a sustainable Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

Energy Sector: Working vigorously since 2017, the Amazon India team has installed solar arrays on buildings in cities such as Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata etc, which supply energy for Amazon’s offices, fulfillment centers and Amazon Web Services data centers. They are also employing alternate modes of delivery such as compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. The company aims to power its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 thus reducing its dependence on conventional energy sources in addition to complementing India’s effort in clean energy. 

Their advanced energy management systems have sensors that ensure that lights and climate controls are used only when the buildings are occupied. This has reduced energy usage by 30%.

Water Conservation: With each passing year the water crisis has aggravated not only in India but also globally. In close association with the government authorities, Amazon has been working to raise awareness about the water crisis and encouraging individuals, communities and businesses to adopt water conservation practices and also to restore water bodies. Their fulfillment centers have rainwater collection tanks, recharge wells, waterless urinals, water restrictors for taps, in house sewage treatment plants, etc, which can reduce and reuse water. In collaboration with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and United Way Bengaluru (non- profit organization), Amazon is working to open a sewage treatment plant at Mahadevpura Lake in Bengaluru.

Eliminating single-use plastic:  E- commerce and online marketplaces have been severely criticized for their unsustainable environmental practices leading to the generation of tonnes of non-biodegradable waste with their unnecessary packaging.  Amazon has set the goal to deliver 50% of its shipments with net-zero carbon by 2030 (shipment zero). A first of its kind initiative, Amazon India has replaced single-use plastics, bubble wraps with reusable and recyclable paper wraps and biodegradable tapes to deliver orders.  Multiple orders from one customer are packed in the same box to reduce the number of delivery runs thus saving fuel and transportation charges- numerous such efforts are taken by the company to optimize the supply chain. They are delivering orders in their original packaging with the help of protective containers that are reusable, thus eliminating the need for secondary packaging and minimizing waste, giving a boost to the company’s sustainability quotient. It has successfully delivered packaging free shipping to 100+ cities. 

Community development: Amazon cares has helped transform the lives of women in rural Maharashtra. Amazon’s Fulfillment Center operations were introduced in 2014 in Mumbai, and now there are 5 fully functional centers that are working extensively to empower and educate communities, especially women, in health, hygiene and entrepreneurship. They provide various skill training such as stitching, catering, hair care, skincare, computers and many others skills which can serve as a source of livelihoods thus making them self dependant and financially secure.

Through innovative ideas and collaborations, Amazon is playing a leadership role in inspiring many next-generation businesses and communities across the globe to be environmentally sustainable, responsible and energy-efficient in their actions. All the above efforts are sure to provide an impetus to the company’s efforts in becoming net-zero carbon by 2040, as committed by it in the Climate Pledge in September 2019. 

Written By:

Aakansha Raj

Aakansha holds a master's degree in biotechnology and is currently working as a research scholar. An avid reader, Aakansha finds keen interest in reading and writing on areas related to clean energy and zero carbon emissions.

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