Amazon is buying 100,000 electric-powered delivery vehicles as part of a newly announced goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 to help stop global warming.
On Thursday, the e-commerce giant unveiled and became the first company to commit to The Climate Pledge, which is calling on all businesses to achieve the net zero carbon emissions goals in two decades.
"I've been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I'm finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in today's announcement. "Large companies signing The Climate Pledge will send an important signal to the market that it's time to invest in the products and services the signatories will need to meet their commitments."
To reach the goal, Amazon is buying a massive fleet of electric delivery vehicles from startup Rivian, in which Amazon has also invested $440 million. Expect the vehicles to start delivering packages to Amazon customers in 2021.
"Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030—saving 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030," it said.
Reaching the net zero carbon emission goal means Amazon can technically still rely on fossil fuels by 2040 —as long as the company is offsetting the carbon emission in other ways. So to reach the goal, the company is also investing $100 million in a reforestation fund, which will work to plant trees to pull the carbon out of the air.
In addition, Amazon is pledging to make the company's infrastructure run on 80 percent renewable energies, such as wind and solar, by 2024 and 100 percent by 2040.
The company previously committed to a more modest goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions on 50 percent of all delivery shipments by 2030. However, a group of Amazon employees has been urging the company to do more and phase out all fossil fuel use by 2030. More than 1,500 employees are slated to stage a walkout at Amazon offices tomorrow as part of the Global Climate Strike, which starts on Friday and is calling on the public to demand an end to fossil fuel dependency.
"Today's announcement marks an important milestone in the history of the tech industry and for the global private sector, but it's not enough," the group of protesting Amazon workers said in a statement. "As long as Amazon uses its power to help oil and gas companies discover and extract more fossil fuel, donates to climate-denying politicians and think tanks, and enables the oppression of climate refugees, employees will keep raising our voices."
Amazon's cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, currently markets itself to oil and gas companies as a way to make their business more efficient and "yield more productive oil extraction." Amazon made no mention of cutting these contracts.
Workers at other companies—including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook—have also said they plan to walk out tomorrow to urge the tech industry to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. They too are demanding their employers end any contracts with oil and gas companies focused on extracting fossil fuels.
Amazon has created a website to keep the public up-to-date on how the company is reaching its sustainability goals.