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  • What CEO Andy Jassy Means for Amazon Sustainability's Future

    This is an Opinion Article. Just the other day, founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, announced that in the spring quarter, he plans to step down from CEO to become executive chairman. He announced that Andy Jassy, the current CEO of AWS will take his place. Amazon has assured investors and employees that most aspects of the company will remain the same. However, the world of environmental sustainability is always changing, so, what's the future of Amazon sustainability going to look like with Andy Jassy? With Bezos in control of the day-to-day operations of Amazon, he created and approved bold environmental sustainability measures. Here are some of the highlights: 1. Timeline: With Bezos in charge, Amazon has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2040. Now, this plan is not as strong as those by other tech companies, like Apple, Google and Microsoft, which have the goals of reaching carbon-neutrality by 2030, 10 years earlier than Amazon. Going by the fact that Amazon netted over $386 billion (revenue) in 2020, experts agree that Amazon has the resources to not only meet the industry-par for sustainability, but exceed it. So, this brings up an important question: when Andy Jassy becomes CEO, will he create a faster timeline for make more for bolder environmental action? Answer: Quite Possibly. Andy Jassy stated that after he found out he would become the CEO of Amazon, he spent hours thinking of how Amazon can "reinvent their sustainability practices." So, really, it's an unknown what Andy Jassy will do as far as timeline. 2. Climate Pledge Friendly Badge: With Bezos in charge, Amazon released a system where users can search for and purchase environmentally sustainable products. With this feature, when a product is eco-friendly, a badge is shown below the product in search (shown in the image above). This badge drives attention to products in search, increasing the CTR, and acting as an incentive for companies to lower the environmental impact of their products. This feature is proven to work, but not many companies know about it. So, how will Jassy increase the awareness of the Climate Pledge Friendly Badge on a B-to-B level? Answer: With a growing budget for Amazon sustainability, experts expect that Andy Jassy will direct for a portion of it to be used for B-to-B ads through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. This is expected to skyrocket awareness about the Climate Pledge badge, pressuring companies to switch to more-sustainable practices. 3. Packaging: As the world's leading ecommerce platform, Amazon uses A LOT of packaging. In a statement released by Amazon about packaging, they say: Our customers want right-sized, recyclable packaging that minimizes waste and ensures damage-free delivery. We work to reinvent and simplify our sustainable packaging options using a science-based approach that combines lab testing, machine learning, materials science, and manufacturing partnerships to scale sustainable change across the packaging supply chain. As a company that ships billions of products every year, even the slightest improvement in packaging sustainability is crucial. They have come up with frustration free packaging solutions, which use replace some environmentally-harmful materials with recycled fibers. Here's a video about the Amazon Packaging (source: Amazon): Even though Amazon Packaging is transitioning to be more eco-friendly, Amazon's. in this sector goals need to be more ambitious. They need to take bolder action when it comes to their packaging. In order to stop planetary harm, they need to have almost zero environmentally-harmful materials in their packaging, and do change within the next few years. The current Amazon packaging plan does nearly as bold as what needs to be. So, will Andy Jassy make the Amazon Packaging Sustainability Plan even bolder? Answer: Experts say, probably not. Bezos, Jassy, and many of those who work on Amazon's sustainability team can agree that Amazon's Packaging Plan is already bold in itself. By implementing "Frustration Free Packaging" at Amazon, chemical pollution rates will already go way down. However, some environmentalists argue that since Amazon ships so many packages, they should be held at the highest standard. But in reality, those same experts predict that Andy Jassy will not make any changes to the Amazon Packaging Sustainability Plan. 4. Shipping: For shipping, Amazon's goals are in no ways near ambitious enough. Their plan consists of 50% of their shipping to be carbon-neutral by 2030. According to an estimate from 350 Seattle, just in one year (2017), Amazon's shipping released 19 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, greatly contributing to global warming. Cutting that 19 million in half in just 10 years is bold, but with this plan, by 2030, Amazon Shipping will still emit around 10 million metric tons of CO2. WOAH, THAT'S SO MUCH CARBON! So, Will Andy Jassy speed up this CO2 Reduction Process in Shipping? Answer: The Amazon Shipping Sustainability Plan is already bold, but the increase in cheap, electric transportation technology is going to make it easier for companies to go green in the shipping and transportation sectors. Andy Jassy is expected to make full use of Amazon's electric vehicle resources, which will most-likely speed up the Amazon Shipping Sustainability timeline. Here's a video about Amazon's use of electric transportation: 5. How much will Andy Jassy actually value the planet? Andy Jassy has always believed in the need for innovation. As the CEO of AWS, he took bold action, switching the power-source of Amazon data-centers from greenhouse gases to renewables. It's expected that he will value the need to take bold environmental action just as much as Bezos, paving the way for Amazon's sustainable future, and acting as an example to be followed by other companies. Article by Ryan Bookman, Co-Founder of Elk Shelf L.L.C. Elk Shelf | Your Leading Source for Environmental Sustainability Information.

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