Thirteen more companies have joined Amazon’s Climate Pledge, committing to neutralize their carbon footprints by 2040, 10 years before the goal set by the landmark Paris climate agreement.
The new signatories include Seattle-area firms Microsoft and Brooks Running, as well as Vancouver, B.C.-based seaplane company Harbour Air. The rest of the group includes major British-based consumer goods group Unilever, the owner of beauty brands Dove and Suave.
The expanding Climate Pledge membership is the latest signal that Amazon hopes to be seen as a coalition-builder on climate change, an unusual position for a company better known for its cutthroat approach to business.
Including Amazon, 31 companies have now signed the Climate Pledge. “Collectively we are sending an important signal to the market that there is significant and rapidly growing demand for technologies that can help us build a zero-carbon economy,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement Wednesday.
It comes as no surprise that Brooks would join the Climate Pledge. The company —headquartered in Fremont’s super-green Stone34 building — has been moving toward setting goals to reduce its carbon emissions for years, senior vice president Dan Sheridan told Running Insight in May. A representative from Brooks could not be reached for comment.
Microsoft, though, has already pledged to take more aggressive action on climate change than Amazon. Early this year, Microsoft announced a goal to take its operations and supply chain not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative — meaning the company will take more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than it puts in — by 2030, 10 years ahead of Amazon’s plan.
A Microsoft spokesperson said the company was joining the Climate Pledge to push other businesses to set even more ambitious climate change goals.
“We have spent the past year making these climate commitments ourselves and thinking about the enabling conditions for other companies to make and achieve these commitments as well,” the spokesperson said in a statement. By joining coalitions like the Climate Pledge, “we can spur broader engagement on climate action as we collectively ideate, coordinate, and execute on plans that speed us toward a net zero future.”
Climate Pledge signatories vow to become carbon-neutral by 2040, by lowering their company’s carbon emissions and purchasing “quantifiable, real, permanent and socially-beneficial” carbon offsets. They also agree to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions.
Amazon’s greenhouse gas emissions climbed 15% last year, faster than the economywide average. As part of its own Climate Pledge commitments, the Seattle-based commerce giant has launched a $2 billion fund to invest in companies creating technological solutions to combat climate change and taken steps to electrify its last-mile delivery van fleet.
Amazon also made a splash locally when it purchased the right to name the old KeyArena the “Climate Pledge Arena.” The arena is billed as the first certified net-zero carbon arena, powered by 100% renewable electricity.
Some, though, have accused Amazon of corporate doubletalk on climate. Last Tuesday, the same day the new Climate Pledge Arena signage arrived in Queen Anne, Amazon touted its ties to the oil and gas industry at its annual Amazon Web Services conference, Gizmodo reported. Earlier this year, the company fired two employees who were outspokenly critical of its climate policies.
The other new signatories to Amazon’s Climate Pledge include technology company Atos and appliance brand Groupe Seb from France; developer Canary Wharf Group, media firm ITV and consultancy ERM from the United Kingdom; Coca-Cola’s Western European bottling network; German outdoor apparel retailer Vaude; and Rubicon, an Atlanta-based software company focused on waste and recycling. Finnish oil refiner Neste, which two weeks ago acquired Seattle-based cooking oil collector General Biodiesel, also signed on.
This story has been updated to include a quote from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.