In 2021, Amazon’s carbon footprint increased by 18%.

As the firm dealt with increasing e-commerce demand brought on by the epidemic, Amazon’s carbon emissions rose 18% last year.

In 2021, Amazon released 71.54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, up 18% from 2020 and nearly 40% from 2019, according to its annual sustainability report (Opens in a new window) (PDF), which was published on Monday.

However, the company is eager to point out that their carbon intensity, which measures carbon dioxide per dollar of sales, decreased for the third year in a row in 2021, falling by 1.9 percent (as opposed to a 16 percent decrease in 2020).

The COVID-19 pandemic was a huge plus for online shopping: Nearly half of all US retail sales as of April 2020 were made online, a trend that persisted through the holiday season. Amazon expanded its company at “an unparalleled speed” to keep up with consumer demand, adding more than 750,000 full- and part-time workers globally and doubling its fulfillment network.

According to the report, “these developments meant we had to build new facilitiesfor both our consumer and cloud businessesand expand our transportation network.” It specifically mentioned green technologies like electric vehicles, alternative fuel sources, wind and solar power, and alternative fuel alternatives.

The $2 billion venture investment program The Climate Pledge Fund, which Amazon co-founded in 2020, aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. (10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement). The organization supported 13 businesses in various industry areas, such as transportation, aviation, freight, packaging, agriculture, and technology, just last year.


Amazon said that while it has been successful in reducing emissions from some activities, it is still early in the transformation process for others. “While some investments and activities immediately reduce carbon emissions, others won’t show returns for several years. There are numerous challenges on the way to net-zero carbon, but we enjoy a challenge.”

Amazon came under fire earlier this year when it was revealed by The Center for Investigative Reporting found that (Opens in a new window) that, unlike big-box retailers like Target and Walmart, it only tracks the carbon emissions of branded goods (which account for about 1% of its online sales). It does not count the emissions of goods that it purchases from suppliers and then sells directly to customers.

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