Amazon says carbon emissions rose 18% in 2021 as the spread of the Covid virus increased

Amazon trucks line up at a distribution center to pick up packages for delivery on Amazon Prime Day in Orlando, Florida.

Paul Hennessy | Norfoto | Getty Images

Amazon’s carbon emissions jumped 18% last year, as the company recognized a pandemic-driven boom in e-commerce and grew its business to meet that additional demand.

In its annual sustainability report released Monday, Amazon said its activities emit the equivalent of 71.54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021. That’s an 18% increase over 2020, and a nearly 40% increase over 2019, the year it began Amazon disclosed its data for the first time. Carbon traces.

Amazon cut its carbon intensity, which measures emissions per dollar of sales, by 1.9% in 2021, compared to a 16% decline in 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a massive influx of orders at Amazon and other e-commerce companies. Flooding with stimulus check money, many consumers have chosen to do their shopping online to avoid risking exposure to the virus.

This wave of demand has prompted Amazon to expand its logistics network of delivery vans, planes and trucks. It also quickly opened new repositories to handle the flow of orders. During the year to 2021, the company said, Amazon doubled the size of the fulfillment network it had built over the past 25 years.

The company has also added more data centers to support Amazon Web Services, as the pandemic has accelerated businesses’ shift to the cloud.

Amazon unveiled its Climate Pledge in 2019. As part of the plan, the e-commerce giant has committed to being carbon-neutral by 2040, and has purchased 100,000 electric delivery trucks from Rivian Automotive that it expects to be on the road in the US by 2030 It has also launched a $2 billion venture capital fund to invest in new climate technologies, in part so that they can be used to advance its sustainability goals.

However, the Amazon’s climate record and the ways in which it measures its environmental record have come under scrutiny. A report released earlier this year by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the company, unlike major retailers like Target and Walmart, only calculates carbon emissions produced from using Amazon-branded merchandise, not those it buys from manufacturers. And sell directly to the customer.

Amazon representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment about inconsistencies in the reports highlighted in the Revell investigation.

Watch: Watch our first look at Amazon and Rivian Electric Delivery Trucks

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