Nov. 8, 2021

How will Amazon get to net zero emissions?


Charley Daitch from Amazon Web Services (AWS) joins us to talk about the work he’s doing in renewable energy and how Amazon will get to net zero emissions by 2040. 

Amazon is one of the world’s largest and best known brands. Their operations are both everywhere and nowhere at the same time. You see the website, the streaming service, the Kindles and the packages but what you don’t see are the logistics warehouses, their share of global shipping and their hosting of the web on AWS.

It is a sprawling business with as many employees as the city of Adelaide. And for a business that big it begs the question: how on earth are they going to decarbonise?

We thought it was a fascinating question to ponder in the week of COP26 as many countries were committing to net zero targets. 

Charley Daitch leads AWS’s Energy team and we spoke to him about a number of topics:

  • How Amazon thinks about the climate challenge as a business
  • Their shift to being the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world
  • Their involvement in the Climate Pledge: an initiative that has galvanised over 200 corporates (responsible for almost 6% of global emissions) to reach Net Zero by 2040 
  • Their investment in Rivian - an extremely awesome electric vehicle business. We want one (or at least we want one of their staff on the podcast, call us!)   
  • Their efforts across aviation, transport, cardboard boxes, data centres and especially, Charley’s area of expertise, energy 

We think there are really positive signs of leadership but challenges ahead as there will be for all countries in reaching net zero. While Amazon’s carbon emission intensity (i.e. emissions per dollar of revenue) was down 16% last year its total emissions were still up 19% due to increased sales volume. The struggle of a booming business! 

You can read all about their stats and strategies here

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Some more reading if you’re interested in the topic

  • The Amazon Climate Fund’s recent investment in ZeroAvia, a zero emission aviation business 

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Music by the late, great Nick Weaver

Production by our hero Mark Spencer from Here.Media

Socials by the legend Rebecca Sather Jenkins

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About the podcast

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity. The consequences are so dire that the media usually focuses on the negative and many of us have no idea where to begin.

To flip the script, clean energy experts Alex McIntosh and Nick Zeltzer host A Positive Climate, an uplifting podcast focused on ways to tackle climate change.

If you want to be inspired by interviews with some of Australia’s most innovative people, if you want to learn a lot (and laugh a little) and if you want a way to leave your climate related existential crises at bay, this podcast is for you.

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