On August 25, Amazon announced that it would adopt green hydrogen – starting in 2025 – to decarbonize its operations. The contract will provide power for 30,000 forklifts or 800 heavy-duty trucks. Even though ocean shipping was mentioned in the announcement, Amazon did not give a firm commitment to when it would green its ocean cargo shipping operations.
Dawny’all Heydari, Lead for the Ship It Zero Campaign, with Pacific Environment said, “While we applaud Amazon’s step to clean up its supply chain by adopting green hydrogen, we need the retail giant to rapidly scale the fuel at a level necessary to support a 100% zero emission supply chain by 2030.
“This month, Amazon admitted that its carbon emissions jumped by a staggering 18% in 2021 and, overall, its emissions are up 40% since 2019. Vulnerable communities around the world are facing deadly heat waves and wildfires, asthma and cancer because of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. There’s no reason why Amazon can’t clean up its emissions now.”
The market for transoceanic cargo shipping has grown over the past several decades, and the pandemic accelerated the trend toward shipping goods bought online. Today, over 50,000 merchant ships carry around 80% of global trade, and ocean-going cargo volumes are projected to grow by as much as 130% by 2050.
According to Amazon’s sustainability report, the e-commerce giant’s use of fossil fuels from operations jumped by 27% in 2021, a stunning number for a company that has long professed leadership in addressing the climate crisis. Amazon and big retailers cannot continue to ship their goods on fossil fueled ships with the assumption that they will meet their sustainability goals.
Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director and Ship It Zero Campaign Lead for Stand.earth stated, “Amazon has enormous market power to create transformative change. While we are very encouraged to see Amazon leveraging its clout to support zero emissions fuels and technologies, it must accelerate its efforts to immediately reduce and eliminate its ocean shipping pollution problem.
“Green hydrogen appears to be one of the best solutions to decarbonize sectors like ocean shipping, but other technologies such as battery power storage may be better suited for long-haul trucking and other land transportation.
“We urge Amazon to focus its green hydrogen efforts on ocean shipping, commit to 100% zero emissions maritime transportation by 2030, and invest in other zero emissions land transportation technologies to reach its decarbonization goals.”
Photo credit: iStock/Lawrence Glass