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Amazon’s Climate Pledge Speeds Up Paris Agreement Net-Zero Deadline

Amazon has announced its commitment to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement—10 years earlier than the accord’s goal date.

On Thursday the online retailer and Global Optimism, a group focused on social and environmental stewardship, announced the formation of The Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040—a full decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.

Companies that sign The Climate Pledge agree to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis, implement the decarbonization measures laid out in the Paris Agreement (like improvements in efficiency and renewable energy, along with material reductions), and neutralize remaining emissions with quantifiable and permanent carbon offsets.

Through a combination of efforts in all of these areas, signatories pledge to bring their annual carbon emissions down to net zero.

“By joining The Climate Pledge and agreeing to decarbonize on a faster time horizon, signatories will play a critical role in stimulating investment in the development of low carbon products and services that will be required to help companies meet the pledge,” Amazon said in a statement.

Having played a critical role in crafting the newly announced pledge, Amazon is the first and only signatory thus far.

Global Optimism, which worked alongside Amazon to craft the stipulations of the pledge, is led by Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010-2016. Figueres led efforts to bring together 195 sovereign nations, as well as corporations, financial institutions, NGOs and activists to form the Paris Agreement in 2016.

The central tenet of The Paris Agreements is limiting the impact of global warming by ensuring the increase remains well below two degrees Celsius.

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The announcement of The Climate Pledge comes at an optimal time for Amazon, which has faced increased scrutiny over the past year for its environmental impact.

Along with the carbon footprint that comes with the shipping of billions of packages annually (and the considerable waste that results from hard-to-recycle bubble mailers), Amazon was also caught by French documentarians trashing millions of dollars worth of unsold, yet usable goods in the country’s landfills this year.

In August, the company rolled out its Fulfillment by Amazon Donation (FBAD) program, which allows participating sellers to funnel their excess products into charitable outlets (like Good360 in the U.S. and U.K., Newlife, Barnardo’s and Salvation Army in the U.K.) rather than have them cast into landfills or otherwise destroyed.