Amazon announced that it has partnered with non-profit climate organization We Mean Business to work together to encourage companies to adopt more ambitious carbon emission reduction goals. One of the primary goals the organizations will promote is the achievement of net-zero carbon by 2040, in line with Amazon’s The Climate Pledge.

The Climate Pledge was co-founded by Amazon and climate change organization Global Optimism, calling on signatories to achieve net zero carbon across their businesses 10 years ahead of the Paris Accord’s 2050 target. Companies that sign onto the Climate Pledge agree to numerous steps, including measuring and reporting GHG emissions on a regular basis, implementing decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, and neutralizing any remaining emissions with additional offsets to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.

We Mean Business is a global coalition of nonprofit organizations working with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change. The coalition was founded in 2014, supported by the IKEA Foundation, and includes organizations BSR, CDP, Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

María Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business coalition said:

“The science is clear. We must hold temperature rise to 1.5°C. Thanks to the long-term vision of the IKEA Foundation, and the tireless work of the partners of the We Mean Business coalition, business is already taking bold action on climate. Through The Climate Pledge, we will pick up the pace. With a commitment to collaboration and innovation, those at the head of the pack can reach net-zero emissions by 2040. To do that, we must accelerate supply chain action and develop a robust approach to Nature-Based Solutions in addition to deep decarbonization. We are delighted to be collaborating with Amazon, who have shown bold leadership and deep commitment to tackling the climate crisis.”

According to Amazon and We Mean Business, the partnership will:

  • Encourage companies to take a leadership position and accelerate their goals to meet The Climate Pledge — the commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement.
  • Mobilize supply chains, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to take and scale-up measurable and direct action on climate change.
  • Determine ambitious and accountable means for companies to credibly integrate Nature-Based Solutions in their climate strategies.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO said:

“The size and scale of the climate crisis demands that the business community joins forces and works together to invent, fund, and implement bold decarbonization programs to help protect the planet. No one company can solve this problem on its own. We look forward to working with the We Mean Business coalition to encourage businesses around the world to accelerate their commitments to tackle climate change.”

Former UN Climate Chief and co-founder of Global Optimism, Christiana Figueres, said:

“Climate change is everybody’s business. I am delighted that deeper and broader collaboration in The Climate Pledge will result from the partnership with the We Mean Business coalition. We are not in a position to meander on the path to decarbonization – science tells us time is not on our side. If we are going to build back better, companies of all sizes need to safeguard the economy against the disruptive and devastating impacts of the climate crisis, which damages all of us. Large corporations decarbonizing their operations and supporting small and medium businesses to follow them in a whole-economy approach makes sense.”

Amazon and We Mean Business outlined the core activities of the partnership:

  • The We Mean Business coalition will encourage companies to accelerate their goals by committing to The Climate Pledge in addition to their existing We Mean Business commitments. Existing commitments include setting emission reduction targets in line with climate science through the Science Based Targets initiative and committing to 100% renewable power through RE100, among others.
  • The We Mean Business coalition will engage with companies to help accelerate supply chain action (scope 3 emissions). This work will engage large companies and their supply chains to provide frameworks, toolkits for action and reporting, and capacity building to encourage suppliers, especially SMEs, to ramp up their climate goals.
  • The We Mean Business coalition and The Climate Pledge will jointly support the Four Principles for Nature-Based Solutions published in May 2020 as a framework to help business decision makers distinguish credible carbon mitigation projects and to evaluate regenerative investments. Mitigation at pace remains a priority for all business. This work will enable companies to take a robust approach to investing in nature, alongside making significant and transformative emissions reductions in their direct operations and supply chains.
  • Climate Pledge signatories will explore investment opportunities, including through Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, in companies whose products and services will facilitate the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

In addition to these activities, the partners announced that they will support other initiatives that similarly urge companies to respond to the climate crisis by setting specific, measurable targets, with activities including:

TED Countdown: TED Countdown, a global initiative powered by TED and Future Stewards, aims to champion and accelerate solutions to address the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. Signatories to the Climate Pledge will be encouraged to participate in Countdown’s global launch event on October 10, 2020, engage in cross-sector working groups in the year leading to the Countdown Summit in October 2021, promote and host local TEDx Countdown events, and participate in the 2021 Summit.

Race to Zero: The Climate Pledge will support awareness-raising efforts to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and advocate for governments to strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. Race to Zero will support all businesses across value chains to take climate action.

The Science Based Targets initiative: All signatories to The Climate Pledge will be encouraged to set targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce emissions and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the zero-carbon economy.

Per Heggenes, CEO, the IKEA Foundation said:

“When we helped launch the We Mean Business coalition back in 2014 it was a big bet. We did it because we felt business has both the responsibility and the capability to demonstrate leadership in the race to zero. Today we’re excited that Amazon will be a part of this journey and strengthen the coalition’s collective impact. By embracing both commitments to reduce GHG emissions and pursue Nature-Based Solutions as necessary, the We Mean Business coalition can accelerate private sector change at a faster pace to help secure the future livability of our planet. We applaud Amazon for showing real leadership by committing to and applying the four principles of Nature-Based Solutions.”

Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Champion said:

“I am delighted with Amazon’s efforts to galvanize businesses to race to net-zero emissions as fast as possible. This announcement comes at a critical time when we need to strengthen capacity as economies rebuild from COVID-19. The Climate Pledge – which has been a close ally of the Race to Zero campaign – will help stimulate a healthy, green recovery that creates jobs and builds resilience.”

Chris Anderson, Head of TED said:

“The moment to act on climate change has been upon us for too long, and now is the time to unite all levels of society – business leaders, courageous political actors, scientists, and individuals. The global disruptions from COVID-19 are a prequel to what we can expect if we do not coalesce to take on the climate crisis. This partnership presents a thrilling opportunity to protect the planet, create new economic opportunities, and build back better. We are proud to be a part of this critical effort.”

Andrew Steer, President and CEO of World Resources Institute said:

“Like the COVID-19 epidemic, unchecked climate change will radically affect people’s lives, businesses, and the economy. Governments alone cannot solve these problems. The innovation, dynamism, and drive fostered by the corporate sector are critical. Companies that have demonstrated the ability to innovate and revolutionize systems – none more than Amazon – can help set the pace through ambitious climate action. We urge all companies that sign The Climate Pledge to set a science-based target in line with 1.5°C to put them on track to reach net-zero emissions. WRI welcomes The Climate Pledge’s new partnership with the We Mean Business coalition, and we look forward to working together to create a prosperous zero-carbon future.”