As part of the pledge, Amazon said it will meet the sustainability goals of the United Nations Paris Agreement 10 years early, and by 2040, the company will be carbon neutral, according to The New York Times.
"We want to use our scope and our scale to lead the way", Bezos told a news conference in the U.S. capital, aiming to shake off the firm's reputation as a laggard on environmental issues. "We want to be leaders".
Bezos also said Amazon was ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from US vehicle design and manufacturing startup Rivian Automotive LLC and would use 100% renewable energy by 2030, up from 40% today. The first Rivian vehicles will arrive in 2021.
"I think it's totally understandable people are passionate about this issue", Bezos said, adding that Amazon would review its campaign donations.
Amazon's announcement marks the most sweeping climate-related action from the company, one day before more than 1,500 Seattle-based workers planned a walkout to draw attention to their criticisms of the company's climate policies. A shareholder resolution calling for the same was rejected at Amazon's annual meeting.
Bold steps from big companies are needed in order to boost the development of new technologies and industries that will support a low carbon economy, believes Christiana Figueres, the UN's former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism. The company is also inviting other companies to sign onto the pledge. "But we know it's not enough". President Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris climate agreement in 2017. "Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we'll be in the streets to continue the fight for a livable future".
Amazon's vehicles will share "key components" with Rivian's R1T pick up and R1S SUV, most significantly the battery and skateboard platform, but the vans will have a unique body, interior and software, Mast said. Amazon has argued that an e-commerce model, with delivery vehicles making numerous stops in each neighborhood, is inherently more efficient than individual shoppers taking the odd trip to the store for items like a gallon of milk.
Over the years, the company has also developed wind and solar farms to power its data centers, experimented with more environmentally friendly packaging and offered ways for customers to pick a single day to receive multiple orders placed during the week.
Bezos' appearance comes as Amazon faces mounting pressure from employees to address its environmental impact.
"They're blazing a trail for other companies to follow suit", Bell said. "Swallow the alarm clock", she said. "Science tells us we have about a minute left to get the work done we need to get done". The 100,000 vehicles will come from a company called Rivian, in which Amazon has already invested $700 million.
Jeff Bezos on Thursday committed to an ambitious pledge to combat climate change.