Amazon's Carbon Footprint

amazon green footprint Amazon's Carbon FootprintThere's no question: Amazon is a huge company. But, is this company doing enough when it comes to environmental footprints? Is it possible that buying from Amazon is actually worse for the Earth than driving to the nearest mom and pop? Let's take a look at Amazons environmental policies.

Amazon's Carbon Footprint: Packaging

When it comes to packaging, Amazon doesn't get it right – not in reality, anyway. Let's use a recent Lego set that my son got for his birthday as a good example. The box of Legos measured 11.1 x 10.3 x 2.5 inches. You could have fit six of these items inside the box it was packaged in – a monstrous box!

Interesting fact: Amazons packaging policy states that the company relies on ‘special software' that calculates the precise package size for a specific item.

Note to Amazon: you might want to rework those calculations!

Their boxes are made with an average of 43% recycled materials, and the ‘air pillows' that keep items safe from damage during shipping are 100% recyclable. That's, at least, a step in the right direction. But, there's more going on at Amazon that makes us question the company's environmental impact.

Amazon's Carbon Footprint: Building Design

In the US, Amazon headquarters is located in Seattle, WA. It is comprised of multiple buildings, six of which were awarded the ‘LEED Gold' certification in regards to their design and its impact on the environment.

Some of the environmentally-friendly features of this campus include interiors made with salvaged/locally sourced materials; amount of green space; composting; energy-efficient lighting; and recycling. It doesn't stop in North America either.

Amazons Dutch office in Germany has also been Gold-certified. Their distribution centers feature many environmentally-friendly features as well, with their centers in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Indiana receiving LEED certification. The distribution center located in Beijing actually relies heavily on natural lighting, reducing their energy consumption substantially!

Amazon's Carbon Footprint: The Truth

Regardless of these seemingly green steps, what is Amazons actual carbon footprint?

Well, we'd love to know. Unfortunately, Amazon has been declining the offer to disclose these details to the ‘Carbon Disclosure Project' since 2006.

So Amazon doesn't want to respond to environmental groups regarding its carbon footprint and environmental impact, but there is one group they simply cannot ignore: shareholders.

Amazon's Carbon Footprint: Shareholders Demand Figures

In June of 2011, a shareholder from Calvert Asset Management demanded details of the company's environmental impact. This was quickly vetoed by other shareholders after some corporate convincing.

So what can be done? It seems Amazon does not want the world to know anything about their actual carbon footprint or environmental friendliness. Is there good reason? If so, why can't they clue the world in?

Until then, the only thing to do is ask yourself what's more important: saving money on your purchase from a company that might be contributing to climate change, or actually (gasp!) heading out to the store?

How do you feel about this issue?

Photo From Tim Green Via Flickr Creative Commons

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