The billionaire announced plans Thursday to buy 100,000 electric vans from Rivian, custom-built for Amazon Prime deliveries, as part of an Amazon environmental initiative created to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years early.
In recent months, some Amazon workers have pushed the company to take action on climate change, in employee activism that has been atypical for the online retailer.
The company's first vehicles, the R1T and R1S, will see first deliveries occur by the end of 2020. It said in a statement that it would keep pushing the issue as long as Amazon continues working with oil and gas companies and donating to politicians who deny climate change.
On Thursday, the e-commerce giant unveiled and became the first company to commit to The Climate Pledge, which is calling on all businesses to achieve the net zero carbon emissions goals in two decades.
The world's richest man said part of that pledge is an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from a start-up they have invested in. "I've been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I'm finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge".
"Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030-saving 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030", it said.
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Amazon on Thursday also announced a US$100 million donation to the Nature Conservancy to fund the Right Now Climate Fund, which engages in reforestation projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Bezos's pledge came a day before more than 1,500 Amazon employees are scheduled to walk out of their offices to draw attention to the company's inaction on climate change.
Bezos said that Amazon's move to speedier shipping, including one-day delivery on many items, would be a net positive in environment terms even though it was "counterintuitive".
"We're done being in the middle of the herd on this issue - we've made a decision to use our size and scale to make a difference", Bezos said. Amazon is now pledging to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030.
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"The global strike tomorrow is totally understandable", Bezos said. "To ask oil and energy companies to do this transition with bad tools is not a good idea and we won't do that", he said.