The impact of Amazon’s supply chain sustainability push

Updated: 
July 27, 2023
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And how Sustain.Life can help you track, document, and report greenhouse gas emissions to Amazon.

In mid-July 2023, Amazon published its 2022 sustainability report. It’s significant for many reasons, but for Amazon’s suppliers and the companies selling through the e-commerce giant, there’s one major thing to pay attention to: Suppliers and sellers have been put on notice—the number one online retailer will soon require companies to share their emissions data. 

Starting in 2024, Amazon will update its supply chain standards “to require regular reporting and emissions goal setting.”  

Why does it matter?

Amazon is following the strengthening wave of other big retailers, like WalmartApple, and even software companies like SAP, that already require a portion of their suppliers to share emissions. You can cite pressures from consumers or each company’s own net-zero goals. Still, it’s also likely that these major companies are trying to stay ahead of the impending SEC rule and other global regulations.   

Amazon’s supply chain sustainability goals

Regarding its publicly stated goals, Amazon has two main objectives: one, it wants to use its scale to “benefit businesses that are committed to decarbonizing” and two, provide “products and tools to both track emissions and help decrease them.” 

Kara Hurst, vice president and head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, said in a recent blog, “Reaching net-zero carbon by 2040 requires Amazon to reduce its carbon footprint across our entire business, including our vast global supply chain.” Amazon will “require suppliers to share their carbon emissions data with us and set carbon goals.” 

And that means more and more companies will need a plan to measure and report their emissions. 

Sustain.Life can help you report your emissions to retailers like Amazon

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What companies selling and supplying to Amazon will (soon) need to track and report

Suppliers will be required, upon request, to provide Amazon with a report that meets the applicable 2024 Amazon Supply Chain Standards. So whether you’re a company already selling or looking to sell on Amazon—wholesale or Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)—or with other large retailers, here are some sustainability metrics you should be tracking to prepare for the 2024 changes.   

GHG Emissions 

“Suppliers should track, document and, upon request, report greenhouse gas emissions to Amazon.” 

How Sustain.Life can help

Recognized as one of the most comprehensive sustainability software platforms on the market—our suite of GHGP-aligned carbon calculators provides organizational emissions inventories that facilitate emissions disclosure to suppliers and customers alike. Our carbon calculators also include over 3,000 emissions factors and cover 240+ countries and territories. 


Setting reduction targets 

“Suppliers are encouraged to establish a greenhouse gas reduction goal and publicly report against their progress.” 

How Sustain.Life can help

Sustain.Life helps companies align their emissions reduction targets with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the UN’s net-zero guidance recommendations, and ISO standards. 

 

Take the next step. Learn how your company can set emissions reduction goals and achieve net-zero.

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Waste 

“Suppliers are required to identify, manage, and responsibly dispose of or recycle solid waste generated from operations […] We encourage Suppliers to reduce waste to landfill throughout their operations.”

How Sustain.Life can help

With Sustain.Life, you can track your trash, recycling, compost, and other hazardous waste by disposal method (landfill, incineration, recycler, composting, etc.) to understand your waste-generated emissions.


What about your own suppliers?  

While big retailers like Amazon want to know your emissions, it’s a good idea for you to have a handle on your own scope 3 supply chain emissions, too—they’re a part of your carbon footprint, after all.  

How Sustain.Life can help

Sustain.Life empowers you to survey your own suppliers through automatic assessment requests and value chain scoring, so you can prioritize greening your supply chain. 

Climate Pledge Friendly program  

You may have already noticed that Amazon prioritizes its Climate Pledge Friendly listings. In fact, according to Modern Retail, “sellers say it successfully boosted the visibility of sustainably-made products.” 

How Sustain.Life can help

For companies seeking Climate Pledge Friendly Certifications, Sustain.Life can be an invaluable tool to help keep your emissions data in a single place to speed up the application process for all current and future certifications.  

Sources

1. Amazon, “Building a Better Future Together: 2022 Amazon Sustainability Report,” https://sustainability.aboutamazon.com/2022-sustainability-report.pdf Accessed July 27, 2023

2. Walmart Sustainability Hub, “Project Gigaton™,” https://www.walmartsustainabilityhub.com/climate/project-gigaton Accessed July 27, 2023

3. Apple, “Supplier Responsibility,” https://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/ Accessed July 27, 2023

4. SAP News Center, “SAP Focuses on Key Suppliers to Reduce Carbon Emissions,” https://news.sap.com/2023/07/sap-key-suppliers-reduce-carbon-emissions/?amp=1 Accessed July 27, 2023

5. The Wall Street Journal, “SEC’s Climate-Disclosure Rule Isn’t Here, but It May as Well Be, Many Businesses Say,” https://www.wsj.com/articles/secs-climate-disclosure-rule-isnt-here-but-it-may-as-well-be-many-businesses-say-854789bd Accessed July 27, 2023

6. GreenBiz, “Get ready: Amazon will ask supply chain to report emissions starting in 2024,” https://www.greenbiz.com/article/get-ready-amazon-will-ask-supply-chain-report-emissions-starting-2024 Accessed July 27, 2023

7. Amazon, “9 takeaways from Amazon’s 2022 Sustainability Report,” https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/sustainability/amazon-sustainability-report-2022 Accessed July 27, 2023

8. Amazon, “Supply Chain Standards,” https://sustainability.aboutamazon.com/amazon_supply_chain_standards_english.pdf Accessed July 27, 2023

9. ModernRetail, “Amazon Briefing: The Climate Friendly Pledge label has become a coveted, but murky, marketing tool,” https://www.modernretail.co/technology/amazon-briefing-the-climate-friendly-pledge-label-has-become-a-coveted-but-murky-marketing-tool/ Accessed July 27, 2023

10. Amazon, “Climate Pledge Friendly Certifications,” https://www.amazon.com/b?node=21221608011 Accessed July 27, 2023

Editorial statement
At Sustain.Life, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Written by practitioners and experts, articles are grounded in research and experience-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by our team of sustainability professionals to ensure content is accurate and aligns with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
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Sustain.Life Team
Sustain.Life’s teams of sustainability practitioners and experts often collaborate on articles, videos, and other content.
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Alyssa Rade
Alyssa Rade is the chief sustainability officer at Sustain.Life. She has over ten years of corporate sustainability experience and guides Sustain.Life’s platform features.
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The takeaway

Amazon is following the strengthening wave of other big retailers, like Walmart, Apple, and even software companies like SAP, that already require a portion of their suppliers to share emissions.