Sustainability in online trade using the example of Amazon 2/2

Sustainability in online trade using the example of Amazon 2/2

Welcome to our series of articles about current theses of our students!

Alumna Louisa Roszinski has written an outstanding bachelor thesis on “Sustainability in online commerce using the example of Amazon” as part of her studies in Media and Communication Management at the Hochschule Fresenius in Cologne. In the following, Amazon’s approach to being a pioneer and role model in terms of sustainability is described. A critical examination of the company and its plans awaits you in our podcast. You can find the first part of the series here. Read the second part now!


Amazon NH.PNG

Climate-neutral transport through modern technology

To save emissions during transport, Amazon has ordered 100,000 electronic delivery vans from the manufacturer Rivian. By 2030, all 100,000 vehicles are to be on the roads, thus preventing the emission of 4 million tons of CO2. The continuous optimization of delivery logistics also plays an important role in terms of sustainability. Amazon uses collected data and algorithms to prevent delivery vans or airplanes, for example, from setting off only half-full. Desired products are kept in stock in all logistics centers to prevent long-distance deliveries. By increasing delivery efficiency, Amazon ensures that, in the best case scenario, less freight traffic is needed on the roads and in the air.  Amazon also focuses on the development of alternative delivery methods. These include the “Amazon Scout”, a delivery robot the size of a cool box, and the “Prime Air Drone”.


Less packaging waste thanks to “frustration-free” packaging

With the “Frustration-free Packaging” initiative, launched in 2008, Amazon promotes the development of easy-to-open and recyclable shipping packaging without superfluous components such as cable ties. For products in original packaging that are considered ready for shipment, no additional packaging is used. In addition, Amazon itself has developed a completely recyclable shipping bag. This has been in use since 2018 and consists of four layers of paper with water-based padding material. Since 2008, Amazon’s initiatives have reduced the consumption of shipping materials by around 665,000 tons, which corresponds to a total of over 1.18 billion packaging cartons. The company has thus already been able to reduce packaging waste by 16 percent.


Sustainable handling of returns

The returns scandal of Amazon, caused public outrage and discussions. Amazon is therefore forced to rethink its returns policy and aims to introduce a comprehensive recycling system. The return rate is to be reduced and returned products reused or resold. Products sold by Amazon are subject to careful quality control and are assigned to a specific purpose. These include resale as used goods via the “Amazon Warehouse”, return to the manufacturer, sale to residual stock dealers or the goods are donated. The dumping of returns, e.g. for hygienic reasons, should be kept as low as possible and should only be considered as a last resort, as this is the least attractive option from an ecological and economic point of view.


“Fulfilled by Amazon Donations”

Amazon sees donations in kind as an important approach with symbolic meaning. In this way no resources are wasted and at the same time something good is done. The “Fulfilled by Amazon Donations” program, through which all returns are donated, started in the USA and Great Britain on September 1, 2019. In Germany, Amazon has been supporting the innatura platform since 2013, which distributes donated products to charitable organizations in the area. Over 1,000 institutions have already received donations from Amazon, from which around 450,000 people in need have benefited.


Poor working conditions? Not (anymore) at Amazon!

In the past, Amazon made negative headlines worldwide due to poor working conditions in the logistics centers, low wages and piecework. Many employees felt exploited, which is why there were more and more strikes, as in Germany. Before the mood of the employees deteriorated any further, Amazon had to act and in the last few years ensured a positive development regarding working conditions. In Germany, the company approached its employees in mail order centers and now pays significantly more than the minimum wage. In addition, there is a Christmas bonus and each mail order center has its own health management system to ensure the safety and health of its employees. Amazon sees itself as a fair employer and is proud of the working environment created for its employees. Diversity and equal rights play a major role, because Amazon wants to offer everyone the chance to have a good job.

Training sponsored by Amazon

With the support program “Career Choice”, Amazon offers its employees training and further education opportunities, with costs of up to 8,000 euros being covered. This is intended to benefit above all employees who have not completed vocational training or who have started working at Amazon after a long period of unemployment. In addition to the wide range of training opportunities, there is also the possibility of a dual study program, with the logistics department being just one of many options.




Amazon Inc. [o. J.]

Erneuerbare Energien, verfügbar unter: (03.01.2020).

Amazon Inc. [o. J.]

Nachhaltiger Transport, verfügbar unter: (03.01.2020).

Amazon Inc. [o. J.]

Sendungen mit “Shipment Zero”, verfügbar unter: (03.01.2020).

Amazon Inc. [o. J]

So reduzieren wir Verpackungsabfälle, verfügbar unter: (03.01.2020).

Amazon Inc. [o. J.]

Unser Einsatz für eine nachhaltige Zukunft, verfügbar unter: (03.01.2020).

Amazon Inc. [o. J.]

Wesentliche Verpflichtungen, verfügbar unter:

Day One Autor [2019]

Nachhaltigkeit. Der “Climate Pledge”, verfügbar unter: (03.01.2020).

Gebhardt, I. [2019]

Wie sind die Arbeitsbedingungen für Amazon-Mitarbeiter?, verfügbar unter: (04.01.2020).

Heißler, J. [2019]

Amazon will nachhaltiger werden. Bezos grünes Versprechen, verfügbar unter: (03.01.2020).

Kleber, R. [2019]

Arbeiten bei Amazon. Wir sind stolz darauf, ein guter Arbeitgeber zu sein, verfügbar unter: (04.01.2020).

Pietras, J. [2019]

Amazon spendet nun alle Retouren an Hilfsorganisationen, verfügbar unter: (04.01.2020).

Schröder, T. [2013]

Amazon. Auf Weltherrschaft getrimmt, verfügbar unter:


Über Amazon Autor [o. J.]

5 Dinge, die Sie noch nicht über Amazon Verpackungen wussten, verfügbar unter: (03.01.2020).

Wulff, O. [2019]

Nachhaltigkeit. Vom nachhaltigen Umgang mit Waren, verfügbar unter: (04.01.2020).