Sustainability in online trade using the example of Amazon 1/2

Sustainability in online trade using the example of Amazon 1/2

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

Alumni Louisa Roszinski has written an outstanding bachelor thesis on “Sustainability in Online Retailing 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. Read the first part now and look forward to the continuation on October 16, 2020!

Amazon NH.PNG


Online trade – curse and blessing

Online trade is booming worldwide and has become an integral part of our lives. We benefit from the many advantages of online shopping, such as the convenience of shopping, the gigantic product range and contact-free shopping in times of Corona.  However, the rapid development of online commerce and the mass of orders it generates is not only robbing stationary retailers of their customers, but is also damaging to environmental and social sustainability.

There is no Planet B!

Sustainability and the associated issue of climate change are on everyone’s lips worldwide. It is no wonder that companies are increasingly feeling the pressure from the public and politicians in this regard. Large companies such as Amazon, which were previously considered to be climate sinners, must take this pressure seriously and increasingly focus their attention and actions on the topic of sustainability and climate protection. Sustainability initiatives are essential today not only to improve their own image, but also to prevent climate change and all its consequences in the long term.


Amazon in the crossfire

The former garage enterprise Amazon ranks today among the largest and most successful on-line dealers world-wide. The immense success of the company is based above all on its business model, which is designed to drive growth. Sustainable components such as environmental protection or good working conditions on site have often been neglected in the past, which is why Amazon made negative headlines. Most recently, the company was caught in the crossfire as it destroyed tons of returns. The destroyed goods were mostly as good as new, which is why Greenpeace spoke of an irresponsible waste of resources and called on the federal government to take legal action.


Jeff Bezo’s vision: Amazon as a climate neutral pioneer

In September 2019, Jeff Bezos then presented his new climate protection initiative. Amazon is to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Protection Agreement already in 2040, ten years before the agreed deadline. Bezos wants to be a pioneer with his company and prove that climate neutrality is feasible for everyone. Because according to Bezos, every problem can be mastered through new innovations. Besides the climate protection promise “The Climate Pledge”, Amazon’s sustainability initiatives include the reduction of packaging waste and the future use of climate-neutral means of transport. Amazon also sees itself as socially responsible and would like to be involved in providing secure and decent jobs in the company as well as in the entire supply chain.


Initiative “The Climate Pledge” and sustainable energy use

The climate protection promise “The Climate Pledge” was presented by Amazon and the Global Optimism organization on September 19, 2019. Amazon itself has set itself high goals: The company wants to supply 80 percent of its global infrastructure with renewable energies by 2024. By 2030, only renewable energies are to be used and by 2040 Amazon wants to be 100 percent climate neutral. In recent years, the company has already invested in wind and solar energy, and Amazon currently has 70 of its own energy supply projects worldwide. The “Climate Pledge” requires regular reporting with measurements of CO2 emissions, which Amazon publishes on a sustainability website. This provides information about the company’s sustainability commitments and initiatives and the current status of implementation.


Shipment Zero” Project

In 2019 Amazon also presents the project “Shipment Zero”. The goal of this project is to make 50 percent of the entire delivery process climate-neutral by 2030. According to Amazon, this is made up of three main components, each of which is to be made CO2-neutral: The shipping and sorting centers, packaging materials and transportation. The first “Shipment Zero” packages have already been delivered in Europe and the USA. In 2020, the project is to be extended to India and Japan, among others.



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