Towards the end of 2020, Amazon announced the Climate Pledge Friendly initiative, a programme designed to help them reach the Paris Agreement ten years early and be net zero carbon by 2040. We’re guessing lots of you have never heard of it.
So what is the Climate Pledge Friendly initiative?
This green scheme was created by Amazon in the hope that it would help customers shop more sustainably. A simple and, in theory, effective badge system that allows customers to see if a product is environmentally-friendly in some way.
Amazon have partnered with several third-party organisations, including government agencies, non-profit organisations and independent laboratories, who each independently verify products and then update Amazon with details of what products qualify for the scheme. These organisations include some well-known names, such as Fairtrade, the Rainforest Alliance and FSC to name a few. It’s the real deal.
Amazon even came up with their own certification called Compact by Design. Essentially, something that looks the same as another product may have a more efficient design that requires less packaging and becomes more efficient to ship, qualifying it for a Compact by Design badge. Bear in mind this doesn’t take into account the sustainability of the product itself, just the packaging…
Products are then given a Climate Pledge Friendly badge that sits under the product title, and if you click on it, you can see which certification they were awarded.
How do you qualify for the scheme?
Luckily for businesses, you only need to have one sustainable aspect in your product to qualify. The catch is you have to organise it all yourself. Below are the details from Amazon’s website on how you can qualify.
There is only a select list of third-party organisations that you can work with at the moment. Unfortunately, that does end up excluding some of the big, sustainable brands from the programme…sorry Ecover!
There are even some products on the list that are less eco-friendly than others, for example, disposable batteries. They meet requirements based on greenhouse gas emissions, yet there are hundreds of more environmentally-friendly rechargeable batteries that aren’t in the scheme.
Similarly, there are many products in the Climate Pledge Friendly section that feature Amazon’s own Compact by Design qualification, regardless of whether the product itself is sustainable. This is a little misleading for customers who are trying to make the effort to shop in a more environmentally-friendly way. It all seems a bit backwards in coming forwards at times…
Has the scheme been successful?
Six months after it’s launch, Which? conducted a survey and discovered that 84% of people they asked had never even heard of the initiative. For something that’s gunning for being more environmentally-friendly, why doesn’t everybody know about it? Shouldn’t they be shouting it from the rooftops? It’s quite an important topic, especially in today’s society, and surely it’s an initiative to be proud of.
It’s actually a great idea, but once again, the execution has its flaws. Not enough customers seem to know about it for a start. If Amazon partnered with more qualifying organisations, or even just included the recycling badge as one of the qualifiers, it would open up a wealth of products that could be included. Over 12 million products are sold on Amazon right now. In October this year, Amazon had just 200,000 products listed on the Climate Pledge Friendly programme.
Now you know about the programme, is it something you might consider shopping on? Or perhaps seeing if your products can qualify for the badge? In the end, every little helps.
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