Bezos to speak on sustainability ahead of global climate protest

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces the company's climate initiative Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

To cut emissions, Amazon says it has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans that will start hitting the road in 2021.

"If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon - which delivers more than 10 billion items a year - can meet the Paris agreement 10 years early, then any company can".

Amazon is the first company to sign the pledge.

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"It's a hard challenge for us because we have deep large physical infrastructure". "When invention gets involved, when people get determined, when passion comes out, when they make strong goals, you can invent your way out of any box".

The group organizing the employee walkout, Amazon Employees for Climate Change, has been pressuring Amazon for nearly a year to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and detail how it's preparing to deal with business disruptions caused by climate change.

Bezos also said Amazon was ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from US vehicle design and manufacturing startup Rivian Automotive LLC and would use 100% renewable energy by 2030, up from 40% today.

A group of the retail and technology giant's employees is staging a walkout on Friday, part of a global strike aimed at calling attention to the risks of climate change.

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Bezos said he expects Amazon to reach a goal of 80 percent renewable energy use by 2024, up from around 40 percent today, and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 on a path to net zero carbon by 2040. "We know we can do it and we know we have to do it", Bezos said. 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.

"The global strike tomorrow is totally understandable", Bezos said. The company is also starting a fund to invest $100 million in restoring forests and wetlands and launching a sustainability website to report on its commitments, initiatives, and performance.

Bezos added that free next-day shipping for Prime members, which the company is in the process of rolling out, is more environmentally efficient because products can be warehoused locally, reducing travel times and bypassing the need to ship products via air. "To ask oil and energy companies to do this transition with bad tools is not a good idea and we won't do that", Bezos said.

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