The Amazon Climate Pledge

The Six Five team discusses the Amazon Climate Pledge.

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Patrick Moorhead: With that said, let’s dive right in to topic number one, the Amazon Climate Pledge update. We both wrote notes on that. I did on Forbes and you did on your awesome research site. What’s the update?

Daniel Newman: Yeah. First of all, Pat, thank you for one of our most impressively fast introductions ever that we’ve done on this show. That’s pretty awesome. There is so much going on. And of course, as we are dealing with a ton of macro and geopolitical issues, one of the issues that sits in the background that most of the world seems to be very interested in and cares about is climate. And of course, Amazon, which is sometimes appreciated for its innovation and the things it tries to do for creating jobs and small businesses and climate and sometimes it’s loathed by society because it is such a big successful company. But this is one of those things Pat, that I continue to think is important that we talk about.

Amazon, which partnered with Global Optimism, was able to announce in this past week, a 600% growth in the participation in what it calls the Climate Pledge. They have now more than 300 signers that made it a 600% growth. And just to kind of give a quick bit of background, because we do this every maybe six to 12 months, you and I pop in and talk about this. This is a few year old. It was founded in 2019 by Amazon with an organization called Global Optimism. And the whole premise behind the pledge is that these organizations are committing to get to net zero carbon by the year 2040. Now, if you’re familiar with the Paris Agreement, basically it was all about getting to this point by 2050. What the pledge is all about is these enterprises across almost every industry now, committing to put the resources forward, to accelerate their process in becoming carbon neutral.

There is a number of standards that you have to partake in, in order to be part of this, you have to be willing to measure and report the greenhouse gas emissions your company creates. You need to be able to show that you can implement the decarbonization strategies that are in line with the accord and then you need to be able to neutralize any remaining emissions with quantifiable, permanent and socially beneficial offsets. This is a complicated task Pat, because for a lot of companies you’re asking them to reconsider and we’ll talk more about supply chain later, but all the materials that are being sourced, all the facilities that they’re utilizing, if they’re delivering services, you might have trucks, plane, ships, all these things create greenhouse gas. And so we’ve got a couple of complexities, A, the complexity of actually changing your business model to support carbon neutrality and B is, how do you do that faster and then actually measure it?

And that, by the way, is becoming an increasingly large trend with companies like ServiceNow, SAP, Salesforce, AWS, all rolling out data driven services. Honeywell’s doing this on the industrial side, that enable companies to better understand how they’re utilizing carbon, their footprint and then of course being able to offset it. In the most recent update, the company did have some pretty impressive signatories that were added. One of the biggest is one of that I just mentioned, was SAP and there was several others, but we’ve seen companies like Microsoft, Verizon, Mercedes-Benz, VMware, Salesforce, HP, Pat. A number of people we work with and then of course, consumer brands, Visa, Alaska Air, PepsiCo. So many companies have now helped get to this point.

And of course, Amazon, having such a big footprint, such big contributions to the world in terms of getting us our quote unquote stuff, has a great opportunity to use the visibility, the brand and the massive supply chain that it leads in order to help drive better levels of climate responsibility within enterprises. Pat, this is a little update and I hope for everybody out there, they understand now what is required to be part of it. Some of the companies taking part, but more than anything is that 2040 is still so long from now. I’m very interested in understanding how we’re measuring, holding accountable and making sure companies that did sign up for this thing, have done enough each and every passing year. And I think that’s going to be the really hard part.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. First off, I really like the market led approach versus some mandate from the government. And essentially what that means is if you love it, you can get behind it. If you hate it, you can stop buying from those companies. My hope, particularly in light of the last 24 days, is that we do this in an intelligent way. And Daniel, that’s the thing that I really want people to start talking about a little bit more. It’s unaffordable and unrealistic to say that we can snap our fingers and magically get to an all-electric world.

Plus if we had to, first of all, we couldn’t afford it. And second of all, we don’t have enough electrical production that it globally, that wouldn’t burn more fossil fuels and more coal. Essentially we would be polluting the environment more in order to get to electricity. For some reason, we’ve decided at least as a country, to not invest in nuclear. And I know it’s all scary and it’s all spooky, but it could take 40 years to get enough windmills and get enough solar panels to get there. I don’t know if you noticed, but Denmark said it was pushing off its, you got the biggest grin on your face. Is he going now?

Daniel Newman: I’m just, I know where you’re going and just sorry, there’s a really weird kind of parallel a conversation here about what we’re experiencing right now with supply shortages and gasoline. And I just was thinking to myself while you were talking, Pat, I was thinking we are in such a predicament right now because we should be doing this and that, meaning we should be doing exactly what Amazon is leading, but at the same time, we shouldn’t be saying, we should be energy dependent until we figure out in 2040. Sorry. Yes, I was grinning.

Patrick Moorhead: No, no, no. It’s good. No, no, it’s good. I didn’t know if maybe you were watching something else on TV.

Daniel Newman: No, it was just, I just thought about where this conversation could go.

Patrick Moorhead: By the way, did you see Denmark actually decided to give its nukes 10 more years. Because guess what? They don’t think it’s a good idea to outsource their energy to Russia. Surprise. Now, one thing I do love about the Climate Pledge is it talks too, about reducing the amount of energy draw. And I love that. I love it because it talks about efficiency and Daniel, who can’t get behind using less? As long as it’s through not brute force and making gas 15 bucks a gallon.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, and through innovation. It’s just like the chip makers making more efficient chips that are still more powerful.

Patrick Moorhead: That’s exactly right. I love this topic. I love talking Climate Pledge and environmental because it does let me to talk a little bit holistically about this. And listen, I’m passionate about climate. I’m passionate about innovation. I’m passionate about not giving autocrats the ability to put a stranglehold on a near term economy. Thank you, Amazon and the 300 Climate Pledge signees. Let’s get more efficient. Let’s use less energy and let’s use market forces to make this happen. With that said, unless you wanted to do a boomerang.

Daniel Newman: No, let’s rock and roll. We could do a whole show on that, Pat, but I just like, like I said, I’ll call it this and that. It’s a this and that strategy, not this or that strategy. We’ve just got way too much this or that but this is a good reminder, there is progress being made.

Patrick Moorhead: Absolutely.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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