The standard with the most products is Amazon's own newly released "Compact by Design" certification, which is a continuation of the company's long-standing efforts to reduce packaging waste and improve shipping efficiency. Amazon says this has a direct climate benefit. Some 6,000 items, ranging from waterless shampoo bars to ultra-concentrated household cleaners to dog treats or electronics cables in svelt packages, comply with the company's certification, and thereby get the "Climate Pledge Friendly" label in search results and on product pages.
Bateman said Amazon has clear financial incentives to shrink the size of the goods that flow through its warehouses and delivery network, saving space on racks and in trucks. And while such standards are typically set and managed by third parties - as is the case with the other 18 tied to the new labeling - Amazon, with its immense power over suppliers, "might drive higher adoption" by using its own standard, she said.
The Climate Pledge Friendly label is at least the third effort in the last decade by Amazon to guide customers toward more environmentally benign products.
In 2012, it launched a site called Vine.com, under the online shopping rival Quidsi it acquired in 2010, that featured products with many of the same attributes as those now marked Climate Pledge Friendly: fair trade, energy efficient, natural, organic and reusable.
The company also had an Amazon Green shopping page, which was being shut down with the launch of the Climate Pledge Friendly label.
An Amazon spokesman described Climate Pledge Friendly as a new program, in which Amazon does the work of identifying and creating the most credible sustainability standards on behalf of its customers.
The spokesman said it was inspired by Amazon's Climate Pledge, a commitment made nearly a year ago to become "net carbon zero" by 2040.
That commitment extends only to emissions from Amazon's own operations, including its shipping, electricity use and branded products, not emissions stemming from the millions of other products sold by Amazon and its third-party sellers. Amazon is buying more renewable energy, adding electric vehicles to its delivery fleet and funding the development of emissions offsets projects in pursuit of that goal.
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