During the pandemic, it seems like Amazon has come to dominate our world, especially during lockdowns when few vehicles save Amazon delivery vans traveled the roads. Many people have been relying on the website throughout the pandemic. But now, the e-commerce giant is trying to save the Earth by promoting eco-friendly shopping on its new platform.
The new platform made its U.S. debut in September. This week, shoppers in the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Italy will be able to browse more than 40,000 items certified by the Carbon Trust, Fairtrade International and other environmental certifying organizations. From bamboo toothbrushes to plant-based garbage bags, Amazon will display these products in a dedicated section of its website. Many small businesses across Europe are participating, including U.K. brands Kite Clothing, which sews sustainable kids’ clothes, and Faith in Nature, makers of shampoo bars.
Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping
According to Doug Gurr, Amazon U.K. manager, customers will more easily discover sustainable products on the new platform. “With 18 external certification programs and our own new certification, we’re incentivizing selling partners to create sustainable products that help protect the planet for future generations,” Gurr said, as reported by The Guardian.
But not everybody is impressed. Some large environmental nonprofits think the giant company is doing too little. “Amazon sells millions of products and this latest initiative covers just a tiny fraction of the total,” said Will McCallum, senior campaigner at Greenpeace U.K. “By certifying only a limited range of goods, Amazon is implicitly admitting that the rest of its business model isn’t up to scratch. The environmental and climate crises we are facing demand more than token gestures and piecemeal action.”
Further, environmental campaigners also found some discrepancies within the new platform, with single-use items like cotton swabs, disposable wipes and novelty Donald Trump toilet paper all labeled with Amazon’s own sustainable certification. After being contacted, Amazon removed the label from these products, citing this as a mistake.
In the perfect world, everybody in the supply chain would care about the planet, from the manufacturer to the seller to the end consumer. Here’s hoping that Amazon shoppers will make a point of purchasing sustainable products via the new platform, if not from local shops in their neighborhood.
Via The Guardian
Image via Christian Wiediger