Really Good News: Jeff Bezos Announces Exciting, Sweeping Plans for Amazon's Climate Action Goals

Jeff Bezos Amazon Climate Action.jpg

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a sweeping plan on Thursday, the day before 1000 Amazon Seattle employees will join colleagues at Google and Microsoft in walking off their jobs to support the September 20, 2019 Global Climate Strike and marches around the world. The sweeping new plan unveiled by Bezos commits the company to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years ahead of schedule.

As part of the announcement, Amazon will purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from vehicle manufacturer Rivian. They will be on the road as early as 2021, giving the company a big boost in keeping its climate policy promise to make Amazon carbon neutral by 2040. All 100,000 vans should be on the road by 2024. Note that Amazon has already invested $440 million in Rivian, which raised as part of its $700 million February 2019 round of funding.

Rivians will be built in Michigan in Normal, Illinois, alongside the SUVs and pickups Rivian plans to build in a former Mitsubishi plant, reports The Detroit News.

Amazon will put 100,000 electric delivery vans made in Michigan on the road by 2024.jpg

"This provides an opportunity for mega-tech, through the sheer size and capital available, to invest in electric vehicle and accelerate EV penetration," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a Thursday note to investors.

When Mitsubishi ran the Illinois plant, it churned out around 250,000 vehicles annually, Abuelsamid said. Between the pickup, SUV and Amazon van, Rivian would likely be approaching 100,000 vehicles per year in the early years of the plant, which should be fully operating by the end of next year. There's also an as-yet-unnamed vehicle that Rivian and Ford Motor Co. plan to partner on that might run on the line..

Bezos expects 80% of Amazon’s energy use to come from renewable sources by 2024, before transitioning to zero emissions by 2030. The current rate of renewable energy usage is 40%

“We want to use our scale and our scope to lead the way,” Bezos said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “One of the things we know about Amazon as a role model for this is that it’s a difficult challenge for us because we have deep, large physical infrastructure. So, if we can do this, anyone can do this.”

The richest man in the world also promised that Amazon is committed to examining its political campaign contributions to determine whether they include “active climate deniers.” Bezos also said that Amazon will step up its lobbying efforts in Washington in search of political solutions to climate change.

Amazon is also asking other companies to join them in committing to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Bezos had quite a presentation,  also announcing a $100 million donation to The Nature Conservancy to form the Right Now Climate Fund, which will work to restore and protect forests, wetlands and peatlands around the world, with the goal of removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Dara O’Rourke, a senior principal scientist on Amazon’s sustainability team, said the company built a “comprehensive” carbon accounting system that helps it pull data from its various businesses.

“Amazon is as complex as many companies combined,” O’Rourke said. “That forced us to build one of the most sophisticated carbon accounting systems in the world. We had to build a system that had the granular data, but at an Amazon scale.”

CNBC News reports that “in February Amazon announced it would make half of all its shipments carbon neutral by 2030 by using more eco-friendly packaging, using more renewable energy like wind power, as well as using electric vans for package deliveries. As part of that effort, which it calls “Shipment Zero,” Amazon said then it would share its company-wide carbon footprint for the first time later this year. That presentation concluded today with an impressive ToDo list.

Youth Climate Movement Puts Ethics at the Center of the Global Debate

Sept. 20 Global Youth Climate March.jpg

Youth Climate Movement Puts Ethics at the Center of the Global Debate

Even if you’ve never heard of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish environmentalist who crossed the Atlantic on a sailboat to attend a Sept. 23 United Nations summit on the climate, you may have heard about the student-led Global Climate Strike she helped inspire, planned for Friday, Sept. 20.

People from more than 150 countries are expected to head to the streets to demand climate action. According to the organizers, the strike aims “to declare a climate emergency and show our politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means.”

The strike was galvanized by a global youth movement, whose Friday school walkouts over the last year were themselves inspired by Thunberg’s own three-week strike in August 2018 to demand climate action by the Swedish parliament.

People of all ages will be joining this year’s protests at the United Nations, and adults – with their environmental organizations, climate negotiations and election campaigns – are gradually getting on board. The Union of Concerned Scientists even published an “Adult’s Guide” to the climate strike to help parents of participants get up to speed.

Stella McCartney Issues Dramatic Plea for Critical Sustainability Changes in Fashion Industry

Amber Valletta, Chu Wong + Emma Laird Front Stella McCartney Fall 2019 by Johnny Dufort Stella McCartney Fall 2019 Ad Campaign

Stella McCartney’s Fall 2019 ad campaign features Amber Valletta, Chu Wong and Emma Laird lensed by Johnny Dufort./ Makeup by Thomas De Kluyver; hair by Gary Gill

Stella McCartney Open Letter on Sustainability Sept. 15, 2019

In advance of her Spring 2020 Women’s Ready-to-Wear show McCartney issued an industry letter published in London’s Sunday Times Style magazine. The designer known for her relentless work with the fashion industry around issues of sustainability is calling for immediate action in all sectors of garment manufacturing.

"The fashion industry is at a crossroads, and I believe that this is a moment for us to come together to achieve systemic, sustainable change in our industry. “

Designer Stella McCartney

Designer Stella McCartney

McCartney is calling for a shift towards circularity and reuse of what we already have, helping to reduce the insatiable need for newness that has ravaged the planet in the last 20 years.

"The fashion industry is one of the most polluting and damaging industries in the world. Every single second, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is sent to landfill or burnt.

"The fashion industry accounts for more than a third of ocean microplastics, while textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will be using up to a quarter of the world's carbon budget.

"This way of working is not sustainable. The world is crying out for change, and it is our responsibility to act now... The science is clear, and we need to do more than just incremental shifts; keeping business as usual is no longer an option."

As well as encouraging rental, resale and recycling of clothing, Stella wants companies to embrace new "tools" and "innovators" to create their garments.

As well as encouraging rental, resale and recycling of clothing, Stella wants companies to embrace new "tools" and "innovators" to create their garments.

"The Ellen MacArthur Foundation tells us that only 1% of textiles are recycled back into textiles each year -- this is simply unacceptable. Supporting innovators will help to drastically increase this number, but we need this shift now.

"Companies we work with, like Econyl and Evrnu, are enabling true textile-to-textile recycling. More brands could help these innovators scale, and governments should support their development.

"For decades the fashion industry has relied on the same 10 to 12 fibres to make almost all of our garments, and I believe that it is time for us to add some new tools to our toolbox. Incredible innovators like Bolt Threads are using cutting-edge technology and biology to develop new textiles and materials.

"They are reimagining what the building blocks of our industry could be, and we are working closely with them as they develop incredible mycelium-based 'leather', grown in a lab and not harming a single creature in the process.

"The production of leather, which can account for up to 10% of the commercial value of a cow, shares full responsibility for the same environmental hazards as the meat industry; most critically, it is a leading cause of climate change. I believe with these new technologies that we are on the brink of something very exciting."

New AOC Writing on Sustainability

Adwoa, Jill and Ebonee Headline H&M Fall 2019 Conscious Recycled PET Bottles Collection

H&M Conscious Collection Fall 2019.jpg

Adwoa, Jill and Ebonee Headline H&M Fall 2019 Conscious Recycled PET Bottles Collection

Top model and activist Adwoa Aboah joins Jill Kortleve and Ebonee Davis in launching H&M’s Fall 2019 Conscious collection and campaign. The collection will be released worldwide in September.

Recycled polyester is the key material for H&M’s Fall 2019 Conscious Collection, found in the dresses, shirts, knitwear, outerwear and tailored pieces. Most often made from used PET bottles, recycled polyester is processed and spun to create a fabric that’s easy to care for. Meanwhile, the jersey pieces in the collection are made from organic cotton or blend made out of TENCEL™ lyocell fibres.

Fast fashion lies: Will they really change their ways in a climate crisis?

Fast fashion lies: Will they really change their ways in a climate crisis?

By Anika Kozlowski, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design, Ethics and Sustainnability, School of Fashion, Ryerson University. First published on The Conversation.

Recently Zara introduced a sustainability pledge. But how can Zara ever be sustainable? As the largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, they produce around 450 million garments a year and release 500 new designs a week, about 20,000 a year. Zara’s fast-fashion model has been so successful it has inspired an entire industry to shift — churning out an unprecedented number of fashion garments year-round.

We live in an era of hyper-consumption in the middle of a climate crisis.

Clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014. The average consumer bought 60 per cent more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment half as long. Apparel consumption is projected to to rise by 63 per cent in the next 10 years. And less than one per cent of all clothing produced globally is recycled.

With production numbers like these, can any fast-fashion retailer claim sustainability?

Eco-Conscious Brit Designers Vin + Omi Ready LFW with Nettle-Fabrics from Prince Charles' Garden

Prince Charles and the nettles project.jpg

It all began with a cup of tea in spring 2018 with Prince Charles and members of the British design industry committed to putting the British Fashion Council’s Positive Fashion sustainability initiative into action. Attending were design duo Vin + Omi, admired by both Beyonce and Michelle Obama.

"It’s so surreal," says Omi, who talked to The Hollywood Reporter by phone from London and, like Vim, goes only by his first name. "We were invited for tea with His Royal Highness, and it was just a passing comment he made, where he suggested using nettles from his estate and turning them into clothes. It was over tea — we thought nothing of it. Then the next thing you know, we were down on his estate, collecting weeds. It went from zero to 100 very quickly!"

Prince Charles volunteered an abundance of nettles in residence at his and Camilla’s Clarence House gardens known as Highgrove Royal Gardens.

Prior to talking nettles with Prince Charles, Vin + Omi were creating clothes woven from cow parsley and discarded bottles. Their collection opened London Fashion Week’s Spring 2019 shows in September 2018. The creatives blended cow parsley with flax, creating an eco-fabric called Flaxley produced by by attendees of a Gloucestershire employment programme to create the clothes seen on the catwalk. The Guardian writes that Vin + Omi also created hybrid metal fabrics, manufactured from cans collected by homeless people on a support programme in Birmingham, and bags made from fabric derived from plastic bottles discarded from the menswear shows in July and collected, recycled and woven by London College of Fashion students.

Design duo Vin + Omi used nettles from the estate of Prince Charles to create 10 pieces of clothing, to be shown during London Fashion Week later this month.

Design duo Vin + Omi used nettles from the estate of Prince Charles to create 10 pieces of clothing, to be shown during London Fashion Week later this month.

Vin + Omi have been focused on eco fabrics since 2004 with a focus on the environment and supporting local communities. Two of their big successes have been creating an eco latex from a rubber plantation they fund in Malaysia and vegan “leather” made from the skins of chestnuts.

On the subject of longevity, Omi reminds Hollywood Reporter readers that the Prince has been committed to sustainability issues for 25 years.

"The thing we learned about working with someone with of the status of His Royal Highness is that he is really well informed," adds Omi. "You would think someone who is so high up wouldn’t necessarily have all these cares and concerns for the environment, so it's quite humbling. His team is really well informed, too, with the plants and all the properties that go with them. We widened our knowledge about what the possibilities are of working with these species of plants."

As part of the collection, Vin + Omi partnered with art supply brand Daler-Rowney. "We are reutilizing their paint plastic tubes and turning them into fabric, so we’re helping with their waste issues. Then we have our own linen, which we grow in our fields, and we’re also up-cycling denim, to stop it from going to landfills. We want to stop old garments from ending up in the incinerator,” Omi says. Biodegradable latex is part of the upcoming collection, says Omi, stressing that that Vin + Omi really aren’t fashion designers. The duo considers themselves to be sustainability-focused artists and clothes are their canvas.

."Everything has been carefully thought out," says Omi. "The amount of attention we’ve been receiving ahead of the show is quite humbling. From Nigeria, Australia, it's been really crazy. We’re expecting a really crazy, big show."

Omi says the duo plans to send pieces to Prince Charles, who has been sending them letters of encouragement, "as a gesture of thank you." A piece from the collection is also going to the Victoria and Alfred Museum. "It’s nice that they will have a piece in their archive permanently for public viewing," Omi says. "The public will be able to go and see and realize that 'Wow, this is what you can do with nature.'"