Our World in 2020
While this report reflects our work throughout 2019, the world has clearly undergone a massive shift in 2020 with the emergence of COVID-19 and a reaffirmation that the inequitable, brutal, and racist treatment of Black and African Americans has no place in our society. As we face these common challenges, Amazon remains committed to addressing the urgency of the climate crisis and meeting The Climate Pledge—our commitment to reach net zero carbon by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement. To do anything different would be to ignore the fact that—as the pandemic has demonstrated—we are all interconnected and interdependent.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve added 175,000 new jobs to help meet customer demand for essential products. Between March and end of May, we increased pay for hourly employees by $2 per hour in the U.S., C$2 per hour in Canada, and €2 per hour in many EU countries. We also doubled the regular hourly base pay for every overtime hour worked and are offering extra time off with full pay for those diagnosed with COVID-19. We are working with food banks in 25 U.S. cities to deliver 6 million meals to underserved and vulnerable populations. We are collaborating with the World Health Organization, supplying advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise to track the virus, understand the outbreak, and better contain its spread. We launched the $20 million USD AWS Diagnostic Initiative to accelerate COVID-19 research, and AWS is supporting the White House’s COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, providing computing resources to advance research on diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine studies.
Amazon employees receive comprehensive health benefits starting on day one of employment. We are working on building scalable testing for coronavirus. We’ve distributed face masks and implemented temperature checks at sites around the world to help protect employees and support staff, and offer free masks to our Whole Foods Market customers. In all, we have made over 150 significant process changes in our operations network and Whole Foods Market stores, which we audit frequently, to help teams stay healthy. You can read more about what Amazon is doing on COVID-19 through the daily updates to our blog.
Unusual times like these require investment. We expect to invest approximately $4 billion in our second quarter alone on COVID-related initiatives getting products to customers and keeping employees safe. While this is a major commitment, it won’t come at the expense of our commitment to sustainability and The Climate Pledge. We know there is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and we also know that during these critical times, it is more important than ever to double down on our commitments relating to the climate crisis. In 2019, we made a big bet on the capabilities of our company to innovate, use our scale for good, and go faster to address the urgency of the climate crisis. We also launched The Climate Pledge, inviting other companies to join with us on this path. In June 2020, we announced that Verizon, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), and Infosys joined The Climate Pledge—sending an important signal that demand is growing rapidly for products and services that help reduce carbon emissions. We also announced The Climate Pledge Fund, which will further accelerate investment in innovations for the low-carbon economy of the future. This dedicated venture investment program—with an initial $2 billion in funding—will invest in visionary companies whose product and service solutions will facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
At Amazon, we first began discussing the possibility of company-wide net zero commitments during a senior planning summit in 2016. We knew that to continue to be a relentlessly resilient and innovative business, we would need to deeply understand what is happening on our planet. We also knew that we would need to build and dedicate financial resources, intellectual capital, and change management work to creating the tools, data, and understanding about how to achieve these types of commitments.
Four years later, our bold commitment to integrating sustainability across the company has not changed, and it will not change another five or ten years from now. What has changed, however, is the way in which we are conducting our business, running our operations, funding and implementing new technologies and services that decarbonize and help preserve the natural world, along with the ambitious goals we have set, starting with The Climate Pledge. We’re all in on our goals and our work to build a better planet, on urgent action to drive a lasting change: to see the world transition through this current moment into a world that embraces a path to recovery and wellness, and a cleaner, more environmentally sustainable and socially just planet.