Amazon, Walmart, and world’s largest retailers are worsening port congestion and pollution, new report finds
Monday there were 84 ships waiting off the coast of Southern California, 37 outside the Port of Los Angeles and the other 47 near the port of Long Beach.
“Until recently, enormous climatic disruptions and emissions harmful to human health from international container transport – and the companies that purchase their services – have passed under the radar of public scrutiny,” the report said.
In 2021, the shipping industry accounted for nearly 3% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than the emissions from global air travel. The report predicts that if consumer demand continues, emissions will increase by 50% from 2018 levels – an increase of up to 500 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.
A “disproportionate role”
Amazon has indicated that it aims to deliver 50% of its shipments with net zero carbon by 2030. It is also a signatory of the Climate Pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions across all of its operations by 2040 .
The report estimates that Target is responsible for more than 6.4 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions while Amazon is responsible for 1.4 million metric tonnes.
A spokesperson for Target said the company is committed to “reducing our shipping carbon footprint as we strive to achieve our goal of being a net zero business by 2040, with net zero emissions in our operations and supply chain. ” Target is also working with its global carriers to ensure they meet the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 limits on sulfur-based fuel for ships to help reduce emissions, the spokesperson added.
A Walmart representative told CNN Business that the retailer was the first to set a science-based emission reduction target, which the company has committed to achieving zero emissions in its operations by 2040. And two-thirds of the proceeds sold at U.S. Walmart locations were manufactured, grown or assembled in the country, the representative added.
Ikea said it agrees that emissions from shipping are an important topic and need to be more targeted.
Unlike the other three companies included in the report, IKEA’s emissions have declined over the past two years. The report estimates that the furniture retailer emitted 1.3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions between 2018 and 2020. However, these emissions have trended downward overall, decreasing by 16% between 2018 and 2019 and 8.5% between 2019 and 2020.
In an effort to bypass supply chain congestion and in line with its strategy to reduce carbon emissions, IKEA transported goods from China to Europe by rail rather than by ship. The change is one of the reasons the retailer saw lower emissions, according to the report.
“We are a large buyer of transportation and have a great responsibility to influence the shipping industry in a positive way,” the company said in a statement. “IKEA is committed to becoming climate positive by 2030, reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than the IKEA value chain emits.”
Biden is expected to speak on the supply chain crisis on Wednesday.