Can Amazon’s “Alexa, Grow a Tree” Initiative Counter its Huge Carbon Footprint?
While the recent initiative has been welcomed by many, with its massive volume of packaging material and shipping waste Amazon sits at the center of the controversy
Amazon is celebrating Earth Month by teaming up with environmental charity One Tree Planted to encourage its consumers to plant trees through Alexa. Under Amazon’s new green campaign, customers in the US with an Alexa-enabled device simply need to say “Alexa, grow a tree” to donate $1 to the charity to plant one tree.
Possibly the world’s most visible and successful e-retailer, Amazon has been under heavy criticism from environmental and consumer activists for its huge environmental impact. The company has been employing several environmentally-friendly packaging and shipping methods to show its commitment for the betterment of the planet.
Through its latest enterprise, Amazon is donating $1 million to the charity One Tree Planted, which has been supporting global reforestation campaigns. Starting in April, the campaign will go through December 2022 wherein people with Alexa devices can make a contribution to the cause by donating as little as $1.
Customers will also be able to track and view how many trees they helped plant through their Amazon Pay account. This initiative is part of Amazon’s undertaking to offset its carbon footprint. It has also engaged in climate pledges and encourages recycling through trade-in programs.
The non-profit tree planting charity is dedicated to growing native trees that can offer specific benefits to the locals. It has planted 23.5 million trees in 2021 and has organized reforestation campaigns in over 40 countries.
Focusing on four projects, the new collaborative campaign will work on the reforestation of 34 acres of surface-mined land in Appalachia with native species; restoration of forest fire-ravaged areas in drought-stricken California; planting and nurturing fruit trees to fight hunger in India and enabling small farmers in marginalized communities to create sustainable livelihood; and plant trees to help the endangered Southern Resident Orcas by reinstating the habitat for their primary food source salmon, in the Pacific Northwest.
Despite the frequent donations and green efforts, Amazon’s widespread and harmful impact on the environment is undeniable. It has been labeled as one of the top retail polluters of plastic and packaging, and of air contamination through its shipping and delivery techniques.
Besides, Amazon donating $1 million for tree plantation is about .066 percent of its net revenue from a single day of sales. It barely makes a dent for the retailer and clearly indicates how much more Amazon can do to counter its impact on the environment.
While planting more trees has the potential to mitigate some effects of climate change, things are not quite so simple. The issue with such tree plantation campaigns is that when seeds are put in the ground or a sapling is planted they don’t always take root or survive long enough to make a difference.
While it is a good step in the right direction, Amazon still has a long way to go to make its operations fully sustainable and make a significantly positive impact on the global environment.