You click ‘buy’ and a short while later your package arrives at your door – a simple, seamless experience that conceals the technology, scale, and operational excellence behind it.
At Amazon’s DXB3 fulfilment centre in Dubai, our largest in the UAE, our customer-obsessed employees pick and pack millions of products1
. More and more customers are demanding the convenience this sports stadium-sized space provides. But they are calling for it at a crucial moment for the planet.
That same fulfilment centre is now home to a glistening new solar photovoltaic rooftop2
. Expected to have an emissions-reducing impact equivalent to the planting of more than 40,000 tree seedlings, it is a fantastic achievement and an important milestone.
However, it is just the beginning of a long and complex journey in terms of what needs to be done to mitigate the severe repercussions of climate change. For Amazon, solar rooftops are only one part of our endeavour. We have committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operations in the MENA region at every stage3
− from our network of buildings, to our packaging, transportation, and last mile delivery.
But no one organisation, or country for that matter, can fight the climate crisis alone.
The scale and speed of change requires focused and simultaneous action across industries and nations. We have to work together to implement a collaborative cycle of change – one that encompasses innovative technology and business models, public policy environment to foster the innovation, and the businesses and organisations to adopt and implement them in their core strategy.
In short, the need to work together to solve this issue has never been more urgent.
An appetite for change
Scientists tell us that we have a small window of opportunity to make headway on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 20504
. In MENA, the situation is perhaps even starker – the region has been described as a climate change hotspot5
where summers warm faster than the rest of the world. The related impacts of failing to act − on living conditions, on agriculture, on water scarcity6
− will be felt across societies.
The MENA region clearly recognises the scale of this challenge. Across the countries where we operate – UAE7
, Saudi Arabia8
– governments are indeed acting, and they have announced sustainability agendas with an intent to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy such as solar.
This is being backed financially, with institutions including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund10
, Mubadala and others integrating sustainability into their investment decisions11
. Mubadala subsidiary Masdar, for example, has invested nearly $20 billion globally in renewable and sustainable projects12
, including Saudi Arabia’s first wind farm13
This imperative for change has created a fertile environment for businesses to embrace innovations in technology and business models and drive the cycle that will help us achieve our climate goals.
The missing piece of the puzzle
Amazon’s MENA sustainability roadmap focuses on creating energy-efficient infrastructure, transforming our transportation network and reducing waste in our packaging. And while we’ve been inventing heavily in this area, this is also an area where we are calling for collaboration from innovators across the region.
This provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Globally, there are compelling examples of how this can work with pay off for all parties involved.
Take our transportation network. In 2019, Amazon partnered with electric truck start-up Rivian after seeing the potential in its customisable skateboard platform14
. Together we developed a first-of-its-kind delivery vehicle, and an order for 100,000 electric vehicles was placed. Some of these vehicles are already delivering products in the US, and 10,000 in total will be on the road by 2022. Meanwhile, Rivian’s latest round of funding raised $2.65 billion15
On the infrastructure front, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund invested in CarbonCure16
. The company manufactures technologies that consume carbon dioxide in concrete during production, permanently sequestering the CO2 and enabling the reduction of cement content in mixes without compromising performance. Amazon will use the technology to help reduce the impact of many of its new buildings, including HQ2 in the US state of Virginia.
Calling all innovators
Technology innovators in MENA should take inspiration from these global examples. Green solutions that not only help the environment but also create value in terms of cost savings, new revenue streams, or improving supply chain resilience are the blueprint for success.
Amazon is a young company in this region and, as we continue to grow, we are committed to doing so sustainably and responsibly. We encourage local entrepreneurs, start-ups, and innovators to join us to help deliver the solutions that combat climate change and do so with innovations that are specifically designed to withstand our region’s unique climate conditions.
So, if you’re working on a game-changing innovation that could help as we progress along our roadmap, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
With swift, collective action between businesses, innovators, and governments, we can build an ecosystem of change that will secure a brighter future for our communities – and for the planet.