We are proud to announce our expanded collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an international charity dedicated to creating a circular economy. As a Strategic Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Network, we will work to leverage Amazon’s reach, technology, and innovation capabilities, and the Foundation’s subject matter expertise to launch and scale circular economy solutions.
A circular economy helps tackle climate change, biodiversity loss, and other global challenges by decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. The Foundation is working to create a circular economy driven by design to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (keeping them in use at their highest value), and regenerate nature.
Amazon’s commitment to sustainability includes The Climate Pledge, which we co-founded in 2019 as a commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. A circular economy is integral to accomplish this goal and a priority across all areas of Amazon’s business, from packaging to products to data centers.
A key area of focus for the collaboration will be certifications for products with circular attributes. Along with the Foundation, we are working with two certification organizations: the NSF, which develops public health standards and services that help protect the environment, and International and Scientific Certification Systems Global (SCS Global).
The aim is to develop rigorous third-party certifications that recognize key circular attributes for products, and encourage and reward intentional design that supports circularity.
The goal of these certifications is to provide customers with the information they need to make a more circular choice. They will also encourage brands, original equipment manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and ecommerce platforms to create products that are designed in accordance with circular economy principles.
One such certification is the Recycled Content Standard for Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The standard launched in May 2023 as a certification extension to SCS Global’s widely used Recycled Content Standard that verifies the total percentage of recycled materials in these products against set minimum thresholds of achievement by both material input and specific product type. To achieve certification, products also must contain more than one recycled material input, thus promoting the use of more and varied recycled materials.
These certifications are intended to qualify for inclusion into our Climate Pledge Friendly Program, which helps customers discover more-sustainable products by labeling products with sustainability certifications. Working with the Foundation, we will continue exploring circularity certifications and encourage adoption to establish industrywide standards.
Additionally, the Foundation’s Plastics Initiative is working with reuse partners and experts to develop a vision for scaling returnable packaging systems. Amazon and AWS Global Impact Computing Teams are supporting this work with future visualization and analytical modelling to show how scaled reuse systems can perform economically, environmentally, and experientially in comparison to single-use packaging.
“Circular economy initiatives are integral to us meeting our Climate Pledge goal, and as with many aspects of sustainability, industry standards and collaboration are also essential,” said Rich Loretto, director of circular economy at Amazon. “The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has done amazing research and work to create frameworks for us all to work toward. Their advice will be extremely valuable as we work on our own initiatives, and their Network will help to ensure those initiatives can scale to have greater impact across the industry.”
“We are excited to start working with Amazon on a range of circular economy initiatives—the company’s influence, ability to innovate, and capacity to scale solutions means there is huge scope to drive real transformational change,” said Joe Murphy, executive lead for network at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “We have already started and are looking forward to supporting their circular economy journey with our long-term collaboration.”
The success of circular economy initiatives heavily relies on collaboration, adoption, and scale, and we look forward to bringing together our fellow Climate Pledge signatories with the Foundation to ignite idea-sharing and joint action.
This is kicking off with a workshop hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy focused on transitioning to a circular economy for plastics. Climate Pledge signatories will join over 100 academics, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other companies to share ideas, opportunities, research, and more.
Learn more about Amazon’s sustainability efforts.