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Amazon Climate Pledge Adds Canadian Businesses

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The Edmonton International Airport is one of several companies and organizations that have recently signed The Climate Pledge initiative by Amazon and Global Optimism.

The Airport joined well-known brands such as Alaska Airlines, Colgate-Palmolive, Heineken, PepsiCo, Telefónica, and Visa in signing the Pledge which now boasts more than 100 companies. Those companies in total generate more than $1.4 trillion in global annual sales and have more than five million employees across 25 industries in 16 countries.

Signatories to The Climate Pledge agree to:

  • Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis;
  • Implement decarbonization strategies in line with The Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies; and 
  • Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040 — a decade ahead of The Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.

Edmonton International Airport is a self-funded, not-for-profit corporation whose mandate is to drive economic prosperity for the Edmonton area. EIA is Canada’s fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic and the largest major Canadian airport by land area. 

Amazon said EIA’s Airport City Sustainability Campus “is a living lab for accelerating the development, testing, implementation, and commercialization of technology”. EIA offers non-stop connections to destinations across Canada, the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe. EIA is a major economic driver, with an economic output of over C$3.2 billion, supporting over 26,000 jobs.

Tom Ruth

“Being dedicated to sustainability is our core value and it guides all of our decisions and actions in everything we do,” said Tom Ruth, Edmonton International Airport President and CEO. “We are proud of what our team has achieved to tackle environmental challenges, but we can go much further. We are convinced that by joining The Climate Pledge, we will make significant progress in achieving net-zero carbon by 2040.”

Myron Keehn, Vice-President of Air Service and Business Development at the Edmonton International Airport, said sustainability is one of the airport’s core values and it has been for more than 20 years.

“We build sustainably and it’s how we do our business. Very much like Amazon does. It’s a core, critical part of their business. It’s not a separate part of the business. It’s not like we’ve got a strategy sitting somewhere on a shelf. Our ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) is built into our business strategy and our business strategy drives our ESG. It’s a symbiotic relationship between them,” said Keehn. 

“We were looking around the world for like-minded companies that we could align with and help to propel and drive forward at a faster pace the adoption and the implementation and the meaningful movement in helping global climate basically. 

Myron Keehn

“We have a long-standing and meaningful relationship with Amazon in many different fields. This is exactly the type of global organization of like-minded companies that are living those values that we want to align to.”

Amazon said all signatories to the Pledge are taking science-based, high-impact actions to tackle climate change by innovating in supply chain efficiency, sustainable transportation, circular economy, clean energy solutions, and more. Many organizations are also meaningfully involving customers in their journey to net-zero with initiatives focused on innovative packaging and sustainable product design and development, while delivering solutions to empower customers to reduce their own emissions with educational campaigns and sustainable shopping experiences.

“Less than two years ago, Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge and called on other companies to reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early — today more than 100 companies with over $1.4 trillion in global annual revenues and more than five million employees have signed the pledge,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO, in a statement . “We are proud to stand with other signatories to use our scale to decarbonize the economy through real business change and innovation.”

“We helped to initiate The Climate Pledge to prove a model that accelerates decarbonization with the most ambitious companies,” said Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate chief and now founding partner of Global Optimism, in a statement. “Today over 100 companies, including household brands and companies from all industry sectors, have joined The Climate Pledge with its goal of net-zero by 2040. They are demonstrating that moving faster toward decarbonizing their businesses is a pathway to competitive advantage. There is no doubt we’re at a tipping point to establish the low carbon economy envisioned in the Paris Agreement. I commend the leadership of the companies that have joined The Climate Pledge already and look forward to welcoming the next 100.”

Keehn said the airport’s top priority is health, safety and security and after that a key priority is driving economic prosperity in a sustainable way.

“It’s very unique. A lot of airports are very good at what they do and they’re an airport. But we’re so much more than an airport. So for us you can’t be economically sustainable without being environmentally sustainable, without being socially sustainable, without having proper governance. It doesn’t work,” he said.

“For us, the why we’re doing it is we want to leave the planet a better place for our kids but it makes good business sense as well. They’re not mutually exclusive.”

Keehn said that in three years the employment base at the airport has doubled, the economic output increased by over $1.6 billion, and that was driven by ESG. It’s building the world’s largest solar farm at an airport, partnering with a company to produce solar powered products on airport property from solar panels, it has just launched its cogeneration unit.

“We doubled the size of our terminal building in 2012 and cut our energy intensity in half. It’s just inherent in how we do business. We were the first airport in the world to put a natural gas fuelling station in for vehicles with ATCO as a partner,” said Keehn. “We’re the only airport in Alberta, second in Canada, to offer an incentive to taxi drivers to convert their vehicles from just regular gas to hybrid electric or pure other alternative fuel and we did that 10 years ago.

“What we believe is important now more than ever is for corporations and entities to stand up and publicly commit to these things.”

Recently, Amazon announced its first renewable energy investment in Canada—an 80 MW solar project in the County of Newell in Alberta. Once complete, it will produce over 195,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy to the grid, or enough energy to power more than 18,000 Canadian homes for a year.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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