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Online retailer Amazon has launched an eco-friendly platform which aims to reduce the amount of packaging used in delivering products to customers, as well as reducing its carbon emissions.

Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, revealed the Climate Pledge Friendly in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, saying the programme will enable customers to find and shop for more sustainable products, according to This Is Money.

The firm has previously been criticised for its excessive use of packaging, often using large boxes filled with paper or plastic filling when sending small purchases. To mitigate this, customers will now see the Climate Pledge Friendly badge on over 40,000 products in Europe.

The badge will denote that the product has one or more of 19 different sustainability certifications to help ‘preserve the natural world’.

The products include items such as plastic-free shampoo bars and refillable cleaning sprays.

Along with the new initiative, the retailer has introduced a new externally-validated certification called Compact by Design in Europe that identifies products that have an efficient design, for example, by using less packaging, changing the shape of the packaging, or using packaging with less weight.

Amazon hopes with these small changes, such as the removal of excess air and water so products require less packaging, it will lead to significant carbon emission reductions. It has also partnered with a range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits and independent laboratories, to help it distinguish more sustainable products. 

However, environmental experts have criticised the move, saying it doesn’t go far enough.

Will McCallum, Greenpeace UK senior campaigner, said: “Amazon sells millions of products and this latest initiative covers just a tiny fraction of the total. By certifying only a limited range of goods, Amazon is implicitly admitting that the rest of its business model isn’t up to scratch.”

He added that the climate crisis needs more than just token gestures, and companies such as Amazon should take more responsibility in moving consumers away from the culture of single-use products.

Last year Amazon was heavily criticised for using packaging that couldn’t be recycled, and that services such as Amazon Prime that offer one-day delivery for members means there are more delivery vehicles on the streets. Events such as Prime Day causes a frenzy of online shopping, all to be delivered within 24 hours, meaning even more vehicles.

Amazon has said the Climate Pledge Friendly initiative supports its commitment to reach the Paris Agreement ten years early and be net-zero carbon by 2040. The firm says it is working to minimise waste, increase recycling and provide options for customers to reuse, repair, and recycle products.

As part of this effort, it is removing a wide range of single-use and oxo-biodegradable plastic products from its websites across Europe and the UK to help prevent plastic waste.

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