Are Green Supply Chains Important?

Amazon Continues to Build Its Sustainability Team

On-line giant Amazon has never pushed a sustainability message all that much, and unlike many of its brick and mortar rivals such as Walmart and Target it has never issued a sustainability report.

Is that soon to change?

A few weeks ago, Amazon hired Dara O’Rourke as a principal scientist in its sustainable science team. O’Rourke was previously a professor of environmental and labor policy at UC Berkeley. In the 1990s, he drew attention to the issue of sweatshops in developing countries by exposing what he called “exploitative and hazardous working conditions” in factories in China, Vietnam and Indonesia, notably those supplying Nike, and later was co-founder of Good Guide, a web site which rates the environmental and social performance of consumer products.

O’Rourke joins a team led by Kara Hurst, the company’s director of worldwide sustainability and social responsibility, who became Amazon’s first sustainability leader in 2014. Hurst is the former CEO of The Sustainability Consortium.

Christine Bader
, author of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist, joined Amazon last August. Then in December, the company hired Christina Page, who led energy and sustainability strategy at Yahoo for eight years.

As usual, Amazon isn’t saying much, and is not making any of these executives available for interviews yet. But when Amazon does something, it does it big, so it seems likely that before long Amazon will make a big sustainability splash, and expects that first Amazon sustainability report to show up before too long.

What especially intrigues us is this notion of “sustainability science.” Is it possible Amazon will take on sustainability with a whole new approach to what we have largely seen thus far? Our guess is Yes. But we also guess drones emit a lot of CO2 per delivery.




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