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Amazon orders 100,000 electric delivery vans as it pledges to be carbon neutral by 2040

Olivia Rudgard
One of Rivian's electric vans - Amazon

Amazon is to buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from a US startup as part of a plan to go carbon neutral by 2040.

The online retailer said it would commit to meeting the Paris climate goals a decade early and encouraged other companies to make the same pledge. 

Amazon previously led a $700m (£561m) investment round in Michigan-based Rivian, which unveiled an electric pick-up truck and SUV earlier this year. 

The start-up, which has been touted as a potential rival to California-based electric car and battery firm Tesla, plans to launch the two vehicles next year. 

Amazon said the deal was the "largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles" and said the vans would begin delivering packages to customers in 2021, with all 100,000 on the road by 2030. 

Chief executive Jeff Bezos made the announcement at a Washington DC event alongside Christiana Figueres, the United Nation's former climate change chief, whose organisation Global Optimism co-launched the Climate Pledge, with Amazon as the first signatory. 

The company has in recent years begun growing its own delivery and distribution network, having previously relied on established US firms FedEx and UPS. 

The Paris accord, reached in 2016 by the United Nations, aims to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is expected to require global greenhouse gas emissions to peak in 2020 and be reduced to zero by 2050. 

Mr Bezos said: “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon—which delivers more than 10 billion items a year—can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can. 

"I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge."

Amazon also said it would donate $100 million to restore and protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands and was endeavouring to reduce packaging and make its shipments carbon-neutral.