Amazon supply-chain

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With Amazon’s immense reach comes responsibility, as well as opportunity. Now the largest online retailer in the U.S., with over $60 billion in sales in 2012, this e-commerce giant connects buyers and suppliers from across the world. In many ways, Amazon can be seen as a greener option than traditional storefront retailers because it does not need to operate physical locations. Also, Amazon’s transportation logistics and distribution center efficiencies may reduce the lifecycle energy use of consumer products. If Amazon can embrace sustainable practices, it has the potential to improve the buying experience for customers and differentiate itself further from the competition.

Investors are even asking Amazon for more on sustainability. Calvert Asset Management Company filed another shareholder resolution in 2013 calling for Amazon’s board of directors to produce a report that details how the company is managing sustainability topics relevant to its operations. The resolution has gained considerable backing and Amazon says it will address the request. At the heart of Amazon’s operations rests its supply chain, complicated by the volume of transactions and associated companies and individuals selling on its website. Managing and disclosing sustainability issues in Amazon’s supply chain will be a difficult task.

While that may require an organizational shift, Amazon can leverage the success it had with reinventing the customer experience. In 2002, Amazon introduced the Free Super Saver Shipping program, which offers free shipping on Amazon orders. Then, in 2005, Amazon added Amazon Prime, a two-day free shipping program that has further enhanced the consumer experience and changed the way consumers look at shipping. By changing the location of distribution centers and rethinking logistics, Amazon was able to get products to customers fast, and free, and began to compete more with local brick and mortar shops. Amazon’s work with shipping changes required

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