Microsoft and 12 others join Amazon's climate change initiative

Unilever also pledged to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Bernt Ove Moss / EyeEm via Getty Images

Microsoft and 12 other companies have joined Amazon's Climate Pledge, which is a commitment to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2040. The project aims to meet the climate goals of the United Nations Paris Agreement a decade early. Signatories also agree to regularly report their greenhouse gas emissions.

Back in January, Microsoft committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030. Over the next 30 years, it also plans to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975. The company has been carbon neutral since 2012.

“No one company or organization can meaningfully address the climate crisis on their own. It will take aggressive approaches, new innovative technologies and strong commitment to collaboration across industries and economic sectors,” Lucas Joppa, Microsoft's chief environmental officer, said in a statement. “By joining The Climate Pledge community and working together, we will be able to collectively rise to the challenge and curb our emissions so that we can make progress toward a net zero future.”

Among the other companies who just joined the Climate Pledge are Unilever, UK broadcaster ITV and Coca-Cola European Partners. Previous signatories include Uber, Best Buy, Siemens and Engadget's parent company Verizon.

Amazon and Global Optimism co-founded the Climate Pledge last year. The company has taken some concrete steps towards its zero carbon goals, such as ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants the company to only use renewable energy sources by 2030.

“There are now 31 companies from around the world that have signed The Climate Pledge, and collectively we are sending an important signal to the market that there is significant and rapidly growing demand for technologies that can help us build a zero-carbon economy,” Bezos said.

However, critics have claimed the project lacks transparency. As the Washington Post notes, the Climate Pledge doesn't regulate what emissions signatories measure or disclose. Bezos announced the pledge after employees urged the company to take more action to combat climate change.

This year, more than 8,000 companies sent reports to CDP, which used to be called the Carbon Disclosure Project. The non-profit gave Microsoft, Alphabet and Apple a climate change rating of A, partly because they were transparent with their environmental impact data. Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, none of which participated this year, received F ratings.