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Custom boxes and fast charging: The next companies funded by Amazon’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund

The latest investments from Amazon’s internal venture capital fund show where it’s hoping to try to reduce its footprint.

Custom boxes and fast charging: The next companies funded by Amazon’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund
[Source Image: yucelyilmaz/iStock]

When you order a small item from Amazon, you likely get it delivered in a larger box that’s filled with plastic padding or air pillows—single-use plastic bags of air, meant to protect that product inside its box. But a new investment from the company’s Climate Pledge Fund could change that. Amazon is investing in a company called CMC Machinery, which makes custom-size boxes specifically tailored to the dimensions of a product in a given order—and the e-commerce giant says this technology could reduce the use of approximately 1 billion plastic air pillows by the end of 2022.

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“We know our customers want right-sized, recyclable packaging that reduces the use of plastic materials,” Kara Hurst, vice president and head of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, said in a statement. The investment in CMC Machinery is one of three new rounds of funding aimed at reducing Amazon’s packaging waste and use of fossil fuels.

In 2019, Amazon announced its Climate Pledge, a commitment to become net-zero carbon across its business by 2040. And in 2020, the company launched its Climate Pledge Fund, a $2 billion internal venture capital fund focused on supporting startups making products that Amazon can then use in its quest to meet its climate goals. Since that announcement, the company has invested in carbon capture, companies that recycle e-waste, and electric delivery vehicles.

Along with CMC Machinery, Amazon is now investing in Resilient Power, a company working on technology to build fast electric-vehicle-charging infrastructure at a smaller size and in a quicker time frame. The technology can charge up to 24 vehicles at a time, on infrastructure one-tenth the size of traditional EV charging sites, according to the company. “We plan to have 100,000 electric vehicles deployed on the roads by 2030, which is projected to save millions of metric tons of carbon per year,” Hurst said. “Resilient Power is building products that accelerate the deployment of EV charging systems everywhere we deliver packages to customers, and its technology could help bolster our infrastructure to support our vehicles and drivers.”

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Amazon is also announcing a second round of funding in Infinium, which makes renewable fuels that could be an alternative for diesel and jet fuels used in air transport, truck fleets, and even marine freights. Amazon previously invested in Infinium in January 2021, and says this second round of funding will speed up its efforts to move all Amazon transportation, including package delivery, away from fossil fuels.

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