Amazon has taken its biggest step into the world of sustainable goods with the launch of Amazon Aware, a collection of clothing, beauty, bed & bath, and household products designed by an in-house team. They’re dedicated to using recycled or sustainable materials without sacrificing quality or over inflating their price.
Each item created under this label is made with sustainable materials, organic ingredients, or its production is carbon neutral. In some cases, items can fit multiple criteria. A great example of this is, the Amazon Aware Daily Body Wash, which is vegan, never tested on animals during development, and formulated without fragrances. The Amazon Aware Hand Towels are made using organic cotton yarn that’s been certified as such using the Global Organic Textile Standards. These towels have also been certified as Made in Green by Oeko-Tex, and carbon neutral by ClimatePartner. These are staples you can use every day, so it’s great to have a sustainable option that’s easily accessible.
To be clear: Amazon isn't casually stamping new products as "Amazon Aware" without any oversight; each item in this collection has been certified by third-party organizations. The exact certification varies depending on the item's category. For example, pieces from the Amazon Aware apparel lines will meet the Organic Content Standard 100, Global Recycled Standard, or High Index Materials Seal, whereas toiletries may be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. These standards were developed independently, with no input from Amazon. Individual product pages will go further into depth about how or why that item has earned its certification, and clarify how it judges claims of carbon neutrality.
The launch of Amazon Aware is a follow up to the company's "Climate Pledge Friendly'' initiative, which was launched last year. This program was designed to highlight companies designing sustainably made products, or using more efficient packaging. The "Climate Pledge Friendly'' badge isn’t itself a certification, it's a signifier that an item has been certified by a third-party organization — including Fairtrade, Cradle To Cradle, Green Seal, and Ecologo — to be more sustainably made than alternatives.
Commitment to Sustainability
It makes sense that Amazon would use the same principles it established when designing the Climate Friendly Pledge program to apply to products it makes. In fact, some of Amazon's recent technology, like its Echo Speaker (4th Gen), have earned the Climate Pledge Friendly badge after being certified by the organization The Carbon Trust to use less CO2 each year. In that case, the Echo can enter a low power state that requires less energy than previous Echo speakers when it's not actively in use.
A big part of what makes Amazon Aware so impressive is the volume of items available at launch. There are 104 products across all four categories, with a majority of them falling under the clothing umbrella. Amazon is committed to adding more products (or introducing new categories) in the future, but has not announced any plans on when that will happen.
The main purpose of Amazon Aware is to give shoppers even more sustainable options when searching for staples, but Amazon has also taken steps to address other inequities you may experience when shopping. In the case of apparel, that means offering a wide array of sizes. A pair of men’s cropped jeans is available in sizes ranging from 28W x 30L to 42W x 34L, while its Women's Fit and Flare Dress is available in sizes ranging from XX-Small to 7X-Large. Importantly, the price for those items ($44.90 and $39.90 respectively) is the same regardless of the size you choose. From the start, Amazon Aware products are designed to be accessible to everyone. This continues the work Amazon has done with clothing released under its Amazon Essentials brand, which also includes the same emphasis on offering a range of size options.
Amazon's focus on accessible pricing is present on all of the products launching under its Amazon Aware branding. All of its beauty products, from vegan body wash to face moisturizer formulated with natural ingredients like avocado and sunflower oil, cost less than $20. Apparel starts at $18.90 for a 100 percent organic cotton T-shirt and tops out at $59 for a 100 percent recycled polyester Sherpa jacket.
Yes, it's easy to find products in these categories that cost a lot less, but they'll almost certainly lack the certifications that Amazon's alternatives have earned. The point is to give shoppers a more environmentally friendly alternative on the staples they rely on most often while continuing to offer the traditional benefits of shopping on Amazon, like fast shipping and competitive pricing.
We won't know how successful Amazon Aware is for at least a couple of months, but the program's launch signals the online retail giant's growing commitment to sustainability. Notably, the company's dominance in the world of e-commerce may encourage its competitors to focus on making attainably-priced sustainable goods to stay competitive.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.