Since launching in Seattle in 2017, the Sustainability Ambassadors programme has transformed into a growing, collaborative community of more than 7,500 ambassadors and in 450 locations, or ‘chapters’, across the world.
As part of Amazon’s mission to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, we are committed to building a sustainable business and working towards a net-zero carbon future. The Sustainability Ambassadors programme expands on Amazon’s global sustainability efforts such as The Climate Pledge, sustainable operations, steps toward a circular economy and more.
Ambassadors work on a local level to raise awareness of everyday sustainable practices through environmental education and events. They lead projects and develop initiatives at Amazon sites and across their local communities to help people reduce their environmental impact at home or at work.
In the UK, there are around 1,000 Sustainability Ambassadors who come from nearly all business functions at Amazon. To find out more about the UK programme and its impact so far, we sat down with Laura Huff, the UK Chapter Chair of the Sustainability Ambassadors programme, and reflected on Amazon’s Earth Month community engagement campaign.
Driving sustainability forward with practical intervention
Amazon Ads Senior Manager, Laura Huff, became involved with the Sustainability Ambassadors programme to channel her passion for sustainability at work and drive change as an individual.
My dream scenario is to get to a place where everyone at Amazon understands what they do is tied to sustainability, no matter their role.
Laura first showed the impact ambassadors can have by setting up the New York chapter of the Sustainability Ambassadors Programme in 2018, pioneering a food waste collection for Amazon’s buildings. When she moved to London in 2019 for her current role, she took over as chair of the UK chapter so she could continue her work encouraging colleagues to make an impact.
“Amazon employees become Sustainability Ambassadors because they want to learn more about sustainability in general, understand what Amazon is doing in this area and find practical ways to help. The programme is essentially about practical intervention.”
“For example, the UK chapter created a 15-minute sustainability training programme to help all UK employees make positive changes in their working day. It provides specific guidance on how to have a more sustainable commute, which waste goes in which bins and practical advice on energy consumption when working from home and traveling for business.”
“Our main role as Sustainability Ambassadors is to raise the importance of sustainability practices in our teams and networks. We do this mostly through education and engagement. We run training and events to help people understand sustainability and why it’s important, and we use newsletters and volunteering to engage our local communities in our initiatives.
“We had a lot of engagement pre-pandemic and built a strong community. We even managed to maintain this during lockdowns, but I'm hoping we’ll be able to do more in-person events in future and drive more discussion and connection amongst employees.
“There’s already a lot happening across Amazon and the opportunity to drive change as a company is immense. That’s why I’m excited about one of our newest Leadership Principles, ‘Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility’, and I’m hopeful it mobilises employees at all levels to embody that mindset in their roles.
“My dream scenario is to get to a place where everyone at Amazon understands what they do is tied to sustainability, no matter their role.”
Mobilising employee volunteers for Earth Month
Joining forces for Earth Month this year, Amazon Sustainability and Community Engagement Ambassadors came together to engage thousands of employees and partners to demonstrate a commitment to the planet.
More than 8,400 employees at Amazon across 165 sites came together during Earth Month to take part in community clean ups, sustainability quizzes, pledge to build more sustainable habits and even donate trees to be planted.
The local community clean ups saw 1,298 Amazon employees take part across 45 sites and donate almost 2,000 hours to litter picking. Across the UK these volunteers collected a total of 156,373 litres of litter in 45 different communities.
Merel, an Amazon employee at the Hemel Hempstead site who took part in a litter pick, said, “It’s been the best activity so far! Colleagues were grateful for the opportunity to help their local communities as many of them have children who play in the parks we visited to clean up. Local people we met in the parks thanked Amazon employees for their efforts too!”
The Community Engagement Ambassadors also partnered with Eco Schools to fund a Green Flag Accreditation and teacher training for 15 schools across London. Green Flags are globally recognised to acknowledge and reward the ecological achievements of young people, and this funding impacted over 5,800 children, helping to educate them on sustainability and encouraging them to be environmental ambassadors themselves.
To ensure that the sustainability efforts of Amazon UK employees have a global impact, Community Engagement Ambassadors worked with Justdiggit, a leading environmental organisation that is working to regreen Africa. With Amazon’s help, 6,678 new water bunds were dug in Africa’s driest communities, helping to collect more water from rainfall and restore barren landscapes. These water bunds will collect 60 million litres of water annually and will regreen an area the size of 10 Amazon fulfilment centres.
With such brilliant efforts during Earth Month from our employees at Amazon, we’re looking forward to the Global Month of Volunteering in September where our Sustainability and Community Engagement Ambassadors will be inspiring employees once again to volunteer in their local communities for causes they are most passionate about.
Learn more about sustainability at Amazon.