Amazon India recently announced expansion of the Packaging-Free Shipment (PFS) initiative to 9 cities in India including Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Hyderabad. Packaging-free shipping refers to orders shipped in their original packaging without secondary or additional packaging. With this initiative, Amazon aims to reduce waste generated from secondary packaging of customer orders. The program is one of many sustainability initiatives to help achieve Shipment Zero, the company’s vision to make all Amazon shipments net zero carbon, with 50% of all shipments net zero by 2030.
The program is applicable to certain orders based on pre-defined parameters like the location of the customer, distance the order has to travel and the category of product ordered. Products that are shipped packaging-free include automotive accessories, tech accessories, home and home improvement products, shoes, luggage, and more. Liquids, fragile items, or products that need privacy are never shipped packaging free.
With packaging-free shipments, Amazon India minimizes secondary packaging required for individual shipments by securing multiple shipments together in a reusable crate or a corrugate box. For example, in Bangalore, all shipments for Whitefield would leave the Bangalore Fulfilment Centre in the form of reusable crates that serve as protected covering for individual shipments, and thus eliminates the need to secure and pack each and every shipment with additional packaging material. The program is now set to expand to cover more regions, with a wider selection of products and a larger customer base by the end of this year.
Akhil Saxena, Vice President, Customer Fulfillment, Amazon India, said, “At Amazon, we are constantly listening to customer feedback, which is extremely important to us. We hear when customers are pleased that their orders arrive on time and in perfect condition, and also when customers are looking for more sustainable packaging solutions. This has led to the new packaging innovation – delivering products packaging-free. Our investment in protecting the environment ensures a triple win – it is good for our planet, good for our customers and community, and good for the business.”
The pilot of this India first initiative gave Amazon tremendous insight on customer response and has helped them improve and expand the program. For example, one happy customer said “I am extremely happy to see that the shoe box for my order has been delivered without any additional packaging. It is nice to see that there is no wasted packaging material used just for delivery”. Customers who receive their orders without secondary packing are informed of this initiative via email and also in a paper pouch placed on their physical shipment.
Impact of other environment friendly initiatives:
• Large scale solar panels in 10 Fulfilment centres and Sort centres.
• ~10 MM units of solar energy to be generated this this year
• Installed Solar panels in 4 Amazon Cares Community & Resource Centers
• Donated solar energy systems to 30 schools in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra
Amazon’s other initiatives in India, in line with its commitment to protect the environment include installations of large-scale solar panel systems at 7 fulfillment centres and 3 sortation centres. This investment will help Amazon India generate close to 10 MM units of solar energy by the end of the year to support the annual energy needs of these buildings, reducing dependency on conventional sources of energy. These investments are part of Amazon’s long-term goal to power our global infrastructure using 100% renewable energy.
Amazon India has also extended its commitment to protect the environment to the communities around its fulfillment centres. It has set up solar energy systems in 4 Amazon Cares Community and Resource Centres in Haryana and around 30 government schools and 1 mini-planetarium in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra. This infrastructure supports the needs of more than 4000 students and community members across 70 villages in Haryana and Maharashtra. Amazon’s other recent environment-friendly initiatives include its assistance in the rejuvenation of the Mahadevpura Lake in Bengaluru and large-scale sapling plantation drive around its fulfillment centres.