The retailer aimed to capitalise on shoppers wanting to protect the environment when it launched Amazon Aware last March – offering “conscious” and “more sustainable” choices. Presented in muted tones and a logo in which the “a” in “aware” is transformed into a leaf, the tech giant’s branding gives an impression of “green” lines.
Matt Taddy, vice president of Amazon Private Brands, boasted: “We are committed to creating programmes that contribute toward a more sustainable future.”
Yet an investigation found that out of 20 items ordered from the range’s 103 products, every item bar two arrived wrapped in single-use plastic, despite several being delivered in the same box.
All but one item, recycled toilet paper, were made overseas. Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones, left, likened the concept to “medieval indulgences that rich people paid to the church to bribe their way into heaven”.
She accused Amazon of “greenwashing on a grotesque scale”, adding: “Putting a green gloss on individually plastic-wrapped items from half a world away is not going to cut it.”
A national newspaper’s expose said three pairs of socks costing £17.80 were made in Pakistan and arrived wrapped in clear plastic.
And items such as £43.99 bed linen, promoted as sustainable by paid influencers on social media, were made in countries including Vietnam, Bangladesh and India.
The £810billion firm insists all Aware items are “carbon neutral”, having had emissions offset.
But carbon offsetting, where companies pay towards schemes aimed at reducing greenhouse gas is controversial in itself.
And Baroness Jones said that “it often doesn’t work”.
The revelation comes as conservation group Oceana claim Amazon generated 271,700 tons of plastic waste with up 10,659 tons ending up in the sea in 2021.