Visualizing Amazon's Rising Shipping Costs
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Visualizing Amazon’s Rising Shipping Costs

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The Briefing

  • Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment costs have soared to over $150 billion
  • Global supply chain constraints have accelerated these costs, which are now 40x their 2009 levels

Visualizing Amazon’s Rising Shipping Costs

Most investors would agree that Amazon has been a winner during the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, in two short years from 2019 to 2021, sales soared to $469 billion from $280 billion and their market cap surged towards a $1.7 trillion valuation.

But even the best of companies have had to navigate choppy waters and uncertainty during this time. For Amazon, this has come in the form of cost pressures in their shipping and fulfillment department, which are now representing an increasingly large share of revenues.

Just how large are Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment costs becoming?

In 2021, shipping and fulfillment costs added up to $151.8 billion. Shipping, which includes sortation, delivery centers, and transportation costs amounted to $76.7 billion. Fulfillment costs, which include cost of operating and staff fulfillment centers, were $75.1 billion.

As a result of these trends, Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment expenses now represent 32% of their revenues:

YearCost as a % of revenue
202132%
202031%
201928%
201827%
201726%
201625%
201523%
201422%
201320%
201219%
201118%

As you can see, costs are escalating, and today’s figure is almost twice that of the 18% figure seen in 2011.

Amazon Web Services to the Rescue

While these expenses are rising, it’s important to remember that Amazon’s profits are still healthy. They generated $33 billion in profits for 2021. One reason for this is that the majority of Amazon’s profits never came from ecommerce to begin with. Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is a much higher margin segment of their business, accounts for over 50% of their operating profits, but only 13% of their sales.

AWS is such a profit generating machine that prominent investors have called for Amazon to spin off AWS into its own entity. They argue that pure play technology companies are often assigned a higher equity multiple, and spinning off AWS would be accretive to shareholder value.

Rising Costs to Scale

The $151.8 billion in expenditures towards shipping and fulfillment is absolutely massive. On a per minute basis, this results in $288K per minute in expenses, compared to their $956K in revenue per minute.

Another way to put this gargantuan figure to scale is to remember that this business expense is greater than the equity value of about 90% of all companies in the S&P 500.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Statista
Notes: Fulfillment costs include customer service centers and payment processing costs

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The Rising Demand for Nature-based Climate Solutions

Carbon credits from nature-based solutions are in high demand as organizations look to shrink their carbon footprints.

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The Briefing

  • Nature-based climate solutions include conservation, restoration, and land management projects that avoid, reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Carbon credits from nature-based projects accounted for over 66% of transaction value in the voluntary carbon markets in 2021.

The Rising Demand for Nature-based Climate Solutions

The world’s forests are important carbon sinks that absorb a net 7.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) annually.

Therefore, regrowing, preserving, and managing forests and other natural carbon sinks is crucial to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and nature-based climate solutions are one way to do so.

Nature-based solutions refer to conservation, restoration, and land management projects that generate carbon credits by avoiding, reducing or sequestering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With more organizations committing to climate targets, carbon credits from these projects have been in high demand.

The above graphic sponsored by Carbon Streaming Corporation looks at the growing demand for carbon credits generated by nature-based projects using data from Ecosystem Marketplace.

The Growth of Nature-based Carbon Credits

With the race to net-zero ramping up, carbon markets have been growing as a whole.

In fact, the value of total transactions in the voluntary carbon markets in 2021 reached nearly $2 billion—more than tripling since 2020. Forestry and Land Use carbon credit projects led the growth, accounting for over 66% or over $1.3 billion worth of transactions in 2021.

Here’s a full breakdown of transaction values by project category:

Transaction YearForestry and Land UseRenewable EnergyEnergy Efficiency / Fuel SwitchingHousehold / Community DevicesOther and UnknownTotal
2016 $67M$25M$13M$18M$76M$199M
2017 $63M$32M$3M$12M$37M$146M
2018 $172M$41M$8M$30M$46M$296M
2019 $159M$60M$12M$25M$64M$320M
2020 $315M$102M$30M$36M$36M$520M
2021 $1,328M$479M$22M$43M$113M$1,985M

Figures have been rounded and may not sum up to the total.

Forestry and Land Use projects manage forests, soil, grasslands, and other land types to avoid or reduce carbon emissions or increase carbon sequestration. These projects generate one carbon credit for every tonne of CO2 equivalent GHGs that they remove or avoid from entering the atmosphere.

At the same time, they may offer co-benefits that can advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals through improvements in biodiversity, soil health, air and water quality, and the livelihoods of local communities.

Therefore, Forestry and Land Use projects have a significant role to play in reaching net zero. In fact, according to research published in the scientific journal Nature, letting forests regrow naturally has the potential to absorb up to 8.9 billion tonnes of CO2 annually through 2050, while still maintaining native grasslands and current food production levels.

Nature’s Role in Reaching Net Zero

For organizations looking to achieve their sustainability goals, nature-based solutions offer an opportunity to preserve and restore critical carbon sinks while supporting biodiversity and local communities. As a result, these types of carbon credits often trade at a premium, and their demand is skyrocketing, especially with more corporations committing to sustainability.

Carbon Streaming aims to accelerate a net-zero future. It pioneered the use of streaming transactions, a proven and flexible funding model, to scale high-integrity carbon credit projects to accelerate global climate action and advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It focuses on projects that have a positive impact on the environment, local communities, and biodiversity, in addition to their carbon reduction or removal potential.

>>>Interested in learning more about Carbon Streaming? Click here to learn more.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Ecosystem Marketplace

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Visualizing the Forest Funding Gap Relative to Emissions

Deforestation accounts for 10% of global CO2 emissions, yet receives just a small slice of climate funding. See why closing this funding gap is necessary to combat climate change. (Sponsored)

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The Briefing

  • Deforestation accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions
  • Deforestation receives just 2.2% of climate funding

The Forest Funding Gap

Climate change has been referred to as modern day civilization’s greatest challenge. And stopping deforestation is an important step in the battle to stop rising global temperatures. Yet, when you look at the amount of climate funding earmarked for deforestation, something doesn’t add up.

This graphic from The LEAF Coalition looks at the state of global deforestation and compares how much climate funding it receives relative to its global CO2 emissions.

Deforestation’s Role in Global Emissions

Protecting our forests and protecting the climate are one in the same. In fact, the data reveals that tropical deforestation accounts for 10% of global CO2 emissions.

What’s more, these levels of emissions exceed that of all individual countries except for the U.S. and China. Despite this, climate funding towards deforestation only accounts for $14 billion of the over $618 billion available, representing a small 2.2% slice of the total.

This is especially problematic when considering a forest’s carbon stock and carbon sequestration capabilities. Here’s how different forests across the globe compare when looking at gigatonnes of carbon stock.

EcosystemEstimated Carbon Stock (Gt)Annual Loss Rate
Tropical moist forests 295 Gt0.45%
Boreal forests283 Gt0.18%
Temperate broadleaf forests133 Gt0.35%
Temperate conifer forests66 Gt0.28%
Tropical dry forests14 Gt0.58%
Mangroves7.3Gt0.13%

A carbon stock or carbon pool refers to a system that can store carbon and take it out of the atmosphere. Forests are used to offset plenty of carbon emissions, and by some estimates, it would cost $25 billion for additional carbon offsets to match and compensate for unabated emissions.

This is crucial because unabated emissions are those who’s harm are not reduced from carbon reduction methods. While this may sound like a lot, it’s equivalent to just 1.5% of the profits from Fortune Global 500 companies.

Altogether, approximately 30% of global emissions are absorbed by forests each year. Despite this, 3.75 million hectares of tropical primary rainforest were lost in 2021, equivalent to 600 football pitches per hour.

Turning The Page

It’s practically impossible to effectively tackle climate change without addressing deforestation. The broader agriculture, forestry and other land use category (which includes deforestation) accounts for 21% of all global CO2 emissions.

Swift action is required in order to slow deforestation and decelerate rising average temperatures. See how The LEAF Coalition, a public-private initiative, is accelerating climate action by providing results-based finance to countries committed to protecting tropical forests.

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