E-commerce giant Amazon has this week launched a new grant program for ecologically-minded small businesses and retailers in the US.
Dubbed Products for Tomorrow, the new initiative is offering grants worth up to $20,000 for brands and businesses with “innovative products that were created with sustainability in mind”.
Amazon will offer successful applicants both cash grants and a place on the Amazon Launchpad programme, which the company said has been designed to help new brands and businesses overcome challenges associated with entering a new market. In addition, the program will offer successful applicants guidance and assistance on how to secure sustainability certifications for their products.
The new initiative is similar to a program launched by Amazon and climate innovation hub EIT Climate-KIC in the UK earlier this year. In January, Amazon UK launched the Amazon Launchpad Sustainability Accelerator, which delivers a 12-week bespoke program designed to help sustainable start-ups scale their businesses.
In a statement this week, Amazon US said it was committed to creating a more sustainable shopping experience for its customers. The company said it currently offers more than 300,000 products with sustainability certifications as part of its Climate Pledge Friendly program in the US, but is keen to expand its green product offering still further.
Other recent sustainability efforts announced by Amazon include the launch of Amazon Aware, which it describes as its first ever consciously created private brand, where each product has its own sustainability certification.
In a recent study conducted by Amazon in the US, it found 30 per cent of customers were buying what they considered to be ‘more sustainable products’.
It launched its Climate Pledge Friendly program in the US in 2020, which helps customers find more sustainable products when shopping on its website. According to Amazon, since its launch last year, the number of Climate Pledge Friendly items purchased by customers more than quadrupled this June compared to the same period last year.
“We know customers want more-sustainable products, and we’ve set out to deliver this through large programs like Climate Pledge Friendly and Amazon Aware,” said Cyrus Wadia, director of Product Sustainability at Amazon.
“As we grow these programmes, we are constantly looking for ways to support our smaller selling partners and brands. Products for Tomorrow allow us to reward innovative products with sustainability attributes from smaller brands, and provide them additional support to connect into our larger retail shopping programmes.”