Amazon ‘Aware’, A Contradiction Or A Progression?

Exploring Amazon’s latest sustainable clothing line.

Words By Amy Wild

Bringing conscious products into our homes is vital for helping the planet and our well-being. It is becoming more frequent for big companies to go down a new sustainable path to help the environment and hop on the eco-friendly trend. 

Although Amazon is not exactly known for its positive impact on the environment, due to excess packaging and selling products of unknown origin, they have just launched a new ”eco-friendly” clothing line called Amazon Aware. It includes apparel, home, beauty, and much more, offering a range of basics such as joggers, jeans, and tank tops in neutral colours. All of their clothing ranges from a size XXS to 7XL, other than their jeans that go from 8 to 20, which definitely is a positive tick for Amazon.

The clothing is versatile and basic, meaning it could easily fit into any wardrobe and not slip into being a micro-trend that will be thrown away in two months. Each item is timeless and would be flattering on many body types. For Amazon to begin a clothing line, I think they went down the right path in what clothing they produced. The price range is similar to Zara with t-shirts ranging from £15-20, jumpers around £30, dresses between £25-30 and jeans around £35. So not the most affordable, but for the claimed ”sustainability”, definitely on the cheaper end if it is ethically made. Amazon claims that products are made from recycled polyester, organic cotton, and bio-based ingredients. 

Amazon may be making a big step forward in making environmentally friendly clothing more accessible for the mainstream consumer. Amazon is not the only brand doing this; H&M has a ”conscious” range, which states to contain at least 50% of more sustainable materials – like organic cotton or recycled polyester, and can be found in all of their stores with a green tag. However, I struggle to trust brands like Amazon and H&M’s claims on how sustainable they are. To me, it feels a bit like greenwashing, sticking an environmentally friendly sticker on items that would sell better. 

However, this is not the first time Amazon has delved into sustainability. Amazon launched its Climate Pledge Friendly program back in 2020 as a way to help customers discover products that were more sustainable on Amazon. Now, when shopping on Amazon, a small green icon saying ”climate pledge friendly” will be seen under the price of the item, telling customers that these products were produced in a way that supports social, economic, and environmental sustainability. 

This program is certified by the Climate Partner’s climate-neutral certification and global recycled standard, indicating that products were made using at least 50% recycled materials. This is definitely a step forward in creating more conscious shopping habits for consumers. According to Amazon, they are also working on reinventing and simplifying their packaging to make a sustainable change across their packing supply chain.

However, this eco-friendly product line and sustainable efforts are slightly ironic. According to the Oceans report, Amazon created 599 million pounds of plastic packaging waste last year, with up to 23.5 million pounds entering the world’s oceans. The report stated that it is the equivalent of “dumping a delivery van payload of plastic into the oceans every 67 minutes”. To combat this, Amazon released a statement saying that they are “making rapid progress in reducing or removing single-use plastics” from its packaging, and Amazon is committed to “achieving net-zero carbon by 2040”. So, let’s hope Amazon sticks to that.

I think it is great that Amazon is boosting sustainable products through its Climate Pledge Friendly program and creating an ethically made clothing line with inclusive sizing. However, one of the main problems with clothing and products is overconsumption, even if the products are more sustainable. Along with this, they are being promoted on Amazon, one of the companies that produce the most considerable amount of waste. 
One good thing about such a worldwide known business like amazon pulling its weight into new initiatives for sustainability is that their promotion of sustainable products and fashion lines is helping consumers be more conscious of their consumption and modeling the change we need to see more.
Let’s hope that other businesses follow on from Amazon and begin to think more about sustainability when producing their products.