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Launch: Bend + Amazon Business

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We are excited to announce that Bend is launching an integration with Amazon Business. Bend customers can now automatically measure the climate impact of every item in their Amazon orders.

‘Scope 3’ emissions — those from the goods and services companies buy — make up more than 80% of most companies’ total emissions. While too important to ignore, scope 3 emissions are notoriously difficult to measure. Amazon — where companies go to purchase everything from office supplies (paper towels, staplers, etc.) to IT products (computer monitors, printers, etc.) to snacks (coffee, granola bars, etc.) — facilitates a large chunk of this scope 3 spending.

Imagine an office manager at a tech company, who buys paper towels, hand soap, a computer monitor, and granola bars from Amazon. The climate impact of these four products, representing a subset of a typical month of Amazon expenses for this business, are very different:

  • 🧻 = 17.28 kg CO2e
    • Source: Bounty; ($36 for 12 rolls) x (0.48 kg CO2e/$)
  • 🧼 = 3.22 kg CO2e
  • 🖥️ = 90.60 kg CO2e
    • Source: Samsung; ($302 for 1 monitor) x (0.30 kg CO2e/$)
  • 🥜 = 41.40 kg CO2e
    • Source: KIND; ($90 for 80 bars) x (0.46 kg CO2e/$)

Note: Bend takes a ‘spend-based’ approach to calculating climate impact, measured in kilograms of CO2e. The formula is simple: your spend ($) × ‘carbon emissions factor’ (kg CO2e/$). For more information on how we calculate emissions, check out our blog post here.

In the absence of this line item-level detail, Bend uses a ‘rolled-up’ or ‘merchant-level’ approach to calculate the emissions of a given transaction: your spend ($) × merchant-level ‘carbon emissions factor’. The merchant-level carbon emissions factor is equivalent to either the: (1) merchant factor, if the company discloses their greenhouse gas inventories (e.g., big companies like Starbucks) or (2) category factor, i.e., ‘merchant category code’ (MCC) if the company has not disclosed their emissions (e.g., local coffee shop). With retail shopping, a transaction is more likely to include an assortment of goods from different merchants (e.g., Bounty, Mrs. Meyer’s, etc.), so this merchant-level CO2e estimation is less effective. You really need to know what somebody is buying on Amazon to understand the overall footprint of the transaction.

Bend + Amazon Business

This is why Bend is launching an integration with Amazon Business. To get started, Amazon Business customers connect their account on Bend. Then, when employees purchase products on Amazon, the specific line-item details are pulled in and matched to the corresponding financial transaction.

How does it work?

All products on Amazon have a corresponding UNSPSC code. UNSPSC stands for ‘United Nations Standard Products and Services Code’ — there are tens of thousands of these codes, from ‘computer mouse or trackballs’ (43211708) to ‘moist food for cats’ (10121805). In addition to merchant-level carbon emissions factors, Bend’s database also contains categorical-level factors, ranging from paper-based products to computer peripherals, etc. Using modeling, the team at Bend has meticulously cross-referenced these categorical-level factors against UNSPSC — resulting in accurate, inflation-adjusted, localized emissions factors for every relevant UNSPSC code.

This methodology is the gold standard, aligned with carbon accounting best practices, including the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the ISO 14001 standard. The reason companies only rarely measure CO2e down to the line-item level today is that it’s too labor intensive. Fortunately, Bend’s integration with Amazon Business completely automates this work. You get the benefit of detailed sustainability analysis, without the manual effort.

Make progress towards your sustainability goals

Every purchase decision matters. Armed with this fully-automated, high-resolution data, procurement managers and employees can make sustainability-informed purchase decisions. Within Amazon Business, procurement managers can create spend policies that encourage employees to purchase Climate Pledge Friendly products over alternatives. They can set goals and track the emissions from their purchasing over time. Even if companies never look at the line-item details, they can have full confidence that their scope 3 emissions are being accurately tracked, on auto-pilot.

Carbon accounting today is still largely a cottage industry — we need more automated, accurate, actionable solutions. But momentum is building: Amazon itself pioneered The Climate Pledge in 2019, and aims to be net zero by 2040. Gentle, targeted nudges at opportune moments in aggregate can add up to gigatons of climate impact. The Bend + Amazon Business integration is a model use case; a demonstration of where we collectively need to head as companies bake decarbonization into every purchase decision.

How do I get started?

Customers can connect their Amazon Business account to Bend on the integrations tab. The integration on Bend is 100% free, included in your subscription. Creating an Amazon Business account is also free — if you don’t have an account, you’ll be prompted to create one (note: Amazon Business Prime subscriptions range from $69 to $499/year). Once your Amazon account is connected to your Bend account, your company’s financial transactions at Amazon will be enriched with line-item details and CO2e estimates.

If you’re not a Bend customer today, but interested in learning more, please get in touch here!