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NEW DELHI : Amazon India has been moving towards climate-friendly and sustainable practices for a while, even before the recent ban on single-use plastic. This includes building a large electric vehicle fleet, and eco-friendly packaging, said Abhinav Singh, director, customer fulfilment, supply chain and global specialty fulfilment at Amazon India. Edited excerpts from an interview:

India has banned single-use plastic. What are your alternatives in packaging?

As of June 2020, we have moved away from single-use plastic completely, but as of late last year and early this year, we moved away from plastic mailers as well. We use speciality designed paper tapes instead of the brown plastic ones. We are using machine learning to determine whether a shipment can go without packaging.

How is the delivery system being changed to incorporate climate concerns?

We have made a commitment to have 10,000 EVs in India by 2025. We have signed a 5,000 EV memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tata Motors recently. We are working with upwards of 20 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in India -- and a lot of them are start-ups -- by experimenting with their vehicles from a form factor. We have also signed an MoU with Sun Mobility for battery swapping stations. Across our network in India, we have deployed the Sun Mobility battery swapping station in quite a few of our facilities. We experimented with battery swapping as a solution for 100-plus vehicles in the Delhi NCR region, and now we’re going to scale it across the country.

Is there a government association for these practices?

We are working with the Indian Railways to move a lot of our customer as well as vendor packages on rail instead of trucks. It helps from reducing the carbon intensity in a meaningful way because from every per-ton carriage perspective, rail is much more energy-efficient than road. A significant percentage of our freight now moves by rail. Sun Mobility or the other OEMs we are working with, are mostly private enterprises that we partnered with, but under the aegis of the government and the encouragement that they are giving, such as the FAME scheme. There is a very strong public-private partnership across these.

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