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How Amazon’s Retail Revolution is Taking Over the World

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

Amazon has changed the way we shop in the 21st century. We are able to buy anything that catches our eye with just the click of a button. It’s fascinating to look into Amazon and understand the huge influence this global enterprise has on the world.

In the span of 25 years, Amazon has become one of the leading corporations in the online retail industry. It grew from an online bookseller to one of the most powerful companies in modern history. The CEO of this enterprise, Jeff Bezos, has a current net worth of $116 billion USD, making him one of the wealthiest people in the entire world. That is way too much money in the hands of one person if you ask me.

Amazon is now America’s second-largest private employer (after Walmart). It owns Whole Foods and arranges the shipment of items purchased on eBay and Etsy. Now I can’t go on writing this article as if I have never bought anything from Amazon. I have. In fact, I just spent $50 buying lipsticks and facemasks that I definitely did not need. But that is exactly the problem. Amazon not only allows but encourages mass consumption. We tend to buy unnecessary items because of the effortless accessibility we are given. Through one website we are able to buy the whole Game of Thrones series, makeup sponges and Rice Krispies Squares. This convenience distorts our awareness of the impact overconsumption has on the environment.

Amazon has an enormous carbon footprint. It is heavily reliant on oil since Amazon takes pride in its ability to transport anything in such a short period of time. In 2018 Amazon emitted 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is greater than the carbon footprint of Switzerland.

Many individuals believe that online shopping is more sustainable than traditional retail; however, that is very false. While online shopping produces a smaller carbon footprint for consumers in comparison to driving to the store, this is only true when consumers aren’t getting express shipping. Currently, individuals are buying more and wanting their items to be at their home extremely fast. This employs more vehicles, more traffic and more emissions. Amazon’s lower prices and quick purchasing ability has increased the demand for products immensely.

It is no surprise that our global consumption is increasing. The more money we make, the more we want and consume. For Amazon, lower consumption means lower profits, an option they are clearly not willing to make. However, as consumers we have the choice of how much we choose to consume. We can make an impact by changing our habits. In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we must reduce our consumption of cheap, single-use items. By buying less and buying smarter, we can make sure that the way we spend our money has a significant impact on the environment.




Chandni Bhatt

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Chandni is a fourth-year Global Studies and Political Science student. She loves writing, reading and binge-watching Netflix tv-shows.
Rebecca is in her 5th year at Wilfrid Laurier University.  During the school year, she can be found drinking copious amounts of kombucha, watching hockey and procrastinating on Pinterest. She joined HCWLU as an editor in the Winter 2018 semester, and after serving as one of the Campus Correspondents in 2019-20, she is excited to be returning for the 2020-21 school year! she/her