Amazon employees use their influence as shareholders to push the company to take stronger action against climate change.
Since Tuesday, more than 5,000 employees have signed a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon regime, pushing them to come up with a global climate plan that will lead Amazon to 100 percent renewable energy.
They also want Amazon to stop doing work for the oil and gas industry and to stop donating to members of the Congress that are voting against the legislation to curb carbon emissions.
"We believe that this is a historic opportunity for Amazon to work with employees and signal to the world that we are ready to be a climate leader," they wrote in a letter published Wednesday on Medium. Within 48 hours, thousands of employees had approved the petition ̵[ads1]1; a sign that there is strong support in the workforce for an idea that seemed unavailable just four months ago.
In November, about two dozen Amazon employees submitted shareholder proposals that would force the company to come up with a more aggressive plan to deal with climate change. It was the first time tech workers, whose compensation often holds shares, have used their influence as shareholders to push the company to make changes. And their plan could be the most ambitious demand, but for a company to take responsibility for its role in the deteriorating climate crisis.
So far, Amazon does not seem to mind the idea.
The movement started small
At the end of the fall, over two dozen employees sent in a climate impact. Like any other shareholder proposal, the board will vote for it at Amazon's annual shareholder meeting that is likely to take place next month.
The group has organized, formed an unofficial coalition called Amazon employees for Climate Justice. The letter they sent on Wednesday is part of a strategy to build pressure on Amazon to take its proposal seriously.
Amazon is already taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint. The company has invested in wind power and solar energy, but employees say it is not enough, especially since the company's business model is an important source of global CO2 emissions.
The online store – one of the top five valuable US companies – trusts on diesel guzzling trucks to deliver billions of packages to customers each year. As Vox's David Roberts points out, in 2016, transport power plants took over as the largest carbon dioxide emissions producer in the United States for the first time since 1979.
Even before the growth of online shopping and home delivery, urban freight traffic, generated a disproportionate amount of emissions, although it represented a small proportion of total traffic. These emissions include greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming, as well as a number of other pollutants that have harmful health consequences for communities.
In their letter, employees said that Amazon's current goal was to reduce delivery emissions in half of 2030, known as Shipping Zero Plan, not actually reducing the company's confidence in fossil fuels.
The shipment Zero commits itself only to net carbon reductions that allow us to continue to pollute; We have recently ordered 20,000 diesel cars where the emissions must be compensated with CO2 credits. Offsets can involve forest management policies that interfere with indigenous communities, and they do nothing to reduce our diesel pollution, as disproportionately damages color environments.
Employees want Amazon to exceed 100 percent renewable energy, not just for parcel shipping, but across the entire company and throughout the company's entire supply chain.
Such a change will constitute a huge shift in the company's priorities. So it's no surprise Amazon has been most silent on the concrete proposals. A company representative told Vox that the company already has an ambitious plan to tackle climate change.
"Earlier this year, we announced that we will share our broad carbon footprint, along with related goals and programs. We also announced Shipment Zero, our vision of making all Amazon shipments net zero carbon, with 50% of all net zero shipments by 2030, a spokesman said in a statement to Vox, pointing out that Amazon has over 200 scientists, engineers and product designers s " dedicated solely to find new ways to leverage our scale to good for customers and the planet. We have a long-term commitment to operate our global infrastructure using 100 percent renewable energy. "
In the group's annual report to shareholders, released Thursday, Bezos mentioned the company's expansion to physical stores, increasing third-party vendor sales, and the decision to increase the salaries of warehouse employees.
He did not mention the employee's letter or any of the company's climate change measures
But Amazon leaders will not be able to ignore the problem for a long time, and these employees are also shareholders, so Bezos and the board must vote on the proposal at their annual meeting, and it is highly likely that employees will continue to pursue the press campaign.
Below is the full text of the letter they sent, outlining more ambitious targets for tackling climate change.
Jeff Bezos and the Board: [ We, the undersigned 5,237 * Amazon employees, request that you approve the shareholder resolution and publishes a global climate plan that incorporates the principles outlined in this letter.
Amazon has resources and scales to spark the world's imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to cope with the climate crisis. We believe that this is a historic opportunity for Amazon to stand with employees and signal to the world that we are ready to be a climate leader. 19659030] Climate change is an existential threat. The IPCC report from 2018 assumes that a 2 ° C warm-up, which we are currently on the verge of surpassing, will threaten the lives of hundreds of millions of people and endanger thousands of species. We already see devastating climate impacts: unusual flooding in India and Mozambique, dry-water wells in Africa, coastal displacement in Asia, fire traps and floods in North America, and waste faults in Latin America. Vulnerable societies least responsible for the climate crisis are already paying the highest price.
Amazon's leadership is urgent. We are a company that understands the importance of thinking big, taking ownership of difficult issues and earning trust. These features have made Amazon a top global innovator, but has been missed from the company's climate change approach. For example:
- We have not published a plan worldwide to reach zero carbon emissions within the timeline required by science. Our goal of reaching 100% renewable energy has no date for completion. In addition, Shipping Zero does not commit itself to reducing emissions in relation to the current level. Given the Amazon growth rate, by 2030, 50% net zero shipments will still be an increase in emissions compared to today.
- The shipment Zero commits itself only to net carbon reductions that allow us to continue to pollute; We have recently ordered 20,000 diesel cars where the emissions must be compensated with CO2 credits. Offsets can lead to forest management policies that interfere with indigenous communities, and they do nothing to reduce our diesel pollution as disproportionately damaging communities of color.
- We have an AWS for Oil and Gas Initiatives devoted to helping fossil fuel companies accelerate and expand oil and gas extraction. To avert catastrophic warming, science is clear: we need to keep fossil fuels on the ground.
- We donate to climate-delaying lawmakers: While Amazon has joined a number of sustainability organizations such as the Corporate Eco Forum and the American Council on Renewable Energy, we donated to 68 congressional members in 2018 who voted against climate policy 100% of the time [20,21].
- Our sustainability goals lack context. For example, we have set a target of at least 50 solar installations in warehouses by 2020. This represents only 6% of the buildings in our global upgrade network and a fraction of our total CO2 footprint.
Our client's obsession requires climate obsession. This requires an immediate plan worldwide to deal with climate change that demonstrates the following principles:
- Public Objectives and Timelines in line with Natural Sciences and the IPCC Report. Emissions must be cut in half by 2030 from the 2010 level and reach zero by 2050. The targets must include all organizations and businesses, and cover the entire supply chain.
- A complete transition away from fossil fuels rather than relying on CO2 emissions. 19659040] Prioritization of climate impact in decision-making processes, including the closure of all customized solutions specifically developed for oil and gas extraction and exploration.
- Reduction of damage to the most vulnerable communities first. The pollution we generate is not as distributed, and the climate impact will be felt first and foremost by black, indigenous people and other communities of color, especially in the global south. We must prioritize our pollution reduction in these communities.
- Lawyer for local, federal and international policies that reduce overall carbon emissions in line with the IPCC report, and withholding support from policy-makers delaying the fight against climate change.
- Proper treatment of all employees under climate disturbances and extreme weather conditions. Unsafe or inaccessible jobs should not be a reason to keep wages, ceases or otherwise punish employees – including hourly and contractual employees.
In our mission to become "Earth's most customer-centric company", we believe our climate impact must be a top consideration in everything we do. We have the power to change entire industries, inspire global measures on climate and lead the question of our lives. We ask that you as leaders who are responsible for our strategic direction adopt the climate plan resolution and issue a master plan incorporating the six principles above.
5,237 * Amazon employees
5:13 pm: Updated with statement from Amazon