Amazon employees plan walkout Friday, saying company's climate pledge isn't enough

Marco Green
September 23, 2019

Despite Jeff Bezos' announcement for plans to make Amazon carbon neutral by 2040, almost 1,000 employees are set to walk out in protest Friday of what they say is their company's inaction on climate change.

But she believes Amazon could take more bold moves in fighting climate change, including cutting ties with oil and fossil companies, and hitting the target of net-zero carbon by 2030, 10 years earlier than the goal Bezos set.

The company announced it will invest $440 million in Rivian, which is based in Plymouth, to accelerate the production of electric vehicles which they say are critical to reducing emissions.

Amazon also said it will make a $100 million donation to The Nature Conservancy to form the Right Now Climate Fund.

"We're thrilled at what workers [have] been able to achieve in less than a year", the group said in a statement. It also plans to have 100 percent of its energy use come from solar panels and other renewable energy by 2030. "But we know it's not enough", said a Twitter message from Amazon Employees for Climate Justice.

Amazon has a goal of making all shipments net zero carbon by 2030. Switching to electric vans would cut fuel costs as well as ensure Amazon vehicles were not affected by the low-emissions zones increasingly being established in American cities.

A proposal that the company report how it plans to deal with climate change received only 29.8% of votes at the shareholder meeting, despite signatures in support from almost 7,700 employees.

The groupposted a letter online last week declaring that Amazon should lead on the issue because it's "one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world". The site includes information on Amazon's carbon footprint and other sustainability metrics.

Bold steps from big companies are needed in order to boost the development of new technologies and industries that will support a low carbon economy, believes Christiana Figueres, the UN's former climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism.

That's far more than what other new electric delivery trucks can manage, though with a larger vehicle, a full load of cargo and lots of stops, such a large battery pack still might prove useful.

It coincided with a greater global movement to fight climate change, The Global Climate Strike, the week-long global event that will bring together young people, labor and humanitarian organizations, environmental groups and company employee collectives.

Amazon has been targeted by critics - including its own employees - for not taking sufficient action to reduce greenhouse gases generated by its massive e-commerce business.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said they are done being in the middle of the pack with regard to this issue.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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