Amazon Employees Demand More Climate Action From Bezos And Board

Amazon and climate change

Thousands of Amazon employees have put their names to an open letter urging the giant of online retail and web services to lift its game on issues relating to climate change.

“Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world’s imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis,” states the letter. “We believe this is a historic opportunity for Amazon to stand with employees and signal to the world that we’re ready to be a climate leader.”

Among the signatories’ concerns:

  • The company’s goal to reach 100% renewable energy doesn’t have a date set for achieving that target.
  • Its curious “Shipment Zero” initiative we previously wrote about only commits to net carbon reductions (and has some other strange aspects).
  • Amazon Web Services has a product geared towards the oil and gas sector that the letter says helps fossil fuel companies accelerate and expand oil and gas extraction.
  • A claim that last year the company donated to 68 members of U.S. congress who voted against climate legislation 100% of the time.

With regard to solar power, the letter is critical of Amazon’s efforts and commitments, saying it’s an example of where there’s a lack of context. While a goal has been set of at least 50 solar power system installations on warehouse facilities by 2020, this represents only 6% of buildings in the company’s global fulfillment network

In addition to taking actions to address the above, the signatories wish to see a complete transition away from fossil fuels rather than relying on carbon offsets, and for emissions to be cut in half by 2030 from 2010 levels – reaching zero by 2050. They want to see the climate plan shareholder resolution adopted1 and the release of a company-wide climate plan that incorporates the principles outlined in the letter.

“We’re a company that understands the importance of thinking big, taking ownership of hard problems, and earning trust,” states the letter. “These traits have made Amazon a top global innovator but have been missing from the company’s approach to climate change.”

At the time of writing, there were 5,237 employee signatures accompanying the letter, representing a wide variety of roles – from interns to senior managers. Some of those employees may have thought long and hard before adding their names as Amazon has been rumoured to not react too well to employees who are publicly critical of the company.

Earlier this year, Amazon said it had invested in 53 renewable energy projects totaling over 1,016 megawatts capacity. The company stated it remained firmly committed to achieving 100% renewable energy across its global network, and that it had achieved 50% renewable energy in 2018.

At the time of writing, Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Board of Directors, to whom the open letter was addressed, were yet to comment.


  1. Which appears to be this document (note: not verified). For background, see this New York Times story published late last year
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Daniel Debreceny says

    Amazon = Lip Service.

    My understanding is that the only thing that Amazon leads is being the lowest benefit employer (in the 1st world).

    The only worse employer (in the Western World) is the Church of Scientology.

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