In an open letter published on Medium, employees asked Bezos to release a company-wide climate action plan to address the issue and added that leadership is “urgently needed” at the e-commerce giant.
“Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world’s imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis. 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,” Amazon employees, ranging from engineers, warehouse workers to salespeople wrote in a letter published Wednesday.
According to The New York Times, the movement is the largest employee-led environmental movement within the technology industry.
The news also comes on the heels of other big companies announcing their plans to reduce its carbon footprint and become more environmentally efficient.
Apple announced Thursday it has nearly doubled the number of its suppliers using only clean energy for production work, including its top chipmaker TSMC and iphone factory partner Foxconn.
Overall, Apple is leading the charge as one of the greenest big tech company while Amazon has yet to release a comprehensive climate change strategy.
In the letter, employees cited a report from the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicting that a warming of 2° Celsius, which we’re currently on track to surpass, is set to threaten the lives of hundreds of millions of people and put thousands of species at risk of extinction.
“We’re already seeing devastating climate impacts: unprecedented flooding in India and Mozambique, dry water wells in Africa, coastal displacement in Asia, wildfires and floods in North America, and crop failure in Latin America,” employees added.
In the letter, Amazon employees outline suggestions for Bezos to do to make the company a climate leader.
1. We haven’t disclosed a company-wide plan to reach zero carbon emissions within the timeline required by science. Our goal to reach 100% renewable energy does not have a date for completion. In addition, Shipment Zero does not commit to a decrease in emissions compared to current levels. Given Amazon’s rate of growth, reaching 50% net-zero shipments by 2030 could still be an increase in emissions compared to today.
2. Shipment Zero only commits to net carbon reductions, which allows us to continue to pollute; we recently ordered 20,000 diesel vans whose emissions will need to be offset with carbon credits. Offsets can entail forest management policies that displace Indigenous communities, and they do nothing to reduce our diesel pollution which disproportionately harms communities of color.
3. We have an AWS for Oil & Gas initiative devoted to helping fossil fuel companies accelerate and expand oil and gas extraction. To avert catastrophic warming, the science is clear: we must keep fossil fuels in the ground.
4. We donate to climate-delaying legislators: While Amazon has joined a variety of sustainability organizations like the Corporate Eco Forum and the American Council on Renewable Energy, we donated to 68 members of congress in 2018 who voted against climate legislation 100% of the time.
5. Our sustainability goals lack context. For example, we’ve set a goal of at least 50 solar installations in warehouse facilities by 2020. This represents only 6% of buildings in our global fulfillment network and a fraction of our overall carbon footprint.
In a statement to FOX Business, Amazon said earlier this year it announced that it plans to share its company-wide carbon footprint along with related goals and programs.
"We also announced Shipment Zero, our vision to make all Amazon shipments net zero carbon, with 50% of all shipments net zero by 2030. Amazon’s sustainability team is using a science-based approach to develop data and strategies to ensure a rigorous approach to our sustainability work. We have launched several major and impactful programs and are working hard to integrate this approach fully across Amazon," Amazon said.