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Amazon Employees Protest Firm’s Climate Policies

Over 900 Amazon Inc. employees signed an internal petition to walk out over their employer’s lack of action on climate change, as first reported by  Wired. The move represents the first time workers at the Seattle headquarters have gone on strike (Wired reported that many of them are taking paid vacation to do so, which somewhat misses the entire point.)

Amazon workers in other offices around the world expressed an interest in joining the protests. Employees at Microsoft  also planned to walk out as talked about on MS Workers for Good. There have been previous strikes at Amazon, but they have mostly been conducted by workers at the company’s warehouses demanding better conditions and pay.

The group behind the strike, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, have issued three demands. It wants Amazon to stop giving money to politicians and lobbyists that deny climate change, to achieve zero carbon emissions as a business by 2030, and to stop working with oil and gas firms to accelerate extraction.

There’s been a significant growth in protests by people working for tech giants in the last couple of years, and revelations from Gizmodo in April over how Amazon has been courting the fossil fuel industry were met with anger from employees. Amazon has said it will make 50 percent of shipping net zero carbon by 2030, but that is not fast enough for the protestors. Amazon has also promised to reveal its carbon footprint at some point this year, but has yet to fulfil that pledge. For now, we can only guess.

Amazon recently announced its Shipment Zero goal, under which the company aims to have 50 percent of all deliveries reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Amazon also is finally tracking its carbon footprint and for the first time will release a carbon report this year. It’s a type of climate change disclosure that has become more common among major corporations but which the Jeff Bezos-led company has long resisted.

“Amazon has not been a leader when it comes to disclosing its carbon footprint,” said Sue Reid, vice president of climate and energy for Ceres, a nonprofit that advocates investors and companies to tackle sustainability issues like climate change.

True to form, Amazon is going its own way with the climate report. Rather than releasing its findings to the CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project — an organization that collects data from major companies every year and compiles it into what the nonprofit claims to be the most comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental information — Amazon is developing its own approach to tracking and reporting carbon emissions.

Amazon would not disclose how it plans to achieve net zero status or report its carbon emissions beyond its blog post. [24×7]

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