Amazon employees urge Jeff Bezos to release climate change plan

Posted Apr 11, 2019 by Karen Graham
In an open letter to Amazon’s board of directors and CEO Jeff Bezos, thousands of employees have asked the company to adopt a wide-ranging plan to fight climate change and to stop offering its cloud business, AWS, to the petroleum industry.
In a Medium post on Wednesday, a group of Amazon employees called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice called on Amazon to adopt a wide-ranging climate change plan.
In the letter that was signed by more than 4,000 Amazon employees, they called on Amazon to step up and grab the opportunity to become a leader in addressing climate change, adding: " Amazon’s leadership is urgently needed. We’re a company that understands the importance of thinking big, taking ownership of hard problems, and earning trust. These traits have made Amazon a top global innovator but have been missing from the company’s approach to climate change."
Amazon is also courting oil producers to Amazon Web Services (AWS), which offers cloud computing services to government agencies and major companies, such as video-streaming service Netflix and digital scrapbooking site Pinterest. It is unclear how big of a business fossil fuel companies are for AWS, however, BP and Shell have been clients for a number of years, according to
Amazon now counts more than 25 robotic centers like the one at Staten Island  which chief technologi...
Amazon now counts more than 25 robotic centers like the one at Staten Island, which chief technologist for Amazon Robotics Tye Brady says have changed the way the company operates
Johannes EISELE, AFP/File
Adam Jassey, who runs AWS, spoke at the CERAWeek oil and gas conference in Houston in March. At one discussion, Jassey explained how Shell was using Amazon's machine learning technology to decide which wells would produce the most oil before drilling. "That's a real game-changer," he said at the conference.
This has angered Amazon employees who are asking the company to make “a complete transition away from fossil fuels," according to The Verge.
"Amazon absolutely should not be helping oil and gas companies extract oil from the ground," said Emily Cunningham, a user experience designer at the company who is part of a group of employees who have pushed Amazon to reduce its carbon emissions.
Shell s Deer Park refinery  Texas
Shell's Deer Park refinery, Texas
Roy Luck/Flickr Creative Commons
Amazon employees speak out
Employees of tech companies have become more emboldened over the past year or two. And it is no different at Amazon. Last year, a group of 28 employee-stockholders submitted a resolution "requesting that Amazon prepare a report describing exactly how it is planning for disruptions posed by climate change, and how it will reduce its dependence on fossil fuels."
In February, Amazon announced that it would release its carbon footprint for the first time later this year and said it would make half of its shipments carbon neutral by 2030. But the company failed to give any details at the time. Employees thought this was not good enough, and ended up writing yesterday's letter.
The letter is very well-written and all the data included in it has been researched. The employees are asking that Amazon provide an immediate company-wide plan addressing climate change that demonstrates six principles laid out in the letter.
The principles include - Public goals and timelines consistent with science and the IPCC report, A complete transition away from fossil fuels, the prioritization of climate impact when making business decisions, and Reduction of harm to the most vulnerable communities first.
The employees also want advocacy for local, federal, and international policies that reduce overall carbon emissions in line with the IPCC report and withholding of support from policymakers who delay action on climate change, and fair treatment of all employees during climate disruptions and extreme weather events.