Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. It is one of the Big Five companies in the U.S. information technology industry, along with Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook.
Energy and Climate Change
Environment Policy and Reporting
Jeff Bezos made news this week when he published an upcoming $10 billion donation to address the climate crisis. But, as the richest person on Earth, Bezos is making his money off Amazon.com, a company that is a major driver of climate change. As the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice aptly put it: “One hand cannot give what the other is taking away.”
While it’s good that Jeff Bezos is finally recognizing that we’re facing a climate crisis, he needs to tackle Amazon’s massive climate emissions more quickly and effectively in order to create sustainable climate solutions. Last year, Amazon.com finally released some data on its climate emissions, which are staggering. The company emitted 44 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2018, including indirect sources. That is larger than the emissions of United Parcel Service and FedEx. It’s also larger than the emissions of tech competitors Apple, Alphabet (Google), and Microsoft. Amazon should be working aggressively to reduce those emissions and taking action to address prior years’ emissions on the planet, like Microsoft recently agreed to do.
Donating money is a nice gesture, but it doesn’t make up for the harm that Amazon is causing, and has caused, to people and the planet.
Bezos’ $10 billion commitment is a large sum of money, although it is a small percentage of his fortune. We do need huge investments into climate solutions, but $10 billion will eventually run out. More importantly, if Amazon hasn’t addressed its harmful impacts, people and the planet will continue to pay the price. Sustainable climate solutions prioritize both the planet and people. In order for Amazon to transform from a laggard to a climate leader, it must address its massive emissions and end the labor and human rights violations occurring throughout its operations. Source
Community Development and Philanthropy
Human Rights and Supply Chain Management
Compensation and Benefits
Diversity and Labor Rights
Training, Health and Safety
Jeff Bezos is on the defensive about how Amazon treats its employees following the failed union vote at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. In Bezos’ 2020 letter to shareholders, his final letter as CEO of Amazon, he discussed Amazon’s relationship with its employees after workers voted against forming a union last week, a vote that Bezos called “lopsided.” The vote count, which finished last Friday afternoon, showed that 1,798 employees had voted against unionizing and 738 had voted for the union. While over 500 votes were challenged and 76 votes were voided, 70.9% of the valid votes were against the union.
In his letter, Bezos said he feels Amazon’s direct relationship with employees is strong, but that the company needs “a better vision for how we create value for employees — a vision for their success.” “Does your Chair take comfort in the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t,” Bezos wrote. “I think we need to do a better job for our employees.”
Bezos also indirectly discussed the controversy surrounding Amazon’s Twitter spat last month. In response to a tweet from Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan about working conditions at Amazon, Amazon’s Twitter account wrote: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”
The tweet sparked an uproar among employees, mostly Amazon delivery drivers, who said that peeing in bottles is an “inhumane” yet common part of the job. Insider also spoke with several drivers who said that they’ve had to poop in bags and struggled to change menstrual pads during their shift, in addition to peeing in bottles.
Bezos’ comments come amid increasing pressure on Amazon from all sides, particularly from lawmakers. Amazon’s Alabama union vote drew the attention of Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Joe Biden, who publicly supported the workers attempting to unionize and criticized Amazon’s aggressive campaign against the union. The company has also been the subject of antitrust scrutiny over the last year, with government leaders questioning Amazon’s power and influence. Source
Amazon is again the target of activist shareholders seeking changes at the company or more information about how it operates.
In proposals that could be voted on at this spring’s shareholder meeting, they’ve asked the company to assess its business risks related to third-party sellers, worker health and safety and lobbying policies, among other topics.
It’s the second year in a row that Amazon has been the focus of a campaign of shareholder resolutions related to environmental, social and governance issues coordinated by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), which announced a slate of a dozen proposals from its members Tuesday. Other proposals were submitted by employees and other stock owners.
Nadira Narine, ICCR’s senior program director for strategic initiatives, said the rationale for the ongoing focus on Amazon is simple.
“The bottom line is that this company is huge, and we haven’t seen it addressing the range of risks that it’s exposed to given its sheer size and the number of markets it’s in,” she said.
Amazon said in a statement it is “committed to the creation of good jobs, a sustainable future, and flourishing communities, the protection of customer privacy, a strong economy, and successful small and medium-sized businesses.” Source
Sustainability News Feed
This scaling of Amazon’s renewable energy investments is in line with its stated commitment to power 100% of its operations with renewables by …
Apr 21, 2021 · Uploaded by Moor Insights & Strategy
Aug 28, 2020 — In February 2020, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced a $10 billion fund, now called “Bezos Earth Fund,” dedicated to investing in environmental …