Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive of retail giant Amazon has pledged to make the multinational corporation carbon neutral and fulfill the goals set by the Paris climate agreement by 2040. Over 1,500 Amazon employees have vowed to stage a “walkout” protest against the company’s environmental record this Friday, making it the first walkout by staff at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.
Organizers welcomed Mr. Bezos’s promise but say it does not go far enough. Earlier, thousands of Amazon workers had staged protests about pay and working conditions in July to coincide with Prime Day, Amazon main shopping event offering great discounts and promotions.
Amazon’s Climate Pledge is a huge win for @AMZNforClimate & we’re thrilled at what workers have achieved in under a year. But we know it’s not enough. The Paris Agreement, by itself, won’t get us to a livable world. Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we’ll be in the streets. pic.twitter.com/vTMzGKahTR
— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) September 19, 2019
Mr. Bezos expressed his hope to make the company carbon neutral 10 years earlier than projected.
At a press conference in Washington DC, he launched a climate pledge that any company can sign up to. The aim is to meet the targets charted out in the Paris agreement by 2040, 10 years before than specified.
Greenpeace welcomed this announcement but reiterated that Amazon needs to end its use of fossil fuels.
The organisation said, “If Jeff Bezos wants Amazon to be a leader on climate, he needs to spell out exactly how it is going to rapidly move the company off of fossil fuels to keep our planet within the 1.5 degree temperature threshold in the Paris Agreement that Amazon has now committed to. Throwing money at carbon offsets and continuing to support the oil giants find even more oil is an early indication that Jeff Bezos doesn’t understand the transition that is needed.”
To fructify its pledge, Amazon announced that it had ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles to reduce its fuel consumption. The first will come into service in 2021. Along with online shopping and delivery operations, Amazon operates vast data centres and cloud computing services which were responsible for about 1% of the world’s energy use in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency. To address this, Mr. Bezos said 40% of the energy consumed by Amazon was currently from renewable sources and slated to rise to 100% by 2030. Amazon also intends to invest $100m (£80m) to restore forests and wetlands. The company also said it will measure and report greenhouse gas emissions regularly.
Mr. Bezos in a press statement, “We want to use our scope and our scale to lead the way,”
Despite the fact the Trump administration withdrew the US from the Paris climate accord in June 2017, Amazon said it would meet its targets 10 years “ahead of schedule”.