Sorry Jeff Bezos, a $10 billion commitment won't undo Amazon's climate impacts

Submitted by ctate on February 18, 2020

Jeff Bezos made news this week when he publicized 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.

If addressing climate change and being a corporate leader is truly a priority for Bezos and Amazon, then Amazon will:

  1. Stop intimidating employees from speaking out on Amazon’s climate policies. Silencing workers and environmental activists will NOT solve the climate crisis.
  2. Commit to 100% renewable energy by 2020 and end the construction of any new data centers that rely on fossil fuel or nuclear power. Many of Amazon’s competitors reached 100% renewable energy already.
  3. Submit complete and accurate data to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Amazon is a laggard amongst large tech companies in refusing to report out fully on its climate emissions.
  4. End efforts to sell Amazon Web Services technology to the oil and gas industry to support increased exploration and drilling. You can’t end the climate crisis by fueling it.
  5. Take action to protect the health and well-being of employees in Amazon warehouses and throughout the supply chain.
  6. Addressing environmental justice issues in communities impacted by Amazon’s operations. Amazon’s warehouses cause massive pollution from shipping.
  7. Ensure no labor rights abuses are occurring throughout your operations, and allow workers through the entire supply chain – from factory, to warehouse, to the office – to raise concerns without fear of retaliation
  8. Ensure that companies manufacturing Amazon electronics are in compliance with local laws regarding wages and hours, providing a safe work environment, allowing for unions, and taking steps to move towards a living wage.

In addition to having a huge impact on the planet, Amazon workers report dangerous and grueling working conditions; within Amazon warehouses. Injury rates are more than double the industry average. Numerous reports have found Amazon violating human rights across its operations, impacting workers, consumers, and children. Through its various electronic devices (Alexa, Ring, etc.), Amazon may be listening to your conversations and sharing video footage without your permission. This behavior must stop!

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.

Take Action

Share the truth on social media!

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Or paste the below message in your Facebook status or on Twitter:

Hey @jeffbezos $10 billion won’t erase @amazon ’s climate impact! You can’t end the #climatecrisis by fueling it: https://www.greenamerica.org/blog/sorry-bezos-10-billion-donation-wont-undo-amazons-climate-impact

Call Amazon's customer line!

Call (888) 280-4331

When the automated message prompts you to verify your Amazon account, just press # and then ask to speak to an associate about Amazon’s social and environmental policies:

"Hello, My name is ____ and I am concerned about Amazon’s impact on the people and the planet. While I appreciate that Jeff Bezos recently committed $10 billion to fight climate change, that money will not negate the massive damage that Amazon’s everyday operations are having on the climate crisis. I am joining Green America in calling on Amazon to get serious about addressing its negative impact on people and the planet." 

Please feel free to select whichever points from the bulleted list below speaks to you most:

"When will Amazon:

  1. Cut ties with the oil and gas industry?
  2. Submit accurate and complete data to the Carbon Disclosure Project?
  3. Stop intimidating employees from speaking out on Amazon’s climate policies? Silencing workers and environmental activists will not solve the climate crisis.
  4. Reach 100% renewable energy? Some of Amazon’s competitors have already reached 100% - the planet cannot wait 10 years for Amazon to get to 100%!
  5. Address environmental justice issues in communities impacted by Amazon’s operations?
  6. Address worker health and safety concerns throughout Amazon’s entire supply chain?"

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