Below is a suggested letter that you can send to Amazon either over email or by mail. The letter focuses on both climate and labor justice recommendations to the corporation. This resource provides additional tips for writing to a corporation.
Letter to Amazon:
Chief Executive Officer
410 Terry Ave. North,
Seattle, WA, 98109-5210
Dear Jeff Bezos,
Amazon is one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, and with that comes a great deal of responsibility to consumers, workers, and the planet.
Unfortunately, Amazon is not meeting that responsibility. While Amazon is starting to take action on the climate, your company’s carbon emissions increased by 15% in 2019; Amazon’s emissions are equal that of the entire country of Norway, and stakeholders deserve greater transparency regarding the company’s commitments to get to net zero emissions by 2040. In particular, despite Amazon’s goals to address its climate impacts, there appears to be no commitments to addressing the harm Amazon causes to communities negatively impacted by its operations, such as the fulfillment centers where constant vehicle traffic impacts air quality in communities of color.
Amazon also has a poor track record on respecting the labor rights of those that make its profits possible. The addition of an Amazon warehouse in a community tends to make the average warehouse wages fall; the injury rates in Amazon warehouses well-exceed the industry average; delivery drivers for the corporation report having to pee in water bottles due to unrealistic workplace expectations; and unrealistic quota expectations also negatively impact warehouse workers who report not being given enough time to sanitize their workstations or wash their hands. In addition, the repetitive motions at a high speed required of warehouse workers leads to more workplace injuries. And Amazon has fired or threatened to fire workers that organized to protect their health and have their rights respected in the workplace.
In addition to Amazon’s responsibility to workers within its US operations, Amazon is responsible for ensuring those in its supply chains, across products, have their rights respected. In recent years, Amazon has become a leading apparel retailer and brand, with over 80 private label clothing, footwear, and accessory brands. Due to this, Amazon should take a particular focus on improving the working conditions within the textile manufacturing industry. The pandemic has led to an even more dire situation for garment workers; many workers reporting being laid off, not being paid their regular wages, or even struggling to feed their families due to financial insecurity.
I appreciate that Amazon did not follow the approach of other apparel companies at the start of the pandemic and has paid for its orders throughout the year. However, I would like to see Amazon take this a step further by committing to wage assurance for garment workers throughout the duration of the pandemic; signing on to a negotiated severance guarantee fund; and ensuring the garment workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain is respected.
Further, the chemicals used to manufacture clothing take a huge toll on people in the planet. Chemical exposure is a particularly pressing issue for workers, as 50% of occupational deaths are due to toxic chemical exposure. While Amazon has taken steps to address the impacts of highly hazardous chemicals of other products, I would like to see Amazon implement a robust chemical management policy for its own branded textile products and third-party vendor textiles. I would appreciate increased transparency about what chemicals are used to manufacture the clothing of both Amazon branded textiles and third-party vendors on Amazon’s platform, as well as requiring Amazon owned brands and third-party vendors to phase out all highly hazardous chemicals including carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants (CMRs), and persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals used to manufacture textiles, including all PFAS within the next five years.
As a longtime customer of your company, when I learned about Amazon’s extractive business model that causes harm to both people and the planet, I was deeply disappointed in the prioritization of profits at all costs. It is important, now more than ever, that your company takes responsibility to address its negative impact on our society. As an extremely profitable corporation, Amazon has the potential to lead industry-wide changes in climate and social responsibility.
I am writing to ask your company to commit to the following:
- 100% renewable energy within two years and create a clear timeline with metrics for reaching Amazon’s goal of net zero emissions by 2040, including measures the company will take to address the communities impacted by Amazon warehouses.
- End your efforts to sell Amazon Web Services technology to the oil and gas industry to support increased exploration and drilling immediately.
- Submit complete and accurate data to the Carbon Disclosure Project documenting Amazon’s climate emissions, starting in 2021.
- Meet all workers’ demands to protect their safety, including addressing unrealistic quotas imposed on workers and eliminating time off tasks. Amazon should provide paid sick leave that is not limited to those that test positive for COVID-19 as testing in the US remains difficult to access. Amazon should also cover the cost of health care and testing for any employee or contractor that has potentially been exposed.
- While COVID-19 puts warehouse workers' health at risk, Amazon should, at a minimum, continue its $2/hour pay increase and double overtime pay.
- Develop and release a Restricted Substances List and a Manufacturing Restricted Substances List for all private label apparel. Phase out all highly hazardous chemicals from Amazon’s own brand textiles and third-party sellers’ textile products including carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants (CMRs), and persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals used to manufacture textiles, including all PFAS within the next five years
- Commit to demands of the Pay Your Workers campaign, including signing on to the severance guarantee fund, commit to wage assurance throughout the pandemic, and protect workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain.
- At a minimum, ensure that companies manufacturing products for Amazon are in compliance with local laws regarding wages and hours, providing a safe work environment, allowing for unions, providing mechanisms for workers to raise concerns without fear of retaliation. Amazon should support all suppliers in efforts to pay workers in its supply chain a living wage and prioritize sourcing from unionized facilities.
I would like to keep buying from you, but my continued support will depend on your taking action and reporting what you do to protect people and the planet to me and the public. As an industry leader in online sales and web hosting, Amazon should prioritize becoming a leader on social and environmental justice, too.