More than a dozen Amazon employees are using their power as shareholders to pressure their employer to be more thoughtful and transparent about climate change.
The group filed a shareholder resolution in November, first spotted by The New York Times this week, urging Amazon to publish a report on its plan to reduce fossil fuel dependence. The resolution also asks Amazon to outline its plan to deal with weather events and disruptions that result from the planet warming.
“Extreme weather exacerbated by climate change poses great risks to Amazon’s workers, customers, and infrastructure, and already impacts Amazon,” the letter says.
It goes on to list nine examples of extreme weather incidents that have affected Amazon operations, including a severe drought in Cape Town, the planned location for Amazon Web Services Africa, forest fires in Amazon’s home state of Washington, and disturbances due to intense hurricanes in cities around the United States.
“Amazon is not a mere victim of climate change — its operations contribute significantly to the problem,” the letter says.
Documents obtained by KUOW show that Amazon’s purchases of green energy haven’t kept pace with the company’s power consumption. The Amazon Web Services data centers that so many online businesses rely on have significant energy needs. In September, Amazon ordered 20,000 gas-powered vans for its new Delivery Service Partner program.
Amazon is working to reduce fossil fuel dependence and move to 100 percent renewable energy, though it hasn’t set a deadline to reach that goal as some tech companies have.
“We’re continuously working to optimize our transportation network and develop innovative technologies that lower our environmental impact,” said Kara Hurst, Director of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon in a statement. “We have joined numerous industry partnerships to support action on climate change and to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.”