Trending: Regulation is coming: How startups should be thinking about data, security and privacy
Amazon designer and activist Emily Cunningham speaks at a rally organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice outside of the company’s shareholding meeting in May 2019. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Hundreds of Amazon employees are planning a walkout on Sept. 20 as part of the Global Climate Strike. The youth-driven demonstration includes events around the world demanding an end to fossil fuel dependence.

An advocacy group called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice organized the walkout. The organization says it is the first walkout in tech industry history over climate change. As of Monday morning, 941 Amazon employees had pledged to join the demonstration.

The employee activists want Amazon to commit to producing zero emissions by 2030, piloting electric delivery vehicles, and ending contracts with fossil fuel companies that use Amazon’s technology products.

A spokesperson for Amazon said the company is already “playing a significant role in helping to reduce the sources of human-induced climate change.” Amazon highlighted programs like Shipment Zero, a climate action plan that includes shifting to renewable energy sources and eliminating net emissions for retail sales. The company plans to release details on its carbon footprint for the first time this year.

 

“We have dedicated sustainability teams who have been working for years on initiatives to reduce our environmental impact,” the spokesperson said. “Earlier this year, we announced Shipment Zero – Amazon’s vision to make all Amazon shipments net zero carbon, with 50% of all shipments net-zero by 2030. Over the past decade through our sustainable packaging programs, we’ve eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials and avoided 500 million shipping boxes.”

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice started making headlines earlier this year by rallying thousands of their colleagues to pressure the Seattle tech giant to reduce its carbon footprint. More than 7,600 software engineers, managers, designers, and other Amazon workers signed an open letter to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon board of directors asking the company to adopt a comprehensive climate change plan.

Related: With a strong nudge from employees, can Amazon finally become a leader on climate change?

The group also filed a shareholder resolution asking the company to publish reports describing its plan to reduce fossil fuel dependence and prepare for disruptions caused by the climate crisis. It was voted down.

“I’m proud that Amazon is one of the most innovative companies, and that means we can be a leader on climate,” said Roshni Naidu, an Amazon product manager, in a press release. “As a leader, we need to reach zero first and not be a company who slides in at the last possible deadline. A clean energy future means that Amazon must hit zero emissions by 2030 at the latest. This walkout is about telling our business and political leaders that we demand urgent action at the scale of the crisis.”

The Seattle walkout will begin at 11:30 a.m. PST. Amazon employees plan to join youth and other activists at a Seattle City Hall march and rally.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Comments

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.