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350 Seattle, an organization that worked with the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group that proposed a shareholder resolution calling on the company to present a comprehensive climate change plan, protest outside the tech giant’s annual meeting in May 2019. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Climate change will take center stage in the technology industry today as thousands of employees at some of the world’s biggest and most influential companies plan to walk off the job.

Employees from Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Square and more are walking out Friday in support of the Global Climate Strike, a week-long series of youth-driven marches and demonstrations across the globe demanding reduced fossil fuel use. Groups within each of the companies, many of whom compete on a day-to-day basis, are aligning on Twitter and publicly planning their own demonstrations to spotlight climate change issues.

A day before the walkouts and marches were set to begin, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced a sweeping initiative to make the company carbon neutral by 2040 and shift to entirely renewable energy a decade before that. In addition to the new Climate Pledge, Amazon also shared its carbon footprint for the first time and announced plans to purchase 100,000 electric vans from Rivian to make its delivery fleet more environmentally friendly.

A group of Amazon employees has pushed the company to be a leader in battling climate change in recent years, gathering more than 3,500 signatures for a petition demanding a company-wide environmental plan. The group applauded the news but made clear they’re not taking pressure off the company.

Bezos’ announcement and the beginning of the marches come days before the United Nation’s Climate Action Summit on Monday, and the start of the annual Climate Week in New York City, beginning on Tuesday. The events bring together leaders in industry, government and nonprofits.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated as the employee walkouts occur.

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