In a rare show of shareholder pressure, 4,000 Amazonians demand action on green energy
- Fast Company
A group of more than 4,000 Amazon employees has signed an open letter to management calling on the company to end its reliance on fossil fuels.
The group, called Amazon Employees for
The group, called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, formed in December after 28 current and former Amazon employee shareholders co-filed a formal shareholder resolution requiring Amazon to create a plan to convert to green power sources.
“Tech workers know the world is facing a climate emergency that is causing devastation to communities around the world, and vulnerable communities least responsible for the climate crisis are already paying the highest price,” said Emily Cunningham, a user experience designer who co-filed the resolution and signed the letter. “We have a responsibility, as one of the largest companies in the world, to account for the sizeable contributions we are making toward accelerating climate change.”
In the wide view, the employees suggest that Amazon can use its largesse not just to switch to green fuels, but to inspire others to do so, too.
“In our mission to become ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company,’ we believe our climate impact must be a top consideration in everything we do,” the group writes in the letter, which you can see in full on Medium. “We have the power to shift entire industries, inspire global action on climate, and lead on the issue of our lifetimes.”
The letter comes after members of the group met with Amazon leaders and were unable to get a commitment from the company to form an overarching response to climate change. Instead, the Amazon board plans to print a statement of opposition to the proposed resolution in the shareholder ballot, which will go to a vote at an as-yet-to-be-announced shareholder meeting this spring.
Some context is needed here, however: Amazon management didn’t block the resolution, which they could have, and that would have prevented a vote. Amazon management has a history of blocking resolutions. Between 2013 and 2018, it challenged 73% (8 of 11) of environmental-related resolutions, and 69% (24 of 35) of resolutions across all topics. The fact that the Amazon employees’ climate resolution is still alive may be a win in itself.