Close to 1,000 Amazon employees have planned a walkout on Sept. 20 in protest of what they say is their employer’s inaction on climate change.
In an open letter posted online Monday, the group, known as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, called on “one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world” to begin leading on the climate crisis.
“Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world’s imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis,” the letter states. “Our walkout on September 20th demonstrates the commitment of Amazon employees and calls on leadership to join us in this commitment.”
The walkout, which thus far consists of 941 Amazon employees, will coincide with the first day of the week-long Global Climate Strike.
Walkout participants have also issued several demands, including the achievement of becoming a zero-emissions company by 2030.
“Amazon is one of the world’s most innovative companies. We pride ourselves on being a leader,” the letter reads. “But in the face of the climate crisis, a true leader is one who reaches zero emissions first, not one who slides in at the last possible moment.”
The group is also pushing Amazon to end all of its contracts with gas and oil companies.
“Scientists know that to maintain a stable climate, we cannot develop new sources of oil,” the letter adds. “To avoid climate catastrophe, we can’t even burn all of the existing oil and gas we already have. The science is clear: fossil fuels must stay in the ground.”
The final demand calls on Amazon to stop funding “climate denying lobbyists and politicians,” specifically the Koch-backed “Competitive Enterprise Institute.” Amazon is said to have funded 68 members of Congress last year “who voted against climate legislation 100% of the time.”
In a statement to CNN Business, Amazon asserted that it continues to view its work toward reducing its environmental footprint as an “important commitment.”
Amazon cites its launch in early 2019 of “Shipment Zero,” a plan to reduce its carbon emissions for half of its shipments to zero by 2030, as proof of its work toward combating climate change.
The climate group argues, however, that such a plan is not ambitious enough and fails to confront the severity of the issue.
“[E]ven that 50% does not necessarily mean a decrease in emissions compared to current levels: given Amazon’s rate of growth, 50% net-zero shipments in 2030 could still be an increase in emissions compared to today,” the group notes.
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