Amazon has formally launched The Climate Pledge, a partnership with Global Optimism in which the company promises to become net zero carbon by 2040 and use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 - on the day over a thousand of the company's workers walk out in protest of its climate impact.
Over a thousand employees of Amazon, which has grown in the years since its founding from a seller of books to one of the biggest logistics and cloud computing firms in the world, announced they were to walk out during the Global Climate Walkout protest event taking place today. '"It’s hard to find an issue that is more important than climate change. The science is super compelling on this: there’s no doubt about it." These are the words of Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO,' the protest's organisers wrote in the announcement 'And yet: Amazon contributes directly to climate change through intensive use of fossil fuels throughout our businesses and pollutes communities with our fossil fuel infrastructure; we have custom solutions to help oil and gas companies accelerate extraction and exploration of new oil and gas reserves; we’re funding the premier climate denying think tank and we funded 68 members of Congress in 2018 who voted against climate legislation 100% of the time.'
Now, ten days later and during the walkout itself, Amazon has announced a partnership with Global Optimism to launch The Climate Pledge.
'We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue—we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,' claims Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and chief executive, in a launch statement which very pointedly does not mention the walkout nor the protestor's demands. 'If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon - which delivers more than 10 billion items a year - can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can. I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge. Large companies signing The Climate Pledge will send an important signal to the market that it’s time to invest in the products and services the signatories will need to meet their commitments.'
The Pledge sees Amazon commit to using 80 percent renewable energy by 2024 and 100 percent by 2030, while aiming to become net zero carbon by 2040 - through initiatives including wind and solar projects, including the company's existing installation of 50 solar rooftops on its warehousing facilities. The company has also announced the order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian - a company Amazon has already invested $440 million in. The first 10,000 of these delivery vehicles will be on the road by 2022; the remainder will be active by 2030. Less focused on the company's own impact, meanwhile, is the promise of a $100 million fund to restore and protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands around the world, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
Amazon is also opening the Pledge to external companies: Any company can sign the same Pledge, which requires the measuring and reportage of greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis; the implementation of decarbonisation strategies in-line with the Paris Agreement; and the neutralisation of any remaining emissions with a view to become net zero carbon by 2040.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the group representing the near-1,700 staff walking out today, has not responded to Amazon's pledges, which fall short of the demands it has placed on the company.
January 24 2020 | 12:00