More than 350 Amazon employees have publicly criticized their company's climate change plans, despite a new policy threatening their jobs.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the company had updated its internal policies to ban employees from speaking out about its climate initiatives without seeking corporate approval. The change, first reported by Earther, happened in September 2019 - days after thousands of employees said they would protest Amazon's lack of action at a global climate strike.
Hear no evil
In April 2019, some 8,700 Amazon employees signed an open letter to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon board of directors criticizing its efforts to reduce emissions, the sale of AWS services to oil and gas companies, and company donations to climate-denying legislators, among other demands.
The group, operating under the name 'Amazon Employees for Climate Justice,' presented 11 proposals at the company's shareholder meeting in May - but all were voted down, while Bezos remained off stage.
Now, with the threat of job losses, some from the group have doubled down: Signing their names to another public call for action.
While Amazon announced plans to be carbon neutral by 2040 late last year, the group believes that the pledge does not go far enough.
“Microsoft plans to be carbon negative (by 2030) sooner than we want to be carbon neutral (by 2040)," Duncan Scott, Amazon software engineer, said. "How can Amazon claim to be 'thinking big'?”
Speak no evil
Many in the group specifically called out AWS's partnership with oil and gas companies - although Microsoft also pursues such contracts.
"AWS Oil and Gas contracts jeopardize the objective of Amazon’s own Climate Pledge, which requires companies to commit to reaching Paris Agreement goals 10 years early," Justin Campbell, data engineer, said.
"The Paris Agreement established a global carbon budget that allows for burning less than one-fifth of current oil and gas reserves. If AWS continues to help fossil fuel companies, like BP and Shell, discover and extract fossil fuel, it will guarantee we will NEVER meet the Paris Agreement, let alone ahead of schedule.”
Mila Rahman, DSP payments lead, added: "Our AI and ML are being used for ‘finding oil,’ ‘producing oil,’ and ‘optimizing production.’"