Story at a glance

  • This comes after Amazon issued warnings to two employees for speaking out against the company’s stance on climate, claiming they violated company policy.
  • The employees had criticized Amazon for providing services to oil and gas companies.
  • Amazon says its policies are standard for large corporations.

Hundreds of Amazon employees are publicly criticizing the online-retail giant’s record on climate change and its communications policy in an online blog that potentially puts their jobs at risk.

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, an advocacy group of workers concerned about the company’s carbon footprint, published quotes from more than 350 Amazon employees signed with their names and job titles. The move is in defiance of company rules which prohibit workers from commenting publicly on business without corporate justification or approval from management.

“Amazon’s role in the climate crisis is staggering and alarming,” Scott Ogle, a queue management analyst, wrote in the blog. “While the company has publicly announced measures to reduce emissions and impacts in the coming years, it does not add up with its ongoing support to oil and gas industries and its efforts to silence employees who speak out. I stand with fellow employees who prioritize sustainability over profits.”

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The blog post comes after Amazon recently issued warnings to at least two employees who criticized the e-commerce giant’s environmental policies in the Washington Post. The employees were critical of Amazon for providing cloud computing services to oil and gas companies. 

The employees, Maren Costa and Jamie Kowalski, were warned that doing so was in violation of Amazon’s external communications policy. 

But Amazon says the policy is not new and is similar to those at other big corporations. 

“While all employees are welcome to engage constructively with any of the many teams inside Amazon that work on sustainability and other topics, we do enforce our external communications policy and will not allow employees to publicly disparage or misrepresent the company or the hard work of their colleagues who are developing solutions to these hard problems,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement

Amazon has pledged to become net zero carbon by 2040 and use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. The climate justice group released a statement saying it’s not satisfied with the company’s pledge.

“The company agreed to publish its carbon footprint for the first time last year and, in September, in response to thousands of employees walking out, announced plans to be net carbon zero by 2040,” Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said in a press release. “However, employees called for Amazon to achieve zero emissions by 2030, which climate scientists say is necessary to halt catastrophic warming, not net zero by 2040.” 

Published on Jan 27, 2020