Employees call on Amazon to address environmental harm to communities of color

Employees call on Amazon to address environmental harm to communities of color
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More than 600 Amazon tech workers have signed onto a statement calling for the e-commerce giant to address pollution that is disproportionately concentrated in communities of color, an employee-organized climate group said Tuesday. 

The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice statement calls for the company to commit to zero emissions by 2030 and deploy zero-emission technologies in communities most impacted by its pollution first. 

We want to be proud of where we work. A company that lives up to its statements about racial equity and closes the racial equity gaps in its operations is a critical part of that,” the statement reads

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The push comes a day ahead of Amazon’s annual shareholders meeting, where a number of proposals will get votes.

Amazon has recommended shareholders vote against proposals that address other controversial, high-profile issues at the company, including a request for a report on promotion data, a diversity and equity audit and study of Amazon’s facial recognition product, according to Amazon's proxy statement. 

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said their shareholder resolution calling for the company to address their concerns about environmental racism was rejected from the proxy ballot. 

Amazon wrote to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) requesting the proposal be excluded because the company said it duplicated another proposal that had been submitted. 

The climate group said they will continue to raise the issue until Amazon produces concrete plans for achieving zero emissions by 2030 and how it will prioritize mitigating the impacts of its pollution on communities of color. 

An Amazon spokesperson said the company is committed to finding “innovative solutions to reduce emissions,” and highlighted that the company co-founded the Climate Pledge, which commits to be net-zero carbon by 2040. 

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The spokesperson’s statement also touted Amazon’s plan to deploy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030, and its investment in large-scale, off-site renewable and storage projects. 

The statement from Amazon did not directly address accusations about how the company’s pollution disproportionately impacts communities of color, nor how the company plans to address those concerns specifically. 

Updated: 1:35 p.m.