357 Amazon employees take public stand on climate change despite past threats


iStock(SEATTLE) — Hundreds of Amazon employees are taking a stand against what they say is the e-commerce giant’s “insufficient action on the climate crisis,” in spite of claims that their jobs were threatened for speaking out in the past about the issue.On Sunday, 357 tech workers at the Seattle-based company took to Medium to post their full names, job titles and public statements about how they believe Amazon needs to do more to address climate change.  “As Amazon workers, we are responsible for not only the success of the company, but its impact as well,” Sarah Tracy, a software development engineer at Amazon said in a statement, adding that “it’s our moral responsibility to speak up.”The blog post comes just weeks after Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, an environmental advocacy group started by Amazon employees, said that an employee was threatened with termination after speaking to the press about climate change and the company.”This clearly shows that as Amazon tech workers have reflected upon what is the right thing to do at this moment, they decided that they needed to keep speaking out,” Victoria Liang, a software development engineer said in a statement Sunday.”Every person who shared a statement had to decide for themselves that whatever the consequences, they needed to stand up for what they felt was right,” she added. “The climate crisis is just that urgent. We just couldn’t be silenced by these policies on issues of such moral weight.”Amazon and tech workers have increasingly been emboldened to protest and speak out about a wide variety of issues. In September, more than 1,500 Amazon employees walked off their jobs to raise awareness for climate change and called on the company and CEO Jeff Bezos to do more.A series of staff-organized protests have also shaken up fellow tech giant Google in recent months.An Amazon spokesperson told ABC News Monday that the company is “passionate” about climate change and has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2040.The company does, however, enforce an external communications policy for staff speaking to the press or on social media, but Amazon has previously said that it is similar to those of other large companies.“Of course we are passionate about these issues. Our ‘Positions’ page makes this clear and outlines what we’re doing about them. Take climate change as one example — we founded the Climate Pledge, committing to net zero carbon by 2040, which is ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We plan to be using 100% renewable energy by 2030, and we have thousands of people working on sustainability initiatives across the company.”The statement continued: “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.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.