Amazon Shareholders Rejected Proposals on Climate Change

Posted on May 22, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Amazon with 46 Comments

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

At its annual shareholder meeting, Amazon shareholders rejected all 12 of the proposals presented. Climate change was one of them, and Amazon rejected the proposal despite having more than 7,500 employees supporting the change.

Even though Amazon is doing a decent amount of work to help reduce its carbon footprint, employees believed the company’s effort wasn’t enough. The proposal requested Amazon to develop a comprehensive climate-change plan for the company, including setting emissions-cut goals, and reducing its dependency on fossil fuels, reports Vox. 

Amazon argued that the company’s already doing a lot to help reduce its carbon footprint, with projects like Shipment Zero which aims to have 50% of its shipments net-zero carbon by 2030. The company also plans to disclose its carbon footprint later this year. But that doesn’t change the fact at all that it continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels.

Employees actually wanted Amazon to eventually move to 100% renewable energy — not only for shipping all the millions of orders but for the entire company and its supply chains. For a company like Amazon, that’s a big ask that will take years to achieve. And that would be fine in the longer run, but considering Amazon isn’t even willing to start developing a climate-change plan right now is simply disappointing for a company that’s worth nearly a trillion dollar.

Tagged with

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (46)

46 responses to “Amazon Shareholders Rejected Proposals on Climate Change”

  1. codymesh

    Pollution is profitable. If you make Amazon pay for whatever pollution it's responsible for, the equation for shareholders will change overnight.

  2. jimchamplin

    Why should this be decided by shareholders? It should be forced on them without regard for their useless opinions. If they don't like it then perhaps honorable seppuku is a better choice for them. Whatever removes them from the decision-making process is fine by me.

    • dstrauss

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      Are you serious? Who more than the shareholders should make this decision - you do understand they OWN the company? Go rob your penny jar and take over the company...oh wait, people should just do what your moral superiority deems right.

      • wright_is

        In reply to dstrauss:

        And that is the problem, as long as shareholders only see monetary profit as a key metric and not the companies behaviour, nothing will change.

        • dstrauss

          In reply to wright_is:

          The problem with this thinking is that it is the CONSUMER who is ultimately at fault here - we all want newer, faster, cheaper in everything we buy; it destroys jobs sending them overseas -where they work for far less; it overloads landfills with plastic and other non-biodegradable substances; prefers coal/oil over natural gas and renewables; produces 4 ton pick up trucks over electric vehicles - I can go on for hours. My point is this is not a war for corporations to wage; they do follow the consumer dollars (or capitalism doesn't work) - educate your consumers to lift their foot off the accelerator if you really think the planet will self-destruct in 12 years per AOC. And yes, I know she now claims that was just sarcasm and wit, but it is being taken for gospel by folks such as the Amazon employees.

    • jchampeau

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      You know that the shareholders own the company, right? Owners of businesses get to make decisions about how the company is run.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      Comrade Stalin is that you. If you don't believe the owners of a company should have a choice in how their company is run you must clearly be a communist.

  3. pargon

    The real problem is that all this is a bunch of BS. It was Global cooling in the 70s, the earth is about to enter a new ice age....then it was global warming and a few decades of that until they finally realized that we've had the "great pause" and cooling now. So "Climate Change" is the next best thing, it covers up that humans aren't affecting the climate at all in either direction and any event can push the communist agenda for more control of our lives.

    Brexit is happening because commies in the EU are involved in what types of tea kettles are legal for the Brits to make tea.

    Good on Amazon shareholders for not letting Amazon's unskilled workers that drop items in a cart dictate terms to the company.

    • bigjon-x64

      In reply to Pargon:

      Disappointed I can only like this once.

    • pargon

      I love that I got so many down votes, it's a badge of pride for not being a liberal shill. I don't ever downvote anyone, I just move on with my day. Guess I'm not part of the gestapo. This manufactured outrage all around us is ridiculous and not helpful, who would have thought that would have so many PC police and SJW's?

      I own shares of Tesla, because I believe in the mission to have sustainable energy and transport. I had shares of Solarcity before they got bought out too. Pollution isn't a good thing, China kills thousands a day with their dirty air....but it is not up to the unskilled workers at Amazon to force it near bankruptcy (they already barely eek by a profit most quarters) to promote something that's not true.

      Notice how in the Paris agreement that China and India and a bunch of third world shitholes were allowed to pollute at record levels with no restrictions while America and the EU had to pick up their slack? It's not about stopping pollution and climate change, it's about power. Man-made Climate Change simply isn't true, climate changes on it's own, has done so for billions of years, we are insignificant. Also, CO2 is great for the environment, plant and animal life thrived millions of years ago with CO2 levels over 5 times higher than what we have today. CO2 is not pollution, the reason that the elite promote global warming is to take control of our lives inch by inch, also their beach front property may be at risk if the sea level does rise, but that's a very long way off. Antarctica has been having record snowfall and ice buildup these past few years.

      The readers of this site let me down in their lack of critical thought to this topic.

      • Craig Smith

        In reply to Pargon: As soon as you use the term SJW it invalidates any argument you might make afterward. Remember this. Even if you are right, labeling the people who don't agree with you "Social Justice Warriors" just makes you sound like a child.

  4. wright_is

    The problem is, such a move will eat into profits. Until shareholder value is redefined to include factors about the damage the company does (human rights, environment and a bunch of other metrics), nothing will change.

    People are only interested in how much money they are earning from their shares - even if they are shovelling more and more of that money into staying cool or for scarce resources, like water or food.

  5. Rob_Wade

    I love this. I just flipping love this, all day long.

  6. illuminated

    This is a bit sad. With all AI and big data at its disposal Amazon at least could create a plan and have some numbers. They do not have to implement it right away but knowing the costs would help everybody. Amazon could do some things that are more expensive for end users but better from energy perspective and then pass those costs to consumers. For example I believe that there is a significant group of people who would accept slower shipping for the sake of more efficient energy usage.

  7. glenn8878

    Amazon is worth a trillion dollars because it runs a business that makes a lot of money, which would be nothing if saddled with other goals. Amazon isn't in the renewable energy game. Amazon actually doesn't make stuff. They sell stuff. It's not like Amazon will last forever. At any time, another company can come around and eat it's lunch. If you want to see Amazon disappear, then do more stuff like this that's anti-competitive and regressive.

  8. lange dtuk verdriet

    Good thinking

    Compared to the sun the amount of heat we put out is miniscule.

    The sun produces so much energy that impacts the earth that even if we stopped all greenhouse gases it wouldn't make any difference

  9. wosully

    ...and yet it still changes. We are full of people putting dogma and cash above the future.

  10. Steve Martin

    The only force that can change this is market force. So called green energy has to become plentiful enough and cheap enough to out-weigh the efficiencies of the current fuel's we have. You'll never get people or companies to change by forcing them to use more expensive options.

    If Shareholders had approved of this, Amazon's cost to the consumers would go up. That opens the door for competitors. Any competitor big enough and willing to undercut Amazon by using traditional fuels would (slowly at first) eat away at Amazon's business.

    When alternative energy becomes as efficient and cheap as the current favorites, then things will change. That looks unlikely in the next decade.

    The only option that could be put to use faster is electricity produced by Nuclear energy. Until people get over their stubborn resistance to Atomic power, we're not going to see the needle move until the later half of this century at best. If the agents who want us to go green were actually serious, this is the option they would put on the table.

  11. red.radar

    It was a publicity stunt and this group got their 15min.

    Its not feasible to run a transportation fleet on 100% renewable. The technology isn't present for the scale at which amazon operates. So this effort was a stunt and nonstarter from beginning.

    However, I am sure measured improvements could be discussed. Such as running the long haul trucking fleets on natural gas rather than diesel. If Amazon could figure out how to electrify / go green the transportation segment of their business I am sure they are highly incentivized to figure that out. Fuel costs are a big item on the balance sheet.

    Lets not forget how much Amazon has positively impacted the environment by revolutionizing retail. Before I would drive to the store and pick up my item and a fleet (probably Walmart) had to still deliver the item to retail. By Amazon changing the face of retail packages come straight to my door. They have already saved a tremendous amount in fuel if you think holistically.

  12. zybch

    Any company who's main function is to move large numbers of items from A to B is necessarily going to have a pretty large footprint. Any similar company has vast expanses of roof space available for solar installations too.

  13. Daekar

    Whether or not you believe that anthropogenic climate change is real, in the larger context of limited fossil fuel reserves and decreased cost over the long term, renewable energy seems a self-evident good to me. I have always believed that the main problem with the environmentalist movement post-2000 is that they attempt to maintain a constant state of panic... The problem is, when you've been screaming that the world is going to end in 15 years and you've been doing it for 25 or 30 years, people eventually catch on. You might be right, and the world might be ending, but you cried wolf too early and too often for your own (and everyone else's) good.

    The correct strategy when dealing with stockholders and nations is slow and steady progress, couched in language emphasizing practical benefit, not "save the whales" with a different label slapped on it and extra dramatic music. You don't NEED that, renewable energy is a no brainer from a mid-term ROI perspective... All that panicky and emotionally driven nonsense doesn't help when you are dealing with intelligent people.

    I have to say, it's a shame about Amazon. The poor stockholders probably don't realize the financial and competitive benefit that they've turned down.

  14. Daniel7878

    I wonder how many of those employees would still support said changes if amazon shareholders wanted to offset the costs with a reduction in workforce. Not necessarily being snarky, but would be an interesting mental exercise.

  15. lvthunder

    Why is it disappointing? Amazon can't possibly get there and they know it. What are they going to do? Force UPS and all their independent contractors who deliver their packages to drive an electric car (which in most places aren't powered by renewable energy anyway. That's what these people are asking for.

    • wright_is

      In reply to lvthunder:

      The problem is, if every company thinks like that, nothing will change. All companies and shareholders are only interested in monetary profit, other metrics are discounted in favour of money, but money won't help you buy a better planet, when we have destroyed this one.

      It will take a big, strong company with global reach to start the change. If they start forcing change on their suppliers, they will have to start complying. It would be a slow process, but it would be a start.

      Being a good company is expensive, you can't continue to live like a robber-barron and still save the planet.

      • lvthunder

        In reply to wright_is:

        It is up to the renewable energy companies to make better products at better prices. They are getting better, but they just aren't there yet.

        I live in the desert known as Las Vegas and if solar panels worked good and were cheap enough everyone would have them, but they just aren't there yet. It rains like 10 days a year here and snows once a decade. This year though was that one time it snowed. The weird thing was the snow stuck to the solar panels first making them ineffective. How does that work in areas where it snows all the time?

        The renewable energy companies are working to improve their products. I do think some of this stuff is the future. It's just not ready yet. This stuff is like the Galaxy Fold in the smartphone market.

        What they could do now though is look into ways to reduce their packaging. Especially for packages that the Amazon people are delivering. If they did that they would save costs and help preserve limited resources.

      • payton

        In reply to wright_is:

        It probably should start with consumers. Stop using Amazon just because they are the cheapest cost, fastest delivering source with the best set of options and let them know that you will no longer purchase from them because of their stance on this.

    • martinm

      In reply to lvthunder:

      The planet is being destroyed by people who can't or won't look after it.

  16. gvan

    I think we should boycott companies that use Cobalt mined by child slave laborers in Congo Africa. Number one on that list Tesela!

Leave a Reply