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Climate One (Series)

Produced by Climate One

Most recent piece in this series:

2019-11-22 Letters to the Boss: Help Fix Our Planet

From Climate One | Part of the Climate One series | 58:55

Hero_letters_to_the_boss_small

Host: Greg Dalton

Guests:
Sarah Read, User Experience Researcher for Prime Video, Amazon; Amazon Employees for Climate Justice Member
Jacob Adamson, Software Development Engineer, Amazon; Amazon Employees for Climate Justice Member
Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group
Andrew Winston, Author, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build a Competitive Advantage (Yale University Press, 2006)
Sara Law, Head of Global Initiatives, Carbon Disclosure Project
Swami Venkataraman, Senior VP and Manager, ESG Analytics and Integration at Moody's Investors Service

Portions of this program were recorded at The Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.

When more than a thousand Amazon employees walked off the job last September, it wasn’t higher wages or better benefits they were demanding.

“It was a really, really powerful moment to see such support for something as radical, I guess as climate change,” remembers Sarah Read, an Amazon User Experience Researcher.

“That was a moment when I realized that we as employees could change what the company was doing,” agrees software designer Jacob Adamson. “Just the mere act of signing a letter could move the largest company, move the richest man in the world, to do something.”

Read and Adamson are both members of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), the group that organized the walkout. Workers in Amazon offices from Seattle to New York to Dublin participated, joined by students, youth groups and tech workers from other companies. It was the culmination of a long-waged employee campaign urging CEO Jeff Bezos and other upper level management to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. (Amazon scored a “C” on the Greenpeace Click Clean Report; tech companies Facebook, Google and Youtube each scored an “A.” Bezos has since pledged to make the company carbon neutral, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.)

Climate change is becoming a major risk factor for corporations - today, not far in the future. With groups like the Carbon Disclosure Project grading companies on environmental action, employees, consumers and investors are taking note -- and woe to those CEOs who are slow to pick up the ball.

“We’re gonna start to see some efforts where silence is complacency and it’s no longer acceptable,” says Joel Makower of Greenbiz. “You’re gonna have to get off the sidelines, to use the football metaphor, and get into the game one way or the other.  And companies that aren’t, I think, are gonna find themselves facing some new pressures.”

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

Amazon’s climate pledge confirms the new power of employees (Quartz)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces new ‘climate pledge’ (Washington Post)

Greenbiz

Green to Gold (Andrew Winston)

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)

Greenpeace Click Clean Report