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Amazon makes "climate promise" when workers plan walkout: NPR

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces the company's climate initiative Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Amazon

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Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Amazon

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Announces the Company's Climate Initiative Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Amazon

Amazon is "ready to be in the middle of the herd" when it comes to climate-focused corporate policy, CEO Jeff Bezos said Thursday.

The company promises to operate its global infrastructure with 100% renewable energy by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2040. To help there, it plans to buy 100,000 electric vans from Michigan-based company Rivian, where Amazon previously invested.

Amazon says its climate promise will fulfill the Paris climate agreement ten years before the schedule. The company also invites other companies to sign up for the pledge.

"It's a difficult challenge for us because we have deep physical infrastructure. We not only move information around … we deliver more than 10 billion articles a year," Bezos told reporters Thursday. "And then we can make the argument – and we plan to make it passionate – that if we can do this, anyone can do it."

Amazon's announcement marks the most sweeping climate-related action from the company, a day before more than 1,500 Seattle-based workers planned a walkout to draw attention to their criticism of the company's climate policy. Amazon has lagged behind other companies – including tech giants like Facebook and Google – to reach the goal of 100% renewable energy and share data on their emissions.

The Amazon Workers' Planned Walkout Friday is part of a series of rally called the Global Climate Strikes before Monday's UN Climate Action Summit. Workers complained that the company known for its obsession with data and measurable goals would not share data on its own carbon footprint and urged Amazon to come to zero emissions by 2030.

"Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we will be on the streets to continue the fight for a lively future, "the Amazon climate justice group said in a statement Thursday. The passenger is also expected to pull some workers from Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

Thousands of Amazon employees signed a shareholders' resolution earlier this year to establish a climate plan that did not pass. More than 8,000 workers had also signed an open letter to Bezos urging Amazon to set measurable goals, terminate contracts with oil and gas companies and stop donating to lawmakers who deny climate change.

"I think it's perfectly understandable that people are passionate about this issue," Bezos said, adding that Amazon would review its campaign donations. The company will also invest $ 100 million to restore and protect forests, grasslands and wetlands.

However, Bezos said he did not agree with the employees' call to terminate contracts with energy companies and stop providing them with cloud computing tools. "Asking oil and energy companies to make this transition with poor tools is not a good idea and we will not," he said.