On Friday, 1,500 Amazon employees will join hundreds of thousands of others all over the world in a climate strike, attempting to force the hand of major corporations and world leaders to get serious about climate change. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is trying to get ahead of things, announcing that his company will be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2040.
“It’s a difficult challenge for us because we have deep large physical infrastructure. We’re not only moving information around … we deliver more than 10 billion items a year,” Bezos told reporters Thursday, according to NPR. “And so we can make the argument — and we plan to do so passionately — that if we can do this, anyone can do this.”
Amazon has taken heat for dragging its heels on social responsibility, lagging behind the renewable energy gains of other major tech companies like Facebook and Google.
The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice showed some measured appreciation for the move but still plan on walking out. “Today, we celebrate,” the group said in a statement. “Tomorrow, we’ll be in the streets to continue the fight for a livable future.”
Elizabeth Sturcken is a managing director at the Environmental Defense Fund, and she told NPR that Amazon’s Climate Pledge is an encouraging step in the right direction.
“They were in danger of being left behind as a laggard,” she said. “There’s a lot of hard work ahead for Amazon. But these ambitious, aspirational goals need to be turned into meaningful milestones, and they need to act transparently.”