A man in a suit gestures during a presentation.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos used his last letter to Amazon shareholders to deal with worker well-being and the corporate’s important carbon footprint.

Bezos’ new emphasis on worker well-being comes on the heels of a contentious unionization vote at one in all its warehouses in Bessemer, Alabama. Although Amazon received, with 1,798 staff voting towards unionizing out of three,041 complete ballots solid, participation was low, with simply over half of eligible voters collaborating. Labor organizers have made it clear that even when unionization votes proceed to go towards them, they’ll hold pressuring Amazon by way of different means.

That technique could also be working. Bezos dedicates a good portion of his letter to each the unionization vote and to worker well-being. Whereas Bezos wrote a single paragraph a couple of tuition reimbursement program three years in the past, he wrote practically 1,200 phrases about pay charges, worker satisfaction, and office security this 12 months.

“Does your Chair take consolation within the final result of the latest union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t,” Bezos wrote. “I feel we have to do a greater job for our staff. Whereas the voting outcomes had been lopsided and our direct relationship with staff is robust, it’s clear to me that we’d like a greater imaginative and prescient for a way we create worth for workers—a imaginative and prescient for his or her success.”

Amongst his proposals are new staffing rotations that he hopes will cut back repetitive stress accidents at warehouses. Accidents aren’t unusual at warehouses—many actions are repeated a whole lot of occasions per day—however Amazon’s achievement facilities appear to be significantly liable to accidents, in response to an investigation by Reveal. As a result of Amazon’s warehouse robots transfer rapidly, staff transfer sooner, too, giving their muscle groups much less time to relaxation between repeated actions.

Bezos additionally touts the corporate’s choice to extend Amazon’s minimal wage to $15 per hour, a fee that labor teams have been advocating for since at the very least 2012. He cites a latest examine that claims that pay in low-wage areas elevated by 4.7 % when the corporate bumped charges to $15 per hour.

Local weather Pledge

Amazon’s monumental carbon footprint has additionally drawn scrutiny in recent times, and Bezos once more spills a good variety of bytes discussing the matter. The corporate’s carbon footprint surged in 2019 to over 51 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is just about 6 % lower than Peru’s annual emissions. 

Bezos factors out that Amazon helped co-found the Local weather Pledge, which commits firms to succeed in net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. As a part of that pledge, Amazon has put in or bought 6.9 gigawatts of wind and photo voltaic capability that produce 20 million gigawatt-hours of electrical energy per 12 months. The corporate has additionally invested $1 billion in automaker Rivian and has positioned an order with the startup for 100,000 electrical supply vans. By 2030, the EVs will shave the corporate’s footprint by an estimated 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per 12 months. Amazon has additionally invested $2 billion in a local weather tech fund, and Bezos himself has dedicated $10 billion in grants for climate-oriented firms and organizations.

The Local weather Pledge additionally requires firms to offset emissions “to compensate for financial actions the place low-carbon options don’t exist,” Bezos wrote. Offsets span a variety of actions, from planting timber and defending forests to burning methane from landfills, although most revolve round timber. As a complete, offsets are contentious due to various their shortcomings. Some offsets would possibly find yourself being double-counted, others is probably not as everlasting as initially supposed, and nonetheless others might rely forests that had been already protected, which received’t result in any internet reductions. The Nature Conservancy, for instance, has lately come below fireplace for the way in which it was calculating offsets from its program, which incorporates many properties it already owned and guarded.

Finish of an period

This letter is Bezos’ final, since he shall be stepping down as CEO later this 12 months, greater than 20 years after founding the corporate that has modified e-commerce. He left an indelible mark on Amazon—one which isn’t more likely to fade, as he’s not likely leaving. Fairly, he’ll be serving as government chair, a job that can discover him overseeing the board and advising the incoming CEO, present AWS head Andy Jassy.

“In my upcoming function as Govt Chair, I’m going to deal with new initiatives. I’m an inventor,” Bezos wrote.

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