Bloomberg this morning reports that "more than 350 Amazon.com Inc. employees contributed public statements focused on the company’s climate practices, defying company policy and escalating a feud between management and a coalition of concerned workers."
The statements were posted on the Medium website, and come just weeks "after it emerged that Amazon had threatened workers who had talked to the Washington Post with disciplinary action or termination if they continued to speak publicly about the company without authorization."
The employees defying company orders are described as "members of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, an organization that has been campaigning for more than a year to get Amazon to cut ties with fossil fuel companies and commit to limiting its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions."
In a statement, Amazon says that "while all employees are welcome to engage constructively with any of the many teams inside Amazon that work on sustainability and other topics, we do enforce our external communications policy and will not allow employees to publicly disparage or misrepresent the company or the hard work of their colleagues who are developing solutions to these hard problems."
Amazon has maintained that it is working hard on environmental issues, with CEO/founder Jeff Bezos announcing "an initiative aimed at making his company a net-zero carbon emitter by 2040."
- KC's View:
As big a fan and user of Amazon as I am, I would never argue that it is the most sustainability-conscious company out there - so much of its business model is built on actions that run contrary to the things that sustainability activists talk about. It is all about priorities … and I, like a lot of people, sometimes make selfish choices that prioritize convenience over the environment.
I don't think Amazon is going to fire anyone, at least not right away. I hope there are no repercussions. There would be too much blowback, and Amazon would be seen as not being the kind of company many of us think it is.
Bezos needs to find a way to embrace these folks, and make them part of the solution … as opposed to treating them like they are part of the problem. Employees - and customers - expect more of the companies with which they do business, and leaders have to factor that in to how they behave.