Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) shareholders on May 22 voted against a climate change proposal backed by the e-retailer’s own employees as well as activist investors.
The proposal had called on the e-giant to describe how it is reducing fossil fuel use. It drew support from more than 7,600 employees.
Amazon faces increasing scrutiny for contributing to greenhouse gas emissions that stem from packaging, delivery trucks and data centers.
Responding to internal and external pressures, the company launched its “Shipment Zero” program several months ago to eliminate the emissions from half of Amazon deliveries to customers by 2030. But critics charged that the plan did not disclose how Amazon would achieve the reductions or report its emissions.
During the shareholders’ meeting, held in Seattle, a group of Amazon employees stood together, the Seattle Times reported, while one asked Jeff Bezos and the company’s stockholders to endorse their proposal for a detailed report on climate risks and fossil fuel use.
“It’s hard to find an issue that’s more important than climate change,” Amazon’s founder and CEO responded, according to the Times. “The science is super-compelling on this. There’s no doubt about it.”
He said that e-commerce and cloud computing “are inherently more carbon-efficient than their alternatives. Building your own data centers, very bad. Driving yourself to the store to pick up a gallon of milk… very bad. So we’re doing a lot intrinsically, and have been for 20 years.”
Generally speaking, the e-commerce channel tends to produce more emissions per item than in retail store commerce. In addition to the packaging, customers tend to buy fewer items per online transaction, and multi-item orders often result in multiple deliveries.
During the meeting shareholders also turned down two proposals on facial recognition that asked Amazon to stop selling its technology to government agencies.