Amazon ramps up purchases of renewable energy amid worker battle on climate change

Leticia Miranda
·2 min read

Amazon is now the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in Europe, after establishing new wind and solar energy projects in Sweden, the retail giant announced Monday. The company became the world’s largest buyer of renewable energy last year.

The company now has 206 renewable energy projects worldwide that can generate 8.5 GW of electricity to power its corporate offices, fulfillment centers, Whole Foods Market stores, and Amazon Web Services, the company said in a statement.

"Many parts of our business are already operating on renewable energy, and we expect to power all of Amazon with renewable energy by 2025," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement. “With these nine new wind and solar projects, we have announced 206 renewable wind and solar projects worldwide, and we are now the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in Europe and globally," he said.

The new projects include a solar energy storage facility in California’s Imperial Valley, Murray County in Oklahoma and three across Ohio’s Allen, Auglaize, and Licking counties. It also announced a new renewable energy solar project in Alberta, Canada, and a wind farm off the coast of Scotland.

“Wall Street, customers, and international businesses are all watching what American companies are doing about climate change, and this type of leadership can have a major impact on the climate crisis," said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Amazon’s new renewable energy projects come two years after the company launched its Climate Pledge to reach net zero carbon by 2040. Companies who sign the pledge agree to regularly report greenhouse gas emissions, implement decarbonization strategies and offset emissions. More than 50 companies, including Uber, IBM and Unilever, have signed the pledge.

“It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, wrote in a letter to shareholders last week. “I’m excited to be part of this journey and optimistic that humanity can come together to solve this challenge.”

However, the company came under fire earlier this month when the National Labor Relations Board found Amazon illegally retaliated against two employees who criticized the company’s impact on climate change. The two employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, were part of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a group of Amazon workers that seeks to pressure the company to release a climate plan that sets out emissions-cuts goals, transitions away from fossil fuels, and prioritizes climate impact in business decisions.

The company said it terminated the two employees “for repeatedly violating internal policies.”