Amazon AWS: Extinction Rebellion protests against data centers as part of wider 'Make Amazon Pay’ campaign

Dec 01, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

As part of the 'Make Amazon Pay' campaign, climate groups Extinction Rebellion and Not Here Not Anywhere took to the giant's Irish Headquarters in protest. The groups called for Amazon's AWS to pay its workers, its taxes and pay for its damage to the climate, due to its 'unsustainable' environmental policies. This is the third year that Make Amazon Pay has organized a global day of action on Black Friday. It also follows the giant recently obtaining approval for two new data centers in north Dublin, despite the group's concerns about extra pressure on the grid, and these facilities' environmental impacts. AWS said in a statement that the company has committed to offtake 100% of the power from renewable wind projects in Cork, Donegal and Galway. However, while being a top PPA buyer, it has been found that Amazon is guilty of overstating its green efforts and that it relies too heavily on offset credits.

The protests by Extinction Rebellion were part of a wider protest which saw thousands of workers at Amazon warehouses in 41 countries involved in the strikes over well-documented poor working conditions and accusations that pay at the company does not reflect the cost-of-living crisis. On Make Amazon Pay's website, it wrote: "The pandemic has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet. Amazon takes too much and gives back too little. It is time to Make Amazon Pay."

Responding to the protest, Amazon said in a statement: "These groups represent a variety of interests, and while we are not perfect in any area, if you objectively look at what Amazon is doing on these important matters you'll see that we do take our role and our impact very seriously." The tech behemoth went on to state that it is inventing and investing significantly in the areas that the groups highlighted, which it said will play a "significant role in addressing climate change with the Climate Pledge commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040," by continuing to offer "competitive wages and great benefits, and inventing new ways to keep [its] employees safe and healthy in our operations network, to name just a few." 

Daniel Kopp, the Progressive International's Make Amazon Pay coordinator, said: "We all know that the price of everything is going up, as is the temperature of our planet. Instead of paying its workers fairly, its taxes in full and for its damage to our environment, Amazon is squeezing every last drop it can workers, communities and the planet."

Adding: "As workers around the world struggle with the cost-of-living scandal, Amazon, despite its enormous profits, is forcing real terms pay cuts on its workers. It shirks its taxes and its CO2 emissions are soaring – up 18% in 2021 – even though Amazon only counts the emissions of 1% of its products sold. In the face of the cost-of-living scandal, global debt crisis and climate emergency, we are coming together to Make Amazon Pay."