Amazon Protested In Three Cities Over Climate Crisis

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Above photo: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Paris – Several hundred environmental activists protested outside Amazon’s headquarters in Paris and at two of its regional distribution centers in France on Tuesday as part of stepped-up climate change demonstrations.

The protest drew support from groups including Friends of the Earth and the “Gilets Jaunes”, who have mounted months of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

Some 240 people blocked access to Amazon’s (AMZN.O) main office in Paris, organizers said, with many denouncing the online giant’s business practices, saying it wasn’t paying its fair share of tax or paying its employees a fair wage.

Around 70 people blockaded a distribution center in the southern city of Toulouse and another 80 were gathered at a center near Lille in the north, with workers forced to go home and operations at both warehouses halted, organizers said.

In a statement sent to Reuters, Amazon said it respected the right of protesters to express their opinion, but defended its business practices, saying it paid all the taxes it owed.

“We are very proud of our work environment and of the thousands of employees we have in France,” it said. “We invite anyone who wants to come and visit any of our sites and form their own opinion.”

The retailer earlier announced the creation of 1,800 new jobs in France as it looks to raise its number of permanent staff to 9,300 by the end of the year.

The demonstrators said they were angered by a report issued last week that showed France was falling behind on its commitments to reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change.

“We have to be radical with our demands,” said Alma Dufour, a Friends of the Earth campaigner. “There are no little steps left to take when it comes to climate change. We want a transformation of the system.”

Organizers said the aim was not to have Amazon shut down in France but to cancel its plans for expansion in 2020.

The U.S. online retail giant has expanded rapidly in the French market, prompting domestic rivals to up their game.

But environmental activists say Amazon needs to do more to limit its environmental impact, including changing a policy of destroying unsold non-food items such as clothes, cosmetics and luxury goods.

French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe called for a ban on the destruction of non-food items last month, saying he hoped it could be brought into effect within four years.

Protests against climate change have expanded across northern and western Europe in recent months, with Swedish teenaged activist Greta Thunberg leading a high-profile campaign in which students have walked out of school on Fridays.

  • Amazonjones

    Working in an Amazon warehouse differs from any other warehouse job I’ve had. Heavy intricate machines through out the facility that is proper place where you can see all of it clearly but its isolated from employee work areas. Independently tasked robot rovers that are transporting pods full of product. Also a staff of associates and management that are encouraging, cheerful, safe at the same time no one is constantly riding your back about what needs to be done. Everyone likes more money but the wage I receive for the work I’m responsible for is more than fair. I’ve personally been enjoying perks from my benefits package the most, as I’m currently taking a course that Amazon has paid the tuition for. Everything isn’t easy or simple, the pace of work is a constant, but not grueling pace and there aren’t too many slow days; however I am a proud Amazonian and I’m happily flourishing with a great company. – BrianD.J, Amazon FC Ambassador

  • kevinzeese

    So interesting to hear from an Amazon FC AMbassador, I’ve heard of them but this is the first post from an Amazon ambassador we have received. Interesting to see how Amazon is using social media to cleanse its image. https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-fc-ambassador-program-shows-reputation-worries-2018-8