web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Data Centers"

Big Tech Could Emerge From Coronavirus Crisis Stronger Than Ever

OAKLAND, Calif. — While the rest of the economy is tanking from the crippling impact of the coronavirus, business at the biggest technology companies is holding steady — even thriving.

Amazon said it was hiring 100,000 warehouse workers to meet surging demand. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said traffic for video calling and messaging had exploded. Microsoft said the numbers using its software for online collaboration had climbed nearly 40 percent in a week.

With people told to work from home and stay away from others, the pandemic has deepened reliance on services from the technology industry’s biggest companies while accelerating trends that were already benefiting them.

Amazon has muscled in on brick-and-mortar retailers for years, but shoppers now reluctant to go to the store are turning to the e-commerce giant for a wider variety of goods, like groceries and over-the-counter drugs.

Streaming services like Netflix have dampened box office sales for movies in recent years. Now, as movie theaters close under government orders, Netflix and YouTube are gaining a new audience.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_170600328_dc688970-2297-4f9f-a0c1-e62f09b2b56f-articleLarge Big Tech Could Emerge From Coronavirus Crisis Stronger Than Ever Zoom Video Communications YouTube.com WhatsApp Inc Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming Supermarkets and Grocery Stores Social Media Quarantines Netflix Inc Mobile Applications Google Inc Facebook Inc E-Commerce Data Centers Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Computers and the Internet Cloud Computing Apple Inc Amazon.com Inc Alphabet Inc airbnb
Credit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times

Companies were already dumping their own data centers to rent computing from Amazon, Microsoft and Google. That shift is likely to speed up as millions of employees are forced to work from home, putting a strain on corporate technology infrastructures.

Even Apple, which once appeared to be among the American companies most at risk from the coronavirus because of its dependence on Chinese factories and consumers, appears to be on good footing. Many of Apple’s factories are nearly back to normal, people are spending more time and money on its digital services, and on Wednesday it even released new gadgets.

“The largest tech companies could emerge on the other side of this much stronger,” said Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities.

That’s not to say to say major technology companies shouldn’t be worried. Advertising, the lifeblood of Google and Facebook, tends to suffer during economic downturns. The stocks of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have collectively lost more than $1 trillion in market value from a month ago, when U.S. stocks traded at record highs. And Microsoft and Apple have cut their short-term financial forecasts because of slowing consumer spending.


#styln-briefing-block { font-family: nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif; background-color: #f4f5f2; padding: 20px; margin: 0 auto; border-radius: 5px; color: #121212; box-sizing: border-box; width: calc(100% – 40px); } #styln-briefing-block a.briefing-block-link { color: #121212; border-bottom: 1px solid #cccccc; font-size: 0.9375rem; line-height: 1.375rem; } #styln-briefing-block a.briefing-block-link:hover { border-bottom: none; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-bullet::before { content: ‘•’; margin-right: 7px; color: #333; font-size: 12px; margin-left: -13px; top: -2px; position: relative; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-bullet:not(:last-child) { margin-bottom: 0.75em; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-header { font-weight: 700; font-size: 16px; margin-bottom: 16px; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-header a { text-decoration: none; color: #333; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-footer { font-size: 14px; margin-top: 1.25em; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-briefinglinks { padding-top: 1em; margin-top: 1.75em; border-top: 1px solid #E2E2E3; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-briefinglinks a { font-weight: bold; margin-right: 6px; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-footer a { border-bottom: 1px solid #ccc; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-footer a:hover { border-bottom: none; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-header { border-bottom: none; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-lb-items { display: grid; grid-template-columns: auto 1fr; grid-column-gap: 20px; grid-row-gap: 15px; line-height: 1.2; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-update-time a { color: #D0021B; font-size: 12px; } @media only screen and (min-width: 600px) { #styln-briefing-block { padding: 30px; width: calc(100% – 40px); max-width: 600px; } #styln-briefing-block a.briefing-block-link { font-size: 1.0625rem; line-height: 1.5rem; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-bullet::before { content: ‘•’; margin-right: 10px; color: #333; font-size: 12px; margin-left: -15px; top: -2px; position: relative; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-header { font-size: 17px; } #styln-briefing-block .briefing-block-update-time a { color: #D0021B; font-size: 13px; } } @media only screen and (min-width: 1024px) { #styln-briefing-block { width: 100%; }

Beyond the biggest companies, it is more of a struggle. Communication tools like the videoconferencing service Zoom are now essential, but ride-hailing firms like Uber and Lyft and property-rental sites like Airbnb are seeing customers vanish.

The $3.9 trillion global technology industry will suffer this year, though just how much remains unclear. In December, the research firm IDC forecast 5 percent worldwide growth for sales of hardware, software and services in 2020. After it became apparent a month ago that the coronavirus would disrupt supplies and cut sales in China, IDC said annual revenue might inch ahead at only 1 percent. That 1 percent growth now looks decidedly optimistic, said Frank Gens, chief analyst at IDC.

But when the economy does eventually improve, Big Tech could benefit from changes in consumer habits. And despite more than 18 months of criticism from lawmakers, regulators and competitors before the pandemic hit the United States, the biggest companies are likely to finish the year stronger than ever.

While Amazon has changed shopping habits for items like books, getting customers to trust it with groceries has been challenging. Now, as more people are forced to stay home, one of the last strongholds of physical retailing may be coming under pressure.

Michael Crowe of Charlotte, N.C., ordered groceries from Amazon for the first time a few days ago because he didn’t want to risk going to a supermarket, he said.

“I could see myself doing it longer term when this is over,” said Mr. Crowe, 36, who works for the home improvement retailer Lowe’s.

As more customers try different Amazon services, they may create permanent shifts in buying habits, said Guru Hariharan, a former Amazon employee and the founder of CommerceIQ, a company whose automation software is used by major brands like Kellogg’s and Kimberly-Clark.

In a blog post last week, Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said it was adding the new jobs at its U.S. warehouses and delivery network because “our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year.”

One reason for Amazon’s increase in demand is that shoppers are buying a broader variety of goods. From Feb. 20 to March 15, over-the-counter cold medicine sales rose ninefold on Amazon in the United States from a year earlier. Dog food orders increased 13-fold, and paper towels and toilet paper sales tripled, according to CommerceIQ.

Stay-at-home orders are unsurprisingly increasing traffic to video streaming sites, apps and social media platforms. Downloads of Netflix’s app — a proxy for traffic from the streaming site — jumped 66 percent in Italy, according to data from Sensor Tower, an app data company. In Spain, they rose 35 percent. In the United States, where Netflix was already popular, there was a 9 percent bump.

Netflix declined to comment on whether it was seeing a surge in subscribers.

Government officials in Europe even called Reed Hastings, the chief executive, to ask if Netflix could reduce the video quality of its streams to lighten the strain on the region’s internet network. The company agreed to do it for 30 days. YouTube also agreed to suspend streaming of high-definition video in Europe for a month.

Voice calling over Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service has doubled in volume, Mr. Zuckerberg said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. Facebook’s Messenger app has had similar growth, he said.

“So the normal spike for us is New Years Eve, right, where basically everyone at the same time just wants to message everyone and takes a selfie and sends to their family wherever they are, and to wish them a happy New Year,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “And we are well beyond” that spike.

Analysts are bullish about Facebook’s prospects because many people turn to it for news in times of crisis and to distract themselves while working from home.

“We believe that many Facebook users have been accessing its properties at meaningfully elevated levels over the last several weeks,” Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, wrote in a research note last week.

The shift to work at home has also demonstrated the merits of cloud computing when use unexpectedly spikes. For companies managing their internet infrastructures, making adjustments to computing needs on the fly is expensive and complicated. Cloud computing makes it easier.

Amazon, Microsoft and Google, the three major cloud-computing platforms, are swimming in cash and offering deep discounts for renting the underlying infrastructure for a corporate network as well as the software used by employees.

Microsoft has aggressively pushed its new business messaging and collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams, which competes with the independent company Slack. On Thursday, Microsoft said the number of users on Teams had grown 37 percent in a week to more than 44 million daily users. There have been at least 900 million meeting and call minutes on Teams every day.

“We believe that this sudden, globe-spanning move to remote work will be a turning point in how we work and learn,” wrote Jared Spataro, a corporate vice president at Microsoft.

Even Apple, a company with hundreds of closed stores around the world (except now in China), is increasingly looking as if it will emerge from the pandemic in good shape.

Terry Guo, the head of Foxconn, which assembles most of the world’s iPhones for Apple, told reporters on March 12 that Foxconn’s Chinese factories were resuming production ahead of schedule and were back to normal — well ahead of expectations that would happen by the end of March.

Apple has tried to move away from its heavy reliance on device sales and toward so-called services revenue, which includes app sales and subscriptions to its music and TV services.

For that business, having much of the public in the United States and Europe stay inside is almost certainly good news. Early data shows that people are spending more time watching TV. Apple has spent billions of dollars on original programming for its Apple TV Plus service, hoping to hook people enough to pay $5 a month for it.

More time and money spent on phones is also good news for Apple and Google because they take a cut of most app sales.

Over the first 10 weeks of the year, Apple’s cut of iPhone app sales grew 18 percent to roughly $690 million, while Google’s share of Android app sales rose 5 percent to roughly $360 million, according to Sensor Tower, an app data firm.

Over the past two weeks in the United States, their revenues increased more sharply. U.S. iPhone app sales grew 20 percent to roughly $670 million, while U.S. Android app sales increased 14 percent to about $380 million, according to Sensor Tower.

“After the financial crisis in 2008, Apple emerged even stronger,” said Mr. Ives from Wedbush. “There is no reason it and the other giants can’t do the same again.”

Daisuke Wakabayashi and Jack Nicas reported from Oakland, Mike Isaac from San Francisco, and Steve Lohr from New York. Edmund Lee contributed reporting from New York, Kate Conger from Oakland, and Erin Griffith from San Francisco.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Over 4,200 Amazon Workers Push for Climate Change Action, Including Cutting Some Ties to Big Oil

SEATTLE — Employees at big tech companies have pushed back against their employers for working with the military and law enforcement offices, and demanded better treatment of women and minorities.

Now, thousands of them are also taking on climate change.

This week, more than 3,500 Amazon employees called on the company to rethink how it addresses and contributes to a warming planet. The action is the largest employee-driven movement on climate change to take place in the influential tech industry.

The workers say the company needs to make firm commitments to reduce its carbon footprint across its vast operations, not make piecemeal or vague announcements. And they say that Amazon should stop offering custom cloud-computing services that help the oil and gas industry find and extract more fossil fuels.

The goal for Amazon’s leaders and employees is “that climate change is something they think about whenever a business decision is being made,” said Rajit Iftikhar, a software engineer in Amazon’s retail business. “We want to make Amazon a better company. It is a natural extension of that.”

The letter adds support for a new tactic among activist tech workers: using the stock they receive as compensation to agitate for change. Like other shareholders, they can file a resolution urging a particular corporate change that investors vote on at a company’s annual meeting. Historically, this approach has been used by outside activist investors, not employees.

The Amazon employees signing the letter, who made their names public, are pushing Amazon to approve a shareholder resolution that would force the company to develop a plan to address its carbon footprint. The resolution was filed by more than two dozen current and former employees late last year, and it could come up for a vote next month.

It is rare for tech employees, even some of the most activist ones, to attach their names to public criticism of their employers. While thousands walked out at Google over the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims, for example, few names were connected to the effort.

“It’s exactly what Amazon has taught me to be: bold, audacious, and tackle big problems,” said Maren Costa, a principal user-experience designer who has been with the company for almost 15 years.

Amazon has more than 65,000 corporate and tech employees in the United States. More people signed the letter than Amazon employs at any of its individual domestic offices outside Seattle and the Bay Area.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_96373663_4a7dc943-5925-4cf1-bec3-f2d123883043-articleLarge Over 4,200 Amazon Workers Push for Climate Change Action, Including Cutting Some Ties to Big Oil Shareholder Rights and Activism Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming E-Commerce Data Centers Computers and the Internet Cloud Computing Amazon.com Inc Alternative and Renewable Energy

Amazon’s campus in Seattle. A shareholder resolution that would force the company to develop a plan to address its carbon footprint could come up for a vote next month.CreditMatthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

An Amazon spokesman, Sam Kennedy, did not comment directly on the letter but said the company was addressing climate change in many ways.

“Earlier this year, we announced that we will share our companywide carbon footprint, along with related goals and programs,” he said in a statement. “We also announced Shipment Zero, our vision to make all Amazon shipments net-zero carbon, with 50 percent of all shipments net zero by 2030.”

More than its other tech peers, Amazon is particularly vulnerable to criticism about its carbon footprint. It ships millions of items large and small. The data centers that run its cloud operations need power to stay cool, and its cloud offerings and artificial intelligence put it in touch with customers in big businesses, including the energy industry.

Amazon in 2014 announced a “long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage” for its data centers, but it did not set a deadline. On Monday, it said it was planning three new wind farms. It was its first announcement of a new renewable energy project for its data centers in more than two years, even as its cloud business more than doubled in that time.

The workers are urging Amazon to adopt a much more ambitious effort. In late November and early December, 16 current and former Amazon employees filed shareholder proposals. And once they went public with their campaign, a dozen more joined, including Chris Page, who used to run Amazon’s sustainability work.

In January, a group of the workers met with Amazon’s sustainability team and investor relations officials to discuss their proposal.

“It was clear to me that we didn’t have a companywide plan that could address climate change at the scale and urgency that we need,” Ms. Costa said. “That team didn’t have the resources to do the job that I think they know they need to do.”

Mr. Kennedy, the company spokesman, said, “In operations alone, we have over 200 scientists, engineers and product designers dedicated exclusively to inventing new ways to leverage our scale for the good of customers and the planet.”

The employees worked to build more internal support. In mid-February, their email list grew from 600 to more than 1,200 in about a day, said Emily Cunningham, a designer who has worked at Amazon since 2013.

“We don’t have a lot of culture of dissent at Amazon, but it resonated,” she said.

A few days later, on Presidents’ Day, Amazon announced the Shipment Zero initiative. Amazon also said in a blog post that it would disclose its companywide carbon footprint this year.

The next day, Amazon contacted the people behind the resolution to meet again. The company wanted to “ask about willingness to withdraw in light of the disclosures in the blog and those to come later this year,” Mark Hoffman, a top lawyer at Amazon, wrote to them in an email.

Shipment Zero had been in the works for a while. But to the activists, the timing felt like a victory.

“It was a direct response to the pressure that this small group of people have been applying,” Ms. Costa said. “It gave me hope that we could make a difference.”

Then the activists saw an article in Gizmodo, a technology news site, that outlined how Amazon’s cloud computing division was building special offerings for oil and gas companies. On its website, Amazon says its customers include BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and its products can “find oil faster,” “recover more oil” and “reduce the cost per barrel.”

In a second meeting with Amazon, the workers raised the oil industry connections with the company’s sustainability team; its members did not seem to be aware of the business, according to several employees at the meeting.

“That really showed us Amazon is not taking climate change seriously if the highest levels of the sustainability team are not even aware that we have an oil and gas business,” said Ms. Cunningham, who was at the meeting.

In mid-March, Amazon informed the activists that the company’s board would recommend that shareholders oppose the resolution.

“The board agrees that planning for potential disruptions posed by climate change and reducing companywide dependence on fossil fuels are important,” the formal recommendation said. “However, the board believes that Amazon is already doing this.”

So the employees put together the public letter, which outlines six principles they think should guide a plan, including “ending all custom solutions specifically designed for oil and gas extraction and exploration.”

They began sharing the letter in small circles on Monday, and then more broadly on Tuesday. By midafternoon, more than 2,000 employees had signed on. On Wednesday morning, they released the letter with more than 3,500 Amazon employees putting their name behind the cause.

Amazon typically sends out the proxy ballot for investors to vote on shareholder resolutions in mid-April.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

More than 3,500 Amazon Employees Urge Company Action on Climate Change

SEATTLE — Employees at big tech companies have pushed back against their employers for working with the military and law enforcement offices, and demanded better treatment of women and minorities.

Now, thousands of them are also taking on climate change.

This week, more than 3,500 Amazon employees called on the company to rethink how it addresses and contributes to a warming planet. The action is the largest employee-driven movement on climate change to take place in the influential tech industry.

The workers say the company needs to make firm commitments to reduce its carbon footprint across its vast operations, not make piecemeal or vague announcements. And they say that Amazon should stop offering custom cloud-computing services that help the oil and gas industry find and extract more fossil fuels.

The goal for Amazon’s leaders and employees is “that climate change is something they think about whenever a business decision is being made,” said Rajit Iftikhar, a software engineer in Amazon’s retail business. “We want to make Amazon a better company. It is a natural extension of that.”

The letter adds support for a new tactic among activist tech workers: using the stock they receive as compensation to agitate for change. Like other shareholders, they can file a resolution urging a particular corporate change that investors vote on at a company’s annual meeting. Historically, this approach has been used by outside activist investors, not employees.

The Amazon employees signing the letter, who made their names public, are pushing Amazon to approve a shareholder resolution that would force the company to develop a plan to address its carbon footprint. The resolution was filed by more than two dozen current and former employees late last year, and it could come up for a vote next month.

It is rare for tech employees, even some of the most activist ones, to attach their names to public criticism of their employers. While thousands walked out at Google over the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims, for example, few names were connected to the effort.

“It’s exactly what Amazon has taught me to be: bold, audacious, and tackle big problems,” said Maren Costa, a principal user-experience designer who has been with the company for almost 15 years.

Amazon has more than 65,000 corporate and tech employees in the United States. More people signed the letter than Amazon employs at any of its individual domestic offices outside Seattle and the Bay Area.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_96373663_4a7dc943-5925-4cf1-bec3-f2d123883043-articleLarge More than 3,500 Amazon Employees Urge Company Action on Climate Change Shareholder Rights and Activism Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming E-Commerce Data Centers Computers and the Internet Cloud Computing Amazon.com Inc Alternative and Renewable Energy

Amazon’s campus in Seattle. A shareholder resolution that would force the company to develop a plan to address its carbon footprint could come up for a vote next month.CreditMatthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

An Amazon spokesman, Sam Kennedy, did not comment directly on the letter but said the company was addressing climate change in many ways.

“Earlier this year, we announced that we will share our companywide carbon footprint, along with related goals and programs,” he said in a statement. “We also announced Shipment Zero, our vision to make all Amazon shipments net-zero carbon, with 50 percent of all shipments net zero by 2030.”

More than its other tech peers, Amazon is particularly vulnerable to criticism about its carbon footprint. It ships millions of items large and small. The data centers that run its cloud operations need power to stay cool, and its cloud offerings and artificial intelligence put it in touch with customers in big businesses, including the energy industry.

Amazon in 2014 announced a “long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage” for its data centers, but it did not set a deadline. On Monday, it said it was planning three new wind farms. It was its first announcement of a new renewable energy project for its data centers in more than two years, even as its cloud business more than doubled in that time.

The workers are urging Amazon to adopt a much more ambitious effort. In late November and early December, 16 current and former Amazon employees filed shareholder proposals. And once they went public with their campaign, a dozen more joined, including Chris Page, who used to run Amazon’s sustainability work.

In January, a group of the workers met with Amazon’s sustainability team and investor relations officials to discuss their proposal.

“It was clear to me that we didn’t have a companywide plan that could address climate change at the scale and urgency that we need,” Ms. Costa said. “That team didn’t have the resources to do the job that I think they know they need to do.”

Mr. Kennedy, the company spokesman, said, “In operations alone, we have over 200 scientists, engineers and product designers dedicated exclusively to inventing new ways to leverage our scale for the good of customers and the planet.”

The employees worked to build more internal support. In mid-February, their email list grew from 600 to more than 1,200 in about a day, said Emily Cunningham, a designer who has worked at Amazon since 2013.

“We don’t have a lot of culture of dissent at Amazon, but it resonated,” she said.

A few days later, on Presidents’ Day, Amazon announced the Shipment Zero initiative. Amazon also said in a blog post that it would disclose its companywide carbon footprint this year.

The next day, Amazon contacted the people behind the resolution to meet again. The company wanted to “ask about willingness to withdraw in light of the disclosures in the blog and those to come later this year,” Mark Hoffman, a top lawyer at Amazon, wrote to them in an email.

Shipment Zero had been in the works for a while. But to the activists, the timing felt like a victory.

“It was a direct response to the pressure that this small group of people have been applying,” Ms. Costa said. “It gave me hope that we could make a difference.”

Then the activists saw an article in Gizmodo, a technology news site, that outlined how Amazon’s cloud computing division was building special offerings for oil and gas companies. On its website, Amazon says its customers include BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and its products can “find oil faster,” “recover more oil” and “reduce the cost per barrel.”

In a second meeting with Amazon, the workers raised the oil industry connections with the company’s sustainability team; its members did not seem to be aware of the business, according to several employees at the meeting.

“That really showed us Amazon is not taking climate change seriously if the highest levels of the sustainability team are not even aware that we have an oil and gas business,” said Ms. Cunningham, who was at the meeting.

In mid-March, Amazon informed the activists that the company’s board would recommend that shareholders oppose the resolution.

“The board agrees that planning for potential disruptions posed by climate change and reducing companywide dependence on fossil fuels are important,” the formal recommendation said. “However, the board believes that Amazon is already doing this.”

So the employees put together the public letter, which outlines six principles they think should guide a plan, including “ending all custom solutions specifically designed for oil and gas extraction and exploration.”

They began sharing the letter in small circles on Monday, and then more broadly on Tuesday. By midafternoon, more than 2,000 employees had signed on. On Wednesday morning, they released the letter with more than 3,500 Amazon employees putting their name behind the cause.

Amazon typically sends out the proxy ballot for investors to vote on shareholder resolutions in mid-April.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

More than 3,500 Amazon Employees Urge Bold Action on Climate Change

Westlake Legal Group 10amazon1-facebookJumbo More than 3,500 Amazon Employees Urge Bold Action on Climate Change Shareholder Rights and Activism Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming E-Commerce Data Centers Computers and the Internet Cloud Computing Amazon.com Inc Alternative and Renewable Energy

SEATTLE — Employees at big tech companies have pushed back against their employers for working with the military and law enforcement offices, and demanded better treatment of women and minorities.

Now, thousands of them are also taking on climate change.

This week, more than 3,500 Amazon employees called on the company to rethink how it addresses and contributes to a warming planet. The action is the largest employee-driven movement on climate change to take place in the influential tech industry.

The workers say the company needs to make firm commitments to reduce its carbon footprint across its vast operations, not make piecemeal or vague announcements. And they say that Amazon should stop offering custom cloud-computing services that help the oil and gas industry find and extract more fossil fuels.

The goal for Amazon’s leaders and employees is “that climate change is something they think about whenever a business decision is being made,” said Rajit Iftikhar, a software engineer in Amazon’s retail business. “We want to make Amazon a better company. It is a natural extension of that.”

The letter adds support for a new tactic among activist tech workers: using the stock they receive as compensation to agitate for change. Like other shareholders, they can file a resolution urging a particular corporate change that investors vote on at a company’s annual meeting. Historically, this approach has been used by outside activist investors, not as leverage by employees.

The Amazon employees signing the letter, who made their names public, are pushing Amazon to approve a shareholder resolution that would force the company to develop a plan to address its carbon footprint. The resolution was filed by more than two dozen current and former employees late last year, and it could come up for a vote next month.

It is rare for tech employees, even some of the most activist ones, to release their names publicly criticizing their employers. While thousands walked out at Google over the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims, for example, few names were connected to the effort.

“It’s exactly what Amazon has taught me to be: bold, audacious, and tackle big problems,” said Maren Costa, a principal user-experience designer who has been with the company for almost 15 years.

Amazon has more than 65,000 corporate and tech employees working in the United States. More people signed the letter than Amazon has employed at any of its individual U.S. offices outside of Seattle and the Bay Area.

Amazon spokesman Sam Kennedy did not comment directly on the letter but said the company is addressing climate change in many ways. “Earlier this year, we announced that we will share our companywide carbon footprint, along with related goals and programs,” he said in a statement. “We also announced Shipment Zero, our vision to make all Amazon shipments net-zero carbon, with 50 percent of all shipments net zero by 2030.”

More than its other tech peers, Amazon is particularly vulnerable to criticism about its carbon footprint. It ships millions of items large and small. The data centers that run its cloud operations need power to stay cool, and its cloud offerings and artificial intelligence put it in touch with customers in big businesses, including the energy industry.

Amazon in 2014 announced a “long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage” for its data centers, but it did not set a deadline. On Monday, it said that it was planning three new wind farms. It was its first announcement of a new renewable energy project for its data centers in more than two years, even as its cloud business more than doubled in that time.

The workers are urging Amazon to adopt a much more ambitious effort. In late November and early December, 16 current and former Amazon employees filed shareholder proposals. And once they went public with their campaign, a dozen more joined, including Chris Page, who used to run Amazon’s sustainability work.

In January, a group of the workers met with Amazon’s sustainability team and investor relations officials to discuss their proposal.

“It was clear to me that we didn’t have a companywide plan that could address climate change at the scale and urgency that we need,” Ms. Costa said. “That team didn’t have the resources to do the job that I think they know they need to do.”

Mr. Kennedy, the company spokesman, said, “In operations alone, we have over 200 scientists, engineers and product designers dedicated exclusively to inventing new ways to leverage our scale for the good of customers and the planet.”

The employees worked to build more internal support. In mid-February, their email list grew from 600 to more than 1,200 in about a day, said Emily Cunningham, a designer who has worked at Amazon since 2013. “We don’t have a lot of culture of dissent at Amazon, but it resonated.”

A few days later, on Presidents’ Day, Amazon announced the Shipment Zero initiative. Amazon also said in a blog post that it would disclose its companywide carbon footprint this year.

The next day, Amazon contacted the people behind the resolution to meet again. The company wanted to “ask about willingness to withdraw in light of the disclosures in the blog and those to come later this year,” Mark Hoffman, a top lawyer at Amazon, wrote to them in an email.

Shipment Zero had been in the works for a while. But to the activists, the timing felt like a victory.

“It was a direct response to the pressure that this small group of people have been applying,” Ms. Costa said. “It gave me hope that we could make a difference.”

Then the activists saw an article in Gizmodo, a technology news site, that outlined how Amazon’s cloud computing division was building special offerings for oil and gas companies. On its website, Amazon says its customers include BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and its products can “find oil faster,” “recover more oil” and “reduce the cost per barrel.”

In a second meeting with Amazon, the workers raised the oil industry connections with the company’s sustainability team; its members did not seem to be aware of the business, according to several employees at the meeting.

“That really showed us Amazon is not taking climate change seriously if the highest levels of the sustainability team are not even aware that we have an oil and gas business,” said Ms. Cunningham, who was at the meeting.

In mid-March, Amazon informed the activists that the company’s board would recommend that shareholders oppose the resolution. “The board agrees that planning for potential disruptions posed by climate change and reducing companywide dependence on fossil fuels are important,” the formal recommendation said. “However, the board believes that Amazon is already doing this.”

So the employees put together the public letter, which outlines six principles they think should guide a plan, including “ending all custom solutions specifically designed for oil and gas extraction and exploration.”

They began sharing the letter in small circles on Monday, and then more broadly on Tuesday. By midafternoon, more than 2,000 employees had signed on. On Wednesday morning, they released the letter with more than 3,500 Amazon employees putting their name behind the cause.

Amazon typically sends out the proxy ballot for investors to vote on shareholder resolutions in mid-April.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

More than 3,500 Amazon Employees Urge Bold Action on Climate Change

Westlake Legal Group 10amazon1-facebookJumbo More than 3,500 Amazon Employees Urge Bold Action on Climate Change Shareholder Rights and Activism Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming E-Commerce Data Centers Computers and the Internet Cloud Computing Amazon.com Inc Alternative and Renewable Energy

SEATTLE — Employees at big tech companies have pushed back against their employers for working with the military and law enforcement offices, and demanded better treatment of women and minorities.

Now, thousands of them are also taking on climate change.

This week, more than 3,500 Amazon employees called on the company to rethink how it addresses and contributes to a warming planet. The action is the largest employee-driven movement on climate change to take place in the influential tech industry.

The workers say the company needs to make firm commitments to reduce its carbon footprint across its vast operations, not make piecemeal or vague announcements. And they say that Amazon should stop offering custom cloud-computing services that help the oil and gas industry find and extract more fossil fuels.

The goal for Amazon’s leaders and employees is “that climate change is something they think about whenever a business decision is being made,” said Rajit Iftikhar, a software engineer in Amazon’s retail business. “We want to make Amazon a better company. It is a natural extension of that.”

The letter adds support for a new tactic among activist tech workers: using the stock they receive as compensation to agitate for change. Like other shareholders, they can file a resolution urging a particular corporate change that investors vote on at a company’s annual meeting. Historically, this approach has been used by outside activist investors, not as leverage by employees.

The Amazon employees signing the letter, who made their names public, are pushing Amazon to approve a shareholder resolution that would force the company to develop a plan to address its carbon footprint. The resolution was filed by more than two dozen current and former employees late last year, and it could come up for a vote next month.

It is rare for tech employees, even some of the most activist ones, to release their names publicly criticizing their employers. While thousands walked out at Google over the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims, for example, few names were connected to the effort.

“It’s exactly what Amazon has taught me to be: bold, audacious, and tackle big problems,” said Maren Costa, a principal user-experience designer who has been with the company for almost 15 years.

Amazon has more than 65,000 corporate and tech employees working in the United States. More people signed the letter than Amazon has employed at any of its individual U.S. offices outside of Seattle and the Bay Area.

Amazon spokesman Sam Kennedy did not comment directly on the letter but said the company is addressing climate change in many ways. “Earlier this year, we announced that we will share our companywide carbon footprint, along with related goals and programs,” he said in a statement. “We also announced Shipment Zero, our vision to make all Amazon shipments net-zero carbon, with 50 percent of all shipments net zero by 2030.”

More than its other tech peers, Amazon is particularly vulnerable to criticism about its carbon footprint. It ships millions of items large and small. The data centers that run its cloud operations need power to stay cool, and its cloud offerings and artificial intelligence put it in touch with customers in big businesses, including the energy industry.

Amazon in 2014 announced a “long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage” for its data centers, but it did not set a deadline. On Monday, it said that it was planning three new wind farms. It was its first announcement of a new renewable energy project for its data centers in more than two years, even as its cloud business more than doubled in that time.

The workers are urging Amazon to adopt a much more ambitious effort. In late November and early December, 16 current and former Amazon employees filed shareholder proposals. And once they went public with their campaign, a dozen more joined, including Chris Page, who used to run Amazon’s sustainability work.

In January, a group of the workers met with Amazon’s sustainability team and investor relations officials to discuss their proposal.

“It was clear to me that we didn’t have a companywide plan that could address climate change at the scale and urgency that we need,” Ms. Costa said. “That team didn’t have the resources to do the job that I think they know they need to do.”

Mr. Kennedy, the company spokesman, said, “In operations alone, we have over 200 scientists, engineers and product designers dedicated exclusively to inventing new ways to leverage our scale for the good of customers and the planet.”

The employees worked to build more internal support. In mid-February, their email list grew from 600 to more than 1,200 in about a day, said Emily Cunningham, a designer who has worked at Amazon since 2013. “We don’t have a lot of culture of dissent at Amazon, but it resonated.”

A few days later, on Presidents’ Day, Amazon announced the Shipment Zero initiative. Amazon also said in a blog post that it would disclose its companywide carbon footprint this year.

The next day, Amazon contacted the people behind the resolution to meet again. The company wanted to “ask about willingness to withdraw in light of the disclosures in the blog and those to come later this year,” Mark Hoffman, a top lawyer at Amazon, wrote to them in an email.

Shipment Zero had been in the works for a while. But to the activists, the timing felt like a victory.

“It was a direct response to the pressure that this small group of people have been applying,” Ms. Costa said. “It gave me hope that we could make a difference.”

Then the activists saw an article in Gizmodo, a technology news site, that outlined how Amazon’s cloud computing division was building special offerings for oil and gas companies. On its website, Amazon says its customers include BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and its products can “find oil faster,” “recover more oil” and “reduce the cost per barrel.”

In a second meeting with Amazon, the workers raised the oil industry connections with the company’s sustainability team; its members did not seem to be aware of the business, according to several employees at the meeting.

“That really showed us Amazon is not taking climate change seriously if the highest levels of the sustainability team are not even aware that we have an oil and gas business,” said Ms. Cunningham, who was at the meeting.

In mid-March, Amazon informed the activists that the company’s board would recommend that shareholders oppose the resolution. “The board agrees that planning for potential disruptions posed by climate change and reducing companywide dependence on fossil fuels are important,” the formal recommendation said. “However, the board believes that Amazon is already doing this.”

So the employees put together the public letter, which outlines six principles they think should guide a plan, including “ending all custom solutions specifically designed for oil and gas extraction and exploration.”

They began sharing the letter in small circles on Monday, and then more broadly on Tuesday. By midafternoon, more than 2,000 employees had signed on. On Wednesday morning, they released the letter with more than 3,500 Amazon employees putting their name behind the cause.

Amazon typically sends out the proxy ballot for investors to vote on shareholder resolutions in mid-April.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com