Amazon pollutes more than the biggest coal-fired power plants in the EU. Exploitation of working people destroys the planet!
Environmental organizations are actively involved in the #MakeAmazonPay employee campaign. That campaign included blocking deliveries at Amazon warehouses near Wrocław in December 2020, and was supported by Greenpeace Polska . We also received letters of support from local mining trade unions . It is notable that former miners of decommissioned coal mines in the Lower Silesia region are among the rank and file members of our commission at Amazon – and count among our most active.
Meanwhile, through its anti-social and anti-labour management model, Amazon has become a huge greenhouse gas emitter. Despite pro-ecological propaganda, Amazon’s carbon footprint in 2019 grew to 51 million tons . Thus, Jeff Bezos’ company has already surpassed all the largest coal-fired power plants in the European Union, with Amazon’s carbon footprint equal to the top five of ten largest emitters in the EU combined . Moreover, while the largest coal-fuelled power plant in the EU, Bełchatów, reduced its carbon footprint by 15 percent (i.e. by 5.6 million tons of CO2, from 38.3 to 32.7 million tons) , Amazon increased its by 15% (almost 7 million tons, from 44.4 to the above-mentioned 51 million tons) . The annual difference in the growth of Amazon’s carbon footprint is close to the entire declared emissions of the largest coal producer in the European Union and the largest coal-mine operator in this region, the Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa group .
Amazon, which is constantly expanding in Poland, has not yet disclosed the full scale of its carbon emissions in our country. However, one must be mindful of the fundamentally different social functions that power plants, coal mines and the Amazon corporation perform in Poland. These power plants and mines provide energy to homes, schools, hospitals, offices and all other social infrastructure – including private companies like Amazon. With the large (although decreasing) carbon footprint of these entities, almost 40 million people in Poland benefit daily from the fruits of the miners’ and power plant workers’ labour. For short change, a typical Amazon employee in Poland – in many cases, a former miner – packs products sold and consumed in Germany and other Western countries; ensuring, in fact, that they work for the German retail market, are compensated for their labour at 1/4 of a German wage, and do so in a warehouse built several hundred kilometres from the eastern border of that country.
Amazon management bases its profits on the chronic overwork of employees. The exploitation of human resources goes hand in hand with the exploitation of the Earth’s resources. As a result of the activities of our union, it has been established that the heads of Polish warehouses at Amazon force employees to significantly exceed reasonable working hours and conditions . The excessively high pace of work also translates to excessive energy consumption and a higher carbon footprint. In the December 2020 peak period, Polish Amazon employees had their daily working time extended to 11.5 hours, which also means greater energy consumption in warehouses. What’s more, low wages encourage the corporation to lengthen the supply chain: packing occurs in the poor East, while the consumption of those packages transpires in the rich West.
The profits accumulated by Amazon millionaire-shareholders, led by the company’s CEO and one of the richest people in the world, Jeff Bezos, allow these millionaires to live in clover at a time of great social crises. Amazon’s local workers, paid slightly above the minimum wage in Poland and well below the Western minimum wage, are particularly vulnerable to crises – both ecological and epidemiological.
That is why the joint participation of trade unions and environmental groups in the #MakeAmazonPay campaign is so important. Together we must make Amazon pay – finally – for their exploitation of people and the planet.
 Video from Greenpeace Polska’s participation in the Make Amazon Pay protests:
 The content of the letter of unions from the Bogdanka mine to OZZ IP in Amazon:
 Official company report
 Nico Muzi, Top shipping polluter overtakes power plants as coal shuts down, Transportenvironment.org portal, 3.07.2020
 Katarzyna Grzelak, Bełchatów is the leader of the infamous ranking. The Polish power plant is the largest emitter of CO2 in the EU, Focus.pl portal, 8 July 2020
 AP News, “Despite green pledges, Amazon’s carbon footprint grew 15%”
 “Carbon footprint of the JSW Group”, company statement
 Klara Klinger, Patrycja Otto, “Work beyond measure, forced to work standing up, problems with water … It’s all in the Polish Amazon”, Dziennik.pl portal, 9/08/2018
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