Extinction Rebellion Scotland targets Amazon in Black Friday blockade at Dunfermline
November 26, 2021
Amazon’s fulfillment center in Dunfermline, Fife, the biggest distribution center in the UK, is being blocked by climate activists who are disrupting the company’s business on its busiest day of the year.
The action is intended to draw attention to Amazon’s exploitative and environmentally destructive business practices, disregard for workers’ rights in the name of company profits, as well as the wastefulness of Black Friday.
The group is blocking the entrances using lock-ons, and banners with the words ‘MAKE AMAZON PAY’ and ‘CLIMATE JUSTICE = WORKER’S JUSTICE’ on them.
The blockade is part of an international action by Extinction Rebellion targeting 15 Amazon fulfillment centers in the UK, US, Germany, and the Netherlands aimed at highlighting Amazon’s “crimes”. This is happening in solidarity with activists and workers from the global ‘Make Amazon Pay’ campaign, demanding better working conditions, clear environmental commitments, and for Amazon to pay their fair share of tax.
Eleanor Harris, from Glasgow, said “It is essential we move to a new model of economics that prioritizes wellbeing and sustainability over profit. The era of exploitative throw-away capitalism will soon be over, either by changing to meet the challenges we now face or by the destruction of our global habitats and societies.”
Extinction Rebellion says that Amazon, one of the world’s largest companies, is responsible for a long list of widely recognized “crimes” – from tax avoidance to the exploitation of workers, to rampant wastefulness and ecological destruction – while making its founder and largest shareholder Jeff Bezos one of the richest men on earth. The action aims to expose Amazon’s crimes and the wastefulness of Black Friday while holding it up as an example of a wider economic system designed to keep us hooked on buying things we don’t need, at a price the planet cannot afford.
Maciej Walczuk, 19-year-old student said “ We have to recognize that the consumption in the global north is largely based upon the exploitation of the working class and the global south, while companies like Amazon make massive profits and contribute to worsening the climate and ecological crisis. We need a new system that respects people and the planet, instead of blindly chasing profit”
Not only does Amazon’s business emit more carbon emissions than a country the size of Denmark, but it is actively helping fossil fuel companies such as Shell, Exxon, and BP to drill for more oil via its Amazon Web Services.
Amazon continues to lobby the US Government to fight against climate legislation while telling the public they are committed to green initiatives. They are committing the very definition of greenwash.
Governments are subsidizing the growth of this massive monopoly by allowing the e-commerce giant to legally report billions of pounds of sales in a tax haven, meaning they are stealing from the general public in order to grow. This helps Amazon to undercut more responsible businesses and is depriving governments of tax revenue that could be used to fund essential public services and tackle climate change.
Amazon is fast becoming a global monopoly and already controls 15% of global online retail sales and 34% of the world’s cloud-computing capacity. By controlling these essential pieces of infrastructure, Amazon can privilege its own products and services and set the terms by which other companies have access to these markets. This is proving a disaster for small independent businesses and leading to an extraordinary concentration of wealth and power.
In June this year the biggest retailer in the world was also found to be guilty of destroying millions of items of unsold stock every year, including at Dunfermline where up to 200,000 items would be destroyed every week, 50% still in their shrink wrap.
Despite Amazon UK sales increasing by £1.89bn last year, the firm paid less than 0.1% more corporation tax. Bezos chooses to spend billions on his space tourism venture instead. Rocket flights emit 100 times more emissions per passenger than planes. Planes create 73 – 91% more CO2 emissions than trains.
Humanity is already extracting the world’s resources at unsustainable levels. We would need 1.7 earths to be able to sustain current levels of extraction.
The production of consumer goods is contributing to carbon emissions rapidly rising in G20 nations. It is expected to rise by 4% this year due to the increase of coal-fired power and increased energy demand in developed economies. The UK must take responsibility for the outsourced production of goods we demand from other countries. Excessive consumption is contributing to climate destruction and killing us. Black Friday only exacerbates this. The UN reports climate and weather-related disasters have surged five-fold over the last 50 years.