Olivia Rosane, ECOWATCH
Amazon shareholders voted down an employee-backed resolution calling for more aggressive action on climate change at their annual meeting Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The employee-filed resolution asked the company to develop a public plan for responding to extreme weather events and weaning itself off of fossil fuels. It was publicly backed by more than 7,600 employees, who signed their names to an open letter, a novel tactic for tech employee activism, The New York Times said.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the group that grew out of the resolution, said in a press release they will file another if the company’s board doesn’t increase its climate commitments.
“The enthusiasm is overwhelming,” Amazon employee Rebecca Sheppard, who works in air cargo operations, told the Los Angeles Times. “We’ll be back.”
Ahead of the vote, the resolution had won the support of two of the largest proxy advisory firms in the U.S. — Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). Glass Lewis said that Amazon was less transparent about its sustainability plans than similar companies, The New York Times said. However, the Amazon Board formally opposed the resolution, meaning it faced an uphill battle to gain the 50 percent of support it would have needed to pass, according to the employee press release. Amazon will release the final vote tallies Friday, the company told the Los Angeles Times.
Read more at https://www.ecowatch.com/amazon-climate-change-resolution-2637862790.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1
Craig Giammona and Jack Kaskey, BLOOMBERG NEWS
Products made possible through gene-editing have landed on grocery shelves. Whether they’ll stay there is up to shoppers wary of technological tinkering.
Food companies are now required to label GMOs in Vermont, and debate is raging over a federal standard. But so far, regulators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have taken a pass on overseeing gene-edited crops. They say cutting DNA from a plant is not the same as adding genes from another organism. So corn injected with outside DNA is classified a genetically modified organism, but canola that can tolerate herbicide because scientists removed a gene is not.
Industry giants like Monsanto Co., DuPont and Dow Chemical Co. have stepped through the regulatory void. They’ve struck licensing deals with smaller companies for gene-editing technology. U.S. farmers harvested 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares) last year of gene-edited canola processed into cooking oil marketed as non-GMO. Looming are U.S. consumers who’ve rejected GMO products despite a preponderance of evidence that they’re safe to grow and eat.
“There’s a feeling among consumers that they want their food as close as possible to what nature intended,” said Carl Jorgenson, director of wellness strategy at Daymon Worldwide, a retail marketing firm. “There’s an overall distrust of Big Food and Big Science.”
Farmers and scientists have manipulated crops for thousands of years. Gene-editing is what proponents call a more precise version of mutation breeding that’s been used since the mid-1900s. Commercial varieties of edibles, including wheat, barley, rice and grapefruit, were created by mutating DNA with chemicals or radiation.
With GMOs, there’s suspicion among consumers. U.S. food companies spent millions fighting labeling requirements, fueling theories that GMOs are unhealthy. And there’s a sense that the benefits of genetically engineered crops have gone mainly to farmers and big agricultural companies that supply seeds and pesticides and not to consumers.
Read more at: Americans Are Buying Gene-Edited Food That’s Not Labeled GMO – Bloomberg