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The general meeting of Amazon 2019 gets nervous



Environmentalists protest before the annual general meeting of Amazon

Paayal Zaveri | CNBC

Amazon's annual shareholder meeting on Thursday became hostile as shareholders demanded changes in a range of issues ranging from renewable energy use to equal wages in over 12 different proposals. These included demands that the company use energy consumption measures to tackle climate change and improve the diversity and equal pay of its workforce. In two of the resolutions, Amazon was asked to stop selling its facial recognition software to government agencies, which raises concerns about racial bias and discrimination in a particularly sensitive place because of its growing size, influence and incredible wealth of CEO Jeff Bezos Bill Gates in 201

7 to become the richest person in the world. Under pressure from policymakers, regulators, and activists, Amazon is under pressure to pay and treat warehouse workers, collect consumer data and promote products, and use artificial intelligence.

Emily Cunningham, an Amazon associate who led the Climate Change Initiative, asked Bezos to come on stage to hear her presentation. Bezos appeared later, when he answered questions from the crowd. However, about 50 people in the room stood up during their talk to support their resolution calling on Amazon to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Protesters in front of the shareholders' meeting of Amazon

Paayal Zaveri | CNBC

Shankar Narayan, the ACLU director who challenged Amazon's facial recognition technology ban, argued his case by presenting test results that suggested racial bias and discrimination in the software. He said the face-tracking technology was aimed at immigrants and religious minorities, adding that Amazon should stop selling the software unless the board can prove that it does not interfere with civil rights.

"Face surveillance changes the balance of power between the government and the individual," he said.

When Bezos later entered the stage for a question and answer session, he was asked about Amazon's climate goals. He said it was "hard to find a topic that is more important than climate change". Kara Hurst, head of Amazon for global sustainability, said the company will release its carbon footprint later this year.

All resolutions were rejected by shareholders. The company announced that a submission of the vote will be announced on Friday.

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