Local Amazon warehouse blockaded in global Black Friday protests

Amazon’s Bristol distribution centre at Avonmouth is being blockaded by climate activists today, “Black Friday”, as part of an international campaign targeting the mega-retailer.

Extinction Rebellion activists from Bristol and the south west moved onto the Avonmouth site at 4am this morning, and have “locked on” to bamboo towers and scaffolding structures blocking two access roads to the site. 

Thirteen Amazon “fulfilment centres” around the UK, together with Amazon centres in Europe, are being roadblocked, with the aim of disrupting Amazon’s business and forcing the corporation to change its highly climate-destructive corporate practices. 

In 2018 Amazon’s own research [1] showed that its activities were responsible for emitting 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents into the atmosphere – roughly equal to the annual emissions of Norway. 

In 2019 Amazon pledged to be a net zero carbon emitter by 2040. But there is no evidence for how that goal will be achieved and the pledge does not include Amazon’s supply chain, which accounts for up to 75% of its emissions. 

In 2020 the corporation’s carbon emissions increased by a further 19%, to 60.64 million metric tonnes: the same as Austria.[2]

Extinction Rebellion Rebel Elder activist, Gaie Delap, 74, from Montpelier, Bristol says:

“International businesses of this scale cannot be allowed to be laws unto themselves. Their leaders bear the same responsibility as national governments. 

“We all understand that this kind of super-consumption is unnecessary and destructive. And a growing number of businesses are distancing themselves from Black Friday, a day that will  contribute to a surge in vehicle and carbon emissions. [3]

“Two weeks after the end of COP26 it is truly shocking that Amazon is actively promoting Black Friday.[4] This is a US ‘shopping holiday’ which Amazon itself introduced into the UK in 2010.

“We will not achieve the radical reductions in carbon emissions that COP26 clearly showed are necessary by just continuing ‘business as usual’.

“If we want to save the Amazon rainforest, we have to target mega-retailer Amazon.” 

A major UK investigation [5] in 2021 showed that Amazon routinely destroys millions of items of unsold stock every year, products that are often new and unused.

In September 2019 Amazon employees in Seattle went on strike over the corporation’s lack of action on the climate crisis. In January 2020 hundreds of Amazon US employees defied a ban on talking publicly about the company’s practices to call on Amazon to do more to fight climate change. [6]

Amazon actively assists fossil fuel companies Shell, Exxon and BP to drill for more oil via its Amazon Web Services. [7] [8]

At the UK blockade locations, including Avonmouth, protest banners displaying “Amazon Crime”, “Infinite growth, Finite planet” and “Make Amazon Pay” [9] draw attention to Amazon’s contribution to the destruction of the planet and its damaging business practices.


MAKE AMAZON PAY CAMPAIGN: Quote from campaign website: “On Black Friday 26 November 2021, from oil refineries, to factories, to warehouses, to data centres, to corporate offices in countries across the world, workers and activists are rising up in strikes, protests and actions to Make Amazon Pay.”

DENIAL OF WORKERS’ RIGHTS:  Ethical Consumer magazine, which has called for a boycott of Amazon, identifies examples of Amazon’s bad working practices with “reports of impossible nine-second-per-package targets; pervasive worker surveillance in warehouses; pregnant employees having to stand for 10 hours at a time; repeated worker injuries; and employees having to urinate in bottles for fear of taking breaks.” [10]

TAX AVOIDANCE: Amazon’s key UK business paid just £3.8m more corporation tax in 2020 than in 2019, even as sales increased by £1.89bn. [11]


[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/30/amazon-says-carbon-emissions-rose-19percent-in-2020.html

[2] Country emissions data: https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions

[3] https://fashionunited.com/news/retail/black-friday-has-a-carbon-emissions-problem/2020111336476

[4] https://www.amazon.co.uk/blackfriday/

[5] https://www.itv.com/news/2021-06-21/amazon-destroying-millions-of-items-of-unsold-stock-in-one-of-its-uk-warehouses-every-year-itv-news-investigation-finds

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/27/amazon-workers-climate-protest

[7] https://apnews.com/article/jeff-bezos-technology-business-climate-wa-state-wire-96ceb0345d6044758ba36a61e1ffe84d

[8] https://aws.amazon.com/energy/?energy-blog.sort-by=item.additionalFields.createdDate&energy-blog.sort-order=desc

[9] https://makeamazonpay.com/

[10] https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalcampaigns/boycott-amazon?platform=hootsuite

[11] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/sep/07/amazon-uk-arm-pays-38m-more-corporation-tax-despite-19bn-sales-rise