Amazon Says it will be 100% Renewable by 2025
Amazon (AMZN) announced an increase of its renewable energy portfolio by nearly 30%, with 37 new wind and solar energy projects around the world totaling 3.5 GW of clean energy capacity. The company expects to achieve its sustainability goals– including reaching net zero emissions by 2040 and powering 100% of company activities with renewable energy– by 2025. That’s five years ahead of its original 2030 goal.
Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world, with a renewables portfolio of 17.7 GW across 310 projects and 19 countries. Once operational, Amazon says its portfolio of projects will produce enough renewable energy to power 3.9 million U.S. homes and avoid 17.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually.
Sustainability has been a hot-button issue for Amazon, which has come under fire for vastly undercounting its carbon footprint. Last year, the tech giant received an F grade for failing to disclose its carbon footprint to nonprofit CDP (originally known as the Carbon Disclosure Project). Last year, Amazon submitted to CDP’s questionnaire for the first time. But unlike the majority of companies pressured by investors to disclose, Amazon asked that its report not be shared publicly.
Taking a closer look at other related ESG metrics, executive compensation remains a key concern. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy was paid $212.7M in 2021, his first year running the company. Jassy’s 2021 compensation marks a sixfold increase to his pay in 2020, when he was head of AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing business. Of note: 81% of shareholders voted in favor of the executive compensation plan in last year’s Say-on-Pay vote.
Overpaid? Amazon 2021 Pay for Performance Assessment
Activision Blizzard Gets a Board Refresh Ahead of Microsoft Deal
Videogame maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI) today announced the addition of two new senior women executives to its Board. Lulu Cheng Meservey has joined the Board, effective immediately. Cheng Meservey is currently VP of communications at Substack (privately-held). Kerry Carr will be nominated for election to the Company’s Board of Directors at Activision Blizzard’s 2022 annual meeting. Carr is currently an SVP with Bacardi (privately held) and alum of The Walt Disney Company (DIS). Hendrik J. Hartong III and Casey Wasserman will not stand for re-election at the 2022 Annual Meeting.
Activision’s board has been criticized for supporting CEO Bobby Kotick amidst allegations of a toxic culture. The company has faced an onslaught of discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits and federal investigations.
Executive compensation is another important notable concern, with the company’s C-suite and directors overpaid relative to peers. Notably, only 55% of shareholders voted in favor in the company’s 2021 Say-on-Pay vote. Following the sexual harassment allegations, in October 2021, Kotick took a pay cut which reduced his overall annual compensation to $62,500 and did not give him any additional bonuses or equity. That said, critics viewed the reduction as an “empty public gesture” in light of the severity of the allegations facing the company.
Relating to compensation, there are obvious concerns around Kotick, who could could receive as much as $22 million in stock in July or later, if Activision’s board sees improvement in company culture. Should Kotick be fired without cause by Microsoft, he’ll get a $15 million “golden parachute,” according to the filing’s compensation proposal.
Overpaid? Activision 2020 Pay for Performance Assessment
Regulators are currently reviewing the $68.7 billion proposed acquisition by Microsoft (MSFT). Since the January announcement, the deal has come under significant scrutiny– both by the FTC and shareholders of both companies. The FTC is currently conducting an antitrust review to determine whether the takeover would give Xbox an unfair competitive advantage. Earlier this month, members of the US Senate also wrote a letter of concern about the deal, suggesting that Microsoft’s acquisition could lead to sexual misconduct accusations being swept under the rug. An improvement of Activision’s corporate culture is critical to the success of this transaction, which would be Microsoft’s largest to date. Activision Blizzard investors will vote for or against the proposed takeover in a special meeting of stockholders on April 28.
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