The Scottish Government has been urged to stop using the services of web giant Amazon, after reports claimed its Fife-based warehouse destroys unsold items.
Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater pushed the Scottish Government, which paid millions last year to the company for “web services”, to end the deal.
Ms Slater also urged Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister’s Questions to enshrine circular economy principles in law to curb the waste said to take place at the warehouse.
She said: “(Amazon) is a company that has refused to pay the living wage, uses zero-hour contracts and keeps its workers in such a state of desperation that some of them are reduced to sleeping in tents.
“It is a company that has resisted trade unions and avoids paying corporation tax.
“The Scottish Greens have previously challenged the millions of pounds given to Amazon through Scottish Enterprise – in the last financial year the Scottish Government gave them £4.7 million for web services.
“Can the First Minister tell us when her Government will stop giving Amazon money?”
Ms Sturgeon said the Government ensures fair work conditions are attached to any grants given by Scottish Enterprise – the commercial wing of the Government – but she added she is willing to look into the specific grants raised by Ms Slater.
She added: “We all have a duty to (become more sustainable) but companies certainly do and destroying things in the way that has been reported this week I do think raises real questions about the acceptability of that.”
Ms Slater pushed for the Scottish Government to enshrine circular economy principles – which attempt to limit waste and stress the reuse of products made from finite resources – into law in Scotland.
“It is shocking that a company of this size would rather destroy new items than give them away to people in need,” Ms Slater said.
“This shocking revelation underlines that governments must do more to force companies to reduce waste, with regulation and fines where they fail to act.”
The Scottish Conservatives have signalled their intention to bring forward a circular economy Bill during this parliamentary term.
Ms Sturgeon added: “Our commitments to a circular economy and legislating for a circular economy are known and I look forward to taking that forward with co-operation across the Parliament.
“I do think governments have to do more to persuade everybody, to lead by example, to persuade individuals and certainly to persuade companies to cut down on waste and to become much more responsible environmentally more generally.
“But I don’t think a company the size and scale of Amazon should need a government to tell that it shouldn’t be destroying large amounts of things that could actually be, and Lorna Slater’s right, given to people in need.”
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