Worker Rights Proposals
Proposal: Hourly Associates on the Board. Lead Proponent: Oxfam America
“Shareholders know that listening to workers is good business, but Amazon’s corporate board is not listening," said Hana Ivanhoe, Advocacy and Campaigns Manager at Oxfam America. "The predominantly white and male board doesn’t include any of the company’s hourly associates, who are largely women from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and who thoroughly understand the company’s daily operations. Amazon adding a worker voice on their board can allow the company to head off costly labor disputes before they start, and would send an important signal that worker voices matter at the top.”
Proposal: Human Rights Assessment (Freedom of Association). Lead Proponent: SHARE
"For a company with a massive global workforce like Amazon, respect for the right of its employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining should be a baseline expectation," said Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, SHARE. "When a large part of the shareholder base supported our resolution on that issue last year, and the company did nothing to respond to that clear signal, we knew we had to put this back on the ballot and raise our voices that much louder."
Proposal: Racial and Gender Pay Gap. Lead Proponent: Arjuna Capital
“Despite years of strong investor pressure, Amazon continues to obfuscate its pay gap metrics, holding back median pay data for women and people of color,” said Natasha Lamb, Managing Partner at Arjuna Capital. “Racial and gender pay equity requires honesty and accountability and it’s high time Amazon lives up to its diversity rhetoric.”
Proposal: Report on Working Conditions. Lead Proponent: Tulipshare
"Amazon's human capital management strategy implements constant surveillance, demanding quotas, and a punitive ‘time-off-task’ tracking system - all contributing to high injury and turnover rates,” said Constance Ricketts, Head of Shareholder Activism at Tulipshare. “This proposal received strong investor backing in 2022, showing that shareholders agree with Amazon employees, activists, and even former Amazon executives that the company's current system is unsustainable. Tulipshare is confident that Amazon employees' historic unionization efforts have paved the way for this proposal to earn a majority backing in 2023."
"I support an independent audit into Amazon's working conditions because like thousands of other Amazon employees, I've been hurt at work," said Jennifer Crane, worker at fulfillment center STL8. "After tearing a ligament in my wrist while working at Amazon, I was sent back to work without an accommodation, before my wrist had healed. That means I was expected to perform at a normal rate while working with an injury, and subject to discipline if I couldn't keep up. Amazon shouldn't put profits above the health and safety of its workers, and I'm calling on shareholders to join me in making sure Amazon lives up to its goal of being the world's best employer."
"Last year I became the first Amazon warehouse associate to file my own shareholder resolution at the company, calling for an end to unsafe productivity quotas and workplace surveillance. But after Andy Jassy and the board opposed my, and every other, shareholder resolution, the problems remain. This year I’m encouraged that shareholders are once again demanding change and accountability at Amazon and continuing to echo worker concerns around racial pay gaps, unsafe warehouse working conditions, and workers' rights," said Daniel Olayiwola, SAT4 Warehouse Associate and United for Respect member-leader.
Digital Rights Proposals
Proposal: Facial Recognition Tech. Lead Proponent: Harrington Investments
“Opposition to Amazon’s Facial Recognition tech, 'Rekognition' has intensified over recent years, as pushback escalates from social justice advocates, Amazon employees, investors, customers, and citizens alike," said John Harrington, President & CEO of Harrington Investments, Inc. "Not only has the technology itself been shown to be problematic, but the implications of government entities utilizing this surveillance software infringes on civil and human rights. Other companies in the AI space have taken measures to eliminate the use and/or sale of similar technologies due to these growing concerns.
The indefinite moratorium on sales of Rekognition to police departments that Amazon issued does not address the sales of this technology to other government entities, particularly the sale to foreign government entities that are oppressive, authoritarian and have historically committed human rights violations. The ESG investment movement indicates growing awareness surrounding social issues, and investors are increasingly reluctant to support companies associated with such risks. We hope that Amazon will agree to an independent review of Rekognition to study and consider the multitude of risks that it poses to all stakeholders.”
Proposal: Transparency Reporting. Lead Proponent: Adrian Dominican Sisters, with OpenMIC
“Amazon’s ecommerce platform is used by billions of people all around the globe, yet the company’s disclosures regarding products and user-generated content that are restricted or banned from the platform fall far short of industry and international human rights standards,” said Sister Judy Byron, Director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment. “Shareholders are concerned that by failing to disclose censorship requests from governments, Amazon may be obscuring its participation in an array of human rights violations that reflect an irresponsible and dangerous status quo.”
"Amazon operates e-commerce platforms in twenty countries and ships products to more than a hundred," said Jan Rydzak, the Company and Investor Engagement Manager at Ranking Digital Rights. "Yet it publishes zero information about how it deals with government requests to restrict what users can buy, sell, and post around the world. It's time for Amazon to open this black box and adopt the minimal transparency standards that other tech giants embraced years ago."
Proposal: Customer Due Diligence. Lead Proponent: The American Baptist Home Mission Society, with Investor Advocates for Social Justice
"Shareholders continue to send a message to Amazon demanding transparency of its customer due diligence process and practices, as indicated in the resolution's increased support by shareholders over the past 3 years," said Courtney Wicks, Executive Director of IASJ. "Given the pervasive targeting of vulnerable and/or communities of color globally and domestically, it is imperative that Amazon ensure its products are not being used to commit human rights abuses. It is time Amazon does the responsible thing by committing in policy and practice to mitigate human rights risks."
“As faith-based investors, we remain concerned about the potential human rights risks associated with the end use of Amazon’s technologies on vulnerable populations, including immigrant communities, people of color, and conflict affected areas both domestically and abroad by the company’s customers,” stated Dave Moore, Director of Investments at American Baptist Home Mission Society.
“Amazon’s technologies and services are powerful tools, which can do powerful harm in the hands of human rights abusers,” said Michael Connor, Executive Director of Open MIC. “Shareholders are rightly concerned that the company’s due diligence policies fail to prevent Amazon-enabled rights violations.”
Proposal: Request Disclosure of all of Amazon’s Scope 3 Emissions. Lead Proponent: Green Century Capital Management and Amalgamated Bank with As You Sow representing Amalgamated Bank.
"Green Century filed our proposal because Amazon is supposed to be a climate leader," said Andrea Ranger, Shareholder Advocate, Green Century Capital Management. "But, right now, it’s not even disclosing its entire carbon footprint – unlike Walmart and Target. It’s time for Amazon to deploy its considerable resources to quantify and reduce ALL of its emissions, not just a portion."
“Amazon should be diligent in taking account of and managing its value chain emissions, including those of all the products it sells," said Daniel Stewart, Energy & Climate Program Manager, As You Sow. "Peers such as Walmart and Target are being proactive in transparently disclosing these emissions and setting ambitious targets to reduce them. Amazon needs to match that ambition.”
Proposal: Review 401(k) Plan Default Option for Climate Risk. Lead Proponent: Sarah Sackner represented by As You Sow
“While Amazon has taken actions to address climate change in its operations, the company still invests a significant amount of employee retirement savings in companies that contribute to climate change,” said As You Sow’s Sustainable Investing Initiative Coordinator Grant Bradski. “Amazon should demonstrate that it is actively safeguarding employee retirement savings by minimizing climate risk in its 401(k) plan offerings.”
Proposal: Plastic Pollution. Lead Proponent: As You Sow
"As You Sow is filing a proposal with Amazon for a third year asking it to disclose its plastic packaging footprint and set goals to reduce use of plastic for packaging," said Conrad MacKerron, Senior Vice President, As You Sow. "The company is believed to be one of the largest corporate users of flexible plastic packaging, which cannot be effectively recycled. Our proposal received a near majority vote in 2022 (48.9%), more than any other environmental or social proposal on the proxy. Despite this impressive vote result, the company has not reached out to discuss it or even answered basic requests to communicate. It is ignoring the wishes of a near majority of its shareholders. This is not responsible corporate behavior; this is not environmental leadership."
Proposal: Paris-Aligned Lobbying. Lead Proponent: Newground Social Investment
“As a world-leading corporation, Amazon has the opportunity to also lead in climate awareness, climate action, and climate transparency. This proposal suggests simple ways for the company to move the needle globally – helping itself, its peers, and the world at large to meet these unprecedented challenges,” said Bruce Herbert, Chief Executive, Newground Social Investment.
Sister Pegge Boehm of the Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, SD stated that "We appreciate Amazon's publicly disclosed examples of positive direct lobbying efforts aligned with the Paris Agreement. However, their trade association and other memberships reveal inconsistencies with its commitments to Net Zero. Investors are asking them to disclose their policy positions, actions, assessment framework, and escalation considerations to properly analyze and address misaligned activities."
Proposal: Country by Country Reporting According to the GRI Tax Standard. Lead Proponent: Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
"Investors are telling Amazon that having responsible taxation policies and practices and a transparent reporting process on taxation is a critical matter of the company’s sustainability, said Seamus Finn, OMI of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. More than 21% of Amazon’s independent shareholders supported our proposal for tax transparency by adopting the GRI Standard of country-by-country tax reporting in 2022 and we expect that sentiment to grow among investors. Aggressive tax avoidance strategies have a real cost to society. These schemes take away from the hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenues yearly from government budgets causing economic inequality to spread, harming the economy and creating near and long-term risks for investors. The company shares this vital information with tax authorities but withholds it from crucial stakeholders like workers, shareholders and policymakers. Amazon does not have to fight tax transparency. It should embrace it as other leading companies abroad and now in the U.S. are doing.”
Proposal: Fair Elections. Lead Proponent: Corporate Governance
"Our shareholder proposal seeks to ensure that Amazon.com will not prevent the use of universal proxy cards to advance ESG candidates by filing advance notice bylaws that create unnecessary barriers," said JimMcRitchie of Corporate Governance. Please vote FOR to ensure fair elections."
Proposal: Disclosure of Lobbying Activities and Expenditures. Lead Proponent: Zevin Asset Management
"Investors and stakeholders have the right to information on corporate involvement in public policymaking through third-party organizations. One indicator of the quality of corporate due diligence of lobbying spending is regular evaluation of board committee oversight of state and federal legislative activities against the company’s sustainability strategy. How these two functions interact shines light on misalignment risk between the two. Without disclosure of this good housekeeping measure, we simply don’t have a clear and credible understanding of the impacts of corporate lobbying activities on social and environmental outcomes," said Marcela Pinilla, Director of Sustainable Investing at Zevin Asset Management.
Proposal: Pay Grades and CEO Compensation. Lead Proponent: AFL-CIO
"Amazon's CEO to median employee pay ratio was 6,474:1 in 2021, the highest pay ratio out of all S&P 500 Index companies in that year," said Brandon Rees, Deputy Director of Corporations and Capital Markets for the AFL-CIO. "High pay ratios between senior executives and other employees can negatively affect morale and productivity. To ensure that Amazon's senior executive compensation is reasonable relative to Amazon's overall employee pay philosophy and structure, we believe that the Compensation Committee should also consider the pay of all Amazon employees when setting senior executive compensation," said Brandon Rees, the Deputy Director of Corporations and Capital Markets for the AFL-CIO.