Amazon makes its social positions public
Retail titan Amazon.com has recently released and publicized a list of its stances on political and social issues.
Amazon posted a new informational page on its website labeled “Our Positions,” which lays out its stance on 11 hot-button issues, with a one-paragraph explanation for each. Amazon.com says that it supports:
- Raising the federal minimum wage;
- Addressing human-induced climate change;
- Supporting the energy industry;
- Promoting diversity and inclusion;
- Protecting gay and transgender rights;
- Immigration reform;
- Facilitating access to technology for governments at all levels;
- Promoting government regulatory standards for facial recognition technology;
- Harsher legal punishment for counterfeiters;
- Protecting consumer data under federal law;
- Having a corporate tax code that incentivizes economic investment and job creation.
Various groups and individuals have criticized Amazon over the years for engaging in damaging business practices. An article on the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post describes the “Our Positions” page as a rebuttal to these criticisms. Amazon has come under fire for its perceived failure to pay taxes, its partnerships with energy companies that are said to have a negative environmental impact, its big brother-esque collection of data (and the potential to extend this to next-gen technologies like facial recognition) and its reportedly poor treatment of workers in some of its operations.
Just this month, the company was targeted with a protest in Sacramento, CA by delivery center workers, according to The Verge. Employees at the facility claim their hours are restricted to part-time, with no healthcare benefits, no paid time off and limitations on non-paid time off.
Such disparities between the espoused company values and reality has led to the impression among critics that the e-tailer is being hypocritical or even smuggling in calls for Amazon-friendly legislation under the guise of social responsibility.
Other developments, however, show that Amazon could be taking meaningful steps forward on some of the issues raised by critics. For instance, the retailer recently began piloting Amazon Care, a high-tech medical care service for enrolled employees.
- Our Positions – Amazon
- Amazon workers in Sacramento are protesting the company’s strict time-off rules – The Verge
- Amazon policy manifesto responds to environmental, workplace and data-privacy critics – Washington Post
- Amazon tests program to take better care of employees’ health – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think it’s a good idea for companies to enumerate and explain political and social positions in the way Amazon has? How sold are you on Amazon’s attempt to position itself as a socially responsible company?