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29 Apr 2019

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Shareholders to present slate of proposals at Amazon annual meeting focused on human rights & environmental issues

"Shareholders to present slate of proposals at Amazon annual meeting," 25 April 2019

[I]nvestors... announced that they will have a total of nine proposals on the proxy ballot at Amazon’s... annual meeting... on a variety of environmental, social and governance concerns.... Jared Fernandez of Green Century Capital Management [said]... “While Amazon is now neck-and-neck with Apple as the most valuable public company in the world, its lack of attention to a number of broad environmental, social and governance risks poses legitimate questions about the continued success and resiliency of the company.” 

...investors say the resolutions provide ample evidence that Amazon does not have the appropriate risk mitigation structures in place... One of the concerns articulated in the group of proposals relates to the risks of human/civil rights abuses resulting from the sale of Rekognition, Amazon’s facial recognition technology, as well as the company’s failure to appropriately monitor the sale of offensive, racist products through its e-commerce platform... Investors sent a joint letter to Amazon in November 2018 which underscored concerns and requested meaningful dialogue with management. The letter was endorsed by 114 investors representing over $2.6 trillion in AUM... the letter stated: "In our experience, Amazon has purposefully avoided constructive and substantive dialogue with its shareholders, often necessitating the filing of shareholder resolutions..." Also striking was Amazon’s decision to petition the SEC to omit many of the proposals from its proxy.

Part of the following timelines

Shareholders & civil society groups urge Amazon to halt sale of facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies

USA: Investors file resolutions with companies at risk for human rights violations due to govt. contracts related to immigration