Investor Advocates for Social Justice

Amazon Shareholders File Resolution For Independent Customer Due Diligence Report

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Amazon Shareholders File Resolution For Independent Customer Due Diligence Report

This morning, Amazon shareholders led by American Baptist Home Mission Societies filed a resolution for the business to commission an independent, third-party report of Amazon’s customer due diligence processes, known in other sectors as “Know Your Customer (KYC)” due diligence. Shareholders will have the opportunity to consider and vote on the resolution at the company’s 2023 Annual General Meeting.

“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. We are deeply committed to advancing social justice, human rights, racial equity and peace through shareholder advocacy and engagement and call on Amazon to engage a third party to conduct a “Know Your Customer” report,” stated Dave Moore, Director of Investments at American Baptist Home Mission Society.

Ryan Gerety, Acting Director of the Athena coalition stated, “If Amazon were certain its customers were using its products in adherence to basic human rights standards, there is no reason the company would continue to resist a due diligence process. The corporation’s ongoing refusal to listen to the demands of its shareholders, racial justice and human rights advocates, and workers for transparency and accountability makes us wonder: what does Amazon have to hide?”

In the resolution, shareholders cite concerns around Amazon Web Services being used by governments with a history of human rights abuses, and to enable mass global surveillance. Specifically, shareholders noted concerns about:

  • Amazon Web Services hosting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s biometric database, which will reportedly be used to “assemble target lists for ICE raids, expand the tech border wall, and to facilitate surveillance, arrests, immigrant detention and deportation”.

  • Amazon selling surveillance products in the U.S. that have been implicated in mass surveillance, internment, torture, and forced labor of the ethnic Uyghur minority.

  • Amazon Web Services being used by the Israeli government in “Project Nimbus” to support the apartheid system under which Palestinians are surveilled, unlawfully detained and tortured, and segregated.

  • Amazon Web Services data centers operating in the UAE, a country that deploys a state surveillance apparatus targeting human rights defenders, journalists, and political dissidents, as well as in Bahrain, which also exhibits a poor human rights record.

“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.”

Mizue Aizeki, Director of the Surveillance, Tech, & Immigration Policing Project stated, “By providing powerful technologies to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Amazon powers invasive and racially-biased tracking of hundreds of millions of people. The result is the fueling of a dangerous criminalization, exclusion, detention, and deportation machine that is an affront to human rights.”

The full text of the resolution can be read here.

Courtney Wicks, Executive Director of Investor Advocates for Social Justice (IASJ) stated, “Shareholders continue to send a message to Amazon demanding transparency of its customer due diligence process and practices indicated in resolutions increased support by shareholders over the past 3 years. Given the pervasive targeting of vulnerable and/or communities of color globally, it is imperative that Amazon ensure its products are not being used to commit and violate human rights abuses. It is time Amazon does the responsible thing by committing in policy and practice to mitigate human rights risks.” 

For more information on the proposal, contact:

Courtney Wicks
Investor Advocates for Social Justice

Investor Advocates for Social Justice (IASJ) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization representing investors with faith-based values who seek to leverage their investments to advance human rights, climate justice, racial equity, and the common good. IASJ engages companies to address strategic environmental, social, and governance issues and advocate for change.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) has answered God’s call to meet the needs of those living on the margins for more than 150 years. ABHMS supports ministries across the United States and Puerto Rico to transform and heal communities dealing with poverty, disaster and crisis. Its network of volunteers, donors, churches and Christian leaders bring hope to children and families struggling with addiction, incarceration, mental illness and societal injustice.

Open MIC works with impact investors, primarily through shareholder engagement, to identify, develop, and support campaigns that promote values of openness, equity, privacy, and diversity – values that provide long-term benefits for individuals, companies, the economy and the health of democratic society.

The Athena coalition is made up of 50+ organizations working together to break the dangerous stranglehold of Amazon over our democracy, economy, and planet.