Praxis Mutual Funds® co-filed a shareholder resolution on ethical recruitment at Amazon.com, Inc., along with Mercy Investment Services in December 2017. The resolution asks Amazon to issue a report that details its approach to implementing and assessing its ethical recruitment policy.
There is growing awareness among investors and the general public of the role of labor recruiters in the exploitation of workers and job seekers through charging fees, withholding personal papers/passports, and failing to provide written contracts spelling out the terms of employment. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, and is dependent upon extended supply chains in many countries. Failure to put proactive policies and procedures in place exposes the company to significant risks, including legal action and media reports that negatively impact reputation.
While Praxis commends Amazon for its supplier code of conduct that prohibits the use of forced labor and the charging of recruitment fees, Amazon does not specify how it verifies compliance with these policies. Praxis believes that Amazon’s lack of disclosure on tracing, risk assessment associated with recruitment practices, and managerial accountability in implementing the policy gives investors insufficient information to gauge how well the company is addressing this serious risk to workers and to the company.