AMAZON.COM, INC. | Human Rights Impact on AI Deployment

9.70% votes in favour
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
Resolution details
Company ticker
Resolution ask
Conduct due diligence, audit or risk/impact assessment
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Digital rights
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Consumer Discretionary
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors of, Inc. (the
“Company”) charter a new committee of independent directors on Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) to address human rights risks associated with the development and deployment of AI systems. The committee charter shall authorize the committee to meet with employees, customers, suppliers, and other relevant stakeholders at the discretion of the committee, and to retain independent consultants and experts as needed.
The development and deployment of AI technology without adequate human rights due diligence has resulted in a range of human rights risks and harms to employees, users, vulnerable communities and society at large.1 In light of our Company’s leading role in the development and deployment of AI, we believe that our Company needs to ensure that its AI systems do not cause or contribute to violations of internationally recognized human rights.
According to the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights:
AI has the potential to strengthen authoritarian governance. It can operate lethal autonomous weapons. It can form the basis for more powerful tools of societal control, surveillance, and censorship. Facial recognition systems, for example, can turn into mass surveillance of our public spaces, destroying any concept of privacy. AI systems that are used in the criminal justice system to predict future criminal behaviour have already been shown to reinforce discrimination and to undermine rights, including the presumption of innocence.2
For example, the use of AI to make human resource decisions may lead to unlawful employment discrimination. In 2018, our Company reportedly scrapped an experimental AI hiring tool that had taught itself that male candidates were preferable to female candidates.3
Military and police applications of AI technology can also raise human rights concerns. In 2021, our Company reportedly took over a Department of Defense contract for an AI system to analyze military drone footage after Google dropped the project due to protests by Google employees.4
AI-driven misinformation and disinformation can also undermine democracy and distort election outcomes. For example, our Company’s Alexa voice assistant was reported to have falsely claimed that the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen.5 And in the 2024 presidential primary election, Republican candidates have used AI generated deep fake images to attack each other.6
While we appreciate the steps that our Company has taken to establish ethical guidelines for the responsible use of AI, we believe that appointing a committee of independent directors will increase the Board of Directors’ oversight of AI-related human rights risks. In our view, appointing a dedicated AI committee will enhance accountability to shareholders by clearly identifying which directors are responsible for AI-related human rights risks.
Given our Company’s leading role in developing and deploying AI technology and the fundamental and significant risks that AI poses to human rights, we believe that appointing a Board-level committee is warranted and appropriate as a matter of good corporate governance.
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Whereas clause
Whereas: Investigative reports allege a “mounting injury crisis at Amazon warehouses,” with Amazon employees getting injured more frequently and severely than elsewhere in the industry.1 CEO Jassy’s claim that Amazon’s injury rates are “about average” relative to industry peers is misleading since Amazon is included in the warehouse industry average, driving that figure up.2 In 2022, Amazon employed 36 percent of all U.S. warehouse workers, and was responsible for 53 percent of all serious injuries in the industry.3 Thus Amazon’s own reporting downplays its significant problems, underscoring the need for an independent report.
Despite Amazon’s serious injuries decreasing between 2021 and 2022, its overall injuries increased. Amazon reported 39,000 total injuries at its U.S. facilities in 2022,4 more than double the rate at non-Amazon warehouses.5 Amazon’s warehouse conditions are not only a danger to employee safety, but also to the stability of its workforce. A 2021 New York Times investigation found that Amazon’s turnover rate was roughly 150 percent a year.6 In 2022, Forbes reported Amazon’s high attrition rate—double the industry average—is “costing the company and its shareholders $8 billion annually.”7
Amazon workers are closely monitored for their work productivity, with employees alleging that the pressure to meet quotas under threat of termination can lead to injury and burnout.8 New laws in California and New York target Amazon’s use of productivity quotas that can prevent workers from complying with safety guidelines or recovering from strenuous activity, leaving them at high risk of injury and illness.9 Workers acknowledge Amazon instructs them on safety, but they have to break safety rules to keep up with their mandated quotas and pace of work out of fear of losing their jobs.10
Numerous federal- and state-level investigations found the high level of injury risk in Amazon’s operations violated the law, citing Amazon for willful misconduct, and alleging Amazon is “knowingly putting workers at risk” across multiple warehouses, an allegation so severe that only
0.4 percent of citations in the regulator’s 50-year history have been classi?ed as willful.11 In 2023, Senator Sanders launched an investigation into workplace health and safety practices at Amazon and penned a letter demanding information about Amazon’s ‘“systematically underreported” injury rates, employee turnover, productivity targets and adherence to federal and state safety recommendations,” per The Washington Post.12
Currently, the Department of Justice is taking an unprecedented step by “investigating potential worker safety hazards at Amazon warehouses across the country, as well as possible fraudulent conduct designed to hide injuries from [regulators] and others,” while also investigating whether Amazon made “false representations” to lenders about its workplace safety record to obtain credit.13
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Supporting statement
Full disclosure of Amazon’s lobbying activities and expenditures is needed to assess whether its lobbying is consistent with Amazon’s expressed goals and shareholders’ best interests. Amazon spent $121,820,000 on federal lobbying from 2015 – 2022. Amazon also lobbies extensively at the state level.1 Amazon also lobbies abroad, being accused of shadow lobbying2 and spending between €2,750,000 – 2,999,999 on lobbying in Europe for 2022.
Companies can give unlimited amounts to third party groups that spend millions on lobbying and undisclosed grassroots activity.3 Amazon lists support of $10,000 or more to 588 trade associations (TAs), social welfare groups (SWGs) and nonprofits for 2022, yet fails to disclose its payments, or the amounts used for lobbying. Amazon belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable (BRT), which have spent over $2.2 billion on lobbying since 1998, supports SWGs that lobby like the National Taxpayers Union4 and Taxpayers Protection Alliance,5 and funds controversial nonprofits like giving $400,000 to the Independent Women’s Forum,6 which has drawn scrutiny for “using anti-trans scaremongering” to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment.7
Amazon’s lack of disclosure presents reputational risks when its lobbying contradicts company public positions. Amazon strives to be the “Earth’s Best Employer,” yet has attracted scrutiny for lobbying against workers’ right to organize.8 Amazon cofounded the Climate Pledge, yet the BRT lobbied against the Inflation Reduction Act,9 and the Chamber reportedly has been a “central actor” in dissuading climate legislation over a two-decade period.10 Amazon has drawn scrutiny for avoiding federal income taxes,11 the BRT has lobbied against a new minimum corporate tax.12 And Amazon does not belong to the American Legislative Exchange Council13 but is represented by the Chamber14 and NetChoice,15 which each sit on its Private Enterprise Advisory Council.
Amazon should expand its lobbying disclosure.
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How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
Church of England Pensions Board For
Anima Sgr For As, while the company’s artificial intelligence efforts and disclosures are acknowledged, the creation of a board-level committee would serve to further strengthen the company's current related policies, initiatives, and oversight mechanisms. Given the scope of the company's global operations and continued innovation in the AI space, the establishment of such a committee could help ensure informed, consistent, and effective management and oversight of related risks in the company's operations and thus help safeguard the company's reputation and long-term shareholder value.
Kutxabank Gestion SGIIC SAU. Against

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