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Amazon Investors Reject More Than A Dozen External Proposals At AGM

In a win for Amazon, its shareholders have voted against all 14 outside proposals that related to a number of areas of concern around the company including carbon emissions, artificial intelligence development, and the functioning of unions, among other issues.

The company had asked shareholders to reject all of the outside proposals, reported Reuters.

The preliminary vote was announced at its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, where all 12 directors were voted in for an additional term.

Among the resolutions struck down, were those that required Amazon to create a committee to address the financial impact of policy positions and produce reports on lobbying expenditures.

In response to the lobbying proposal, Amazon said, “We report comprehensively and transparently on our public policy expenditures on an annual basis, including direct and indirect lobbying expenditures. In addition, we have Board and management processes in place to provide oversight of our public policy activities, and take a number of actions to mitigate the potential risk associated with misalignment between our views and the lobbying activities undertaken by organisations we support.”

Amazon also had a rebuttal in place for the striking down of a proposal requiring alternative emissions reporting. It said that its carbon intensity has already decreased by 24 per cent from 2019 to 2022, and that it follows the guidance of GHG Protocol’s Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard in calculating its greenhouse gas emissions (including Scope 3 emissions), and these are assured by independent third parties.

A potentially crucial proposal that was voted down related to the proposal to create an additional board committee to oversee the company’s development of artificial intelligence technologies. Amazon said that “none of our peer companies has a board committee dedicated solely to risks arising from AI” and also that its “board and board committees are already overseeing human rights and other risks associated with artificial intelligence.”

A proposal that would impact worker rights to unionise requiring Amazon additional reporting on freedom of association was also rejected by its investors. The company noted, “We respect the rights of our employees to form, join, or not to join a labour union or other lawful organisation of their own selection, without fear of reprisal, intimidation, or harassment, and our policies and practices protect these rights.”

Addressing specifically why it did not support this resolution, it added, “In our engagement with the proponent, the proponent revealed the true intent behind this proposal, which is the promotion of “neutrality” agreements and a commitment by Amazon to non-engagement with our employees. This would undermine the open lines of communication between leadership and employees that help us address employee concerns and make improvements, which would deny individuals their right to make informed decisions by permitting only a union’s point of view to be presented.”

Other outside proposals that were rejected by the investors related to subjects including a proposal to institute a policy for the company’s directors to disclose their political and charitable donations and reporting on Amazon’s warehouse working conditions, among others.

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