Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, arrives for a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, December 14, 2016 in New York City.
As Amazon expands into a host of new markets and stares down regulators and lawmakers across the globe, the company is spelling out to investors and consumers that it’s well aware of the many controversial issues that lie ahead.
In a 1,300-word blog post on Thursday, Amazon laid out its position on 11 sensitive matters, where “there is much room for healthy debate and differing opinions.” The topics include minimum wage, climate change, workplace diversity, immigration, regulation, counterfeit sales and data privacy.
The post lands at a time when U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle, including President Trump on the right and Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on the left, are taking aim at Amazon for some combination of its size, market power, taxes paid and treatment of workers. Warren has lobbied for Amazon, and other big tech companies, to be broken up, and in Europe the company is being investigated to determine if its use of merchant data breaches competition rules.
Amazon didn’t address antitrust in Thursday’s blog post, but it did say that its facial recognition technology, Rekognition, which has been used to help locate missing children and identify child sex trafficking victims, can be misused and should be quickly put under a regulatory framework by governments.
“We provide guidance to all Rekognition customers, including law enforcement customers, on the technology’s proper use and have a clear Acceptable Use Policy,” Amazon said. “However, we think that governments should act to regulate the use of this technology to ensure it’s used appropriately, and we have proposed guidelines for an appropriate U.S. national legislative framework that protects individual civil rights and ensures that governments are transparent in their application of the technology.”
Protestors march to a building where Amazon owner Jeff Bezos owns property on July 15, 2019 in New York City.
Kevin Hagen | Getty Images
For counterfeits, Amazon urged stronger federal laws to penalize bad actors, while highlighting how it spent more than $400 million to reduce the number of fake products on its site.
Amazon’s counterfeit problem has received a ton of press coverage of late, from this outlet and others, and the company warned investors of counterfeits for the first time in its latest annual report.
“Last year alone, our proactive efforts prevented more than 1 million suspected bad actors from opening Amazon seller accounts and blocked more than 3 billion suspected bad listings,” Amazon wrote in the blog post.
With over $230 billion in annual revenue and more than 647,000 employees, Amazon is experiencing the weight of responsibility that comes with that level of market influence.
The company touted that it pays a $15 an hour minimum wage, more than double the federal minimum. And Amazon reiterated its commitment to be “net zero” carbon by 2040 and run on 100% renewable energy by 2030, in response to critics who say the company lacks concrete renewable energy goals. Amazon said it would continue providing cloud services to big oil companies, despite recent opposition, to help “make their legacy businesses less carbon intensive and help them accelerate development of renewable energy businesses.”
On the issue of workplace diversity, Amazon said it prioritizes equal pay and that it’s pushing for the passage of the Equality Act. As CNBC previously reported, Amazon’s most senior executives are mostly white men, and CEO Jeff Bezos has only one female on his S-Team, a group of his most trusted advisors.
You can read the full post here.