issue 140

From Issue 140 January/ February 2012


Boycott Amazon

Ethical Consumer has now launched the UK’s first ever Boycott Amazon campaign with the aim of forcing Amazon to pay a fair rate of corporation tax on the vast profits that it earns.

Whilst many other companies have an appalling record on tax avoidance, it is acknowledged that tax avoidance is fundamental to Amazon’s business model and for this reason we have singled out Amazon to be the subject of a boycott.

We believe that a targeted campaign against Amazon will capture the public imagination and help in the drive towards the ultimate goal of obliging multinational companies to publicly declare how much tax they pay in the countries in which they operate, a system known as ‘country by country reporting’.

By launching the boycott we hope that this will act as a spur for other campaigns to launch around the world and that in turn it will attract resources with which to fund our long-term tax justice campaign.

The idea of an Amazon boycott was raised in a feature entitled ‘Is it time to boycott Amazon?’ in issue 138. The feature outlined Amazon’s shocking stance on tax and revealed the massively damaging impact that this policy of tax avoidance is having both on Amazon’s competitors and on public finances at a time of savage spending cuts.

Following the publication of the feature we received an overwhelming response from campaigners, consumers and business who all felt that more co-ordinated action was needed on the issue of corporate tax avoidance in general and on Amazon in particular.

As Tim Hunt, our Boycott Amazon campaign co-ordinator, says, “Not only does tax avoidance cause unfair competition in the market as independent book sellers will tell you, but it also systematically withholds money from the public purse at a time when we need it most to save our ailing public services.”

Our boycott call does not extend to companies on Amazon’s Marketplace though we do recommend that you search for Marketplace companies’ own websites and buy direct where possible.


Email Amazon and tell them that, until they start paying a fair rate of tax, you’ll be boycotting the company.

Find more information on the boycott including a list of companies  who pay their taxes and who are a good alternative to shopping at Amazon.


More boycott news



Quakers divest from companies supporting Israeli occupation


In September the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC) divested all their holdings from Hewlett-Packard and Veolia Environment.

Hewlett-Packard was removed from FFC’s investments based on the company’s contracts with the Israeli Navy. Veolia Environment was removed “because of environmental and social concerns” including providing segregated water services to Israeli settlers in the Palestinian Territories and running a large landfill in the occupied Jordan River valley.

The announcement came just months after the FFC pulled their $900,000 investment in bulldozer-maker Caterpillar over the company’s continued profiting from Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian homes, property and land.

Ann Arbor Friends, the driving force behind the divestment campaign, said in a statement: “The action of Friends Fiduciary in dropping these three firms marks a major breakthrough in the global campaign to hold corporations accountable for profiting from Israel’s human rights and international law violations in the Palestinian Territories.”



UN report calls for boycott of occupied territory profiteers


In October, Richard Falk, an independent expert working for the United Nations, called on the UN General Assembly to take action against Israeli and international businesses that are profiting from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.

His report to the Assembly said “My main recommendation is that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted, until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,”

Other companies mentioned in the report include Veolia, Motorola, the Dexia Group of Belgium, Ahava of Israel, the Volvo Group of Sweden, the Riwal Holding Group of the Netherlands, Elbit Systems of Israel, of the USA, Mehadrin of Israel, Assa Abloy of Sweden, and Cemex of Mexico.