Amazon


Amazon: Company Profile

Amazon is an arch tax avoider and is the subject of a global boycott call by Ethical Consumer.


 

The world's biggest online retailer is generating huge revenues in the UK but paying very little corporation tax. It does this by funnelling money through its holding company in the notorious tax haven of Luxembourg.

Last updated: March 2017

Annual Revenue$135.99 billion a year

 

Other Brands                           Kindle, Audible.com, Abe Books, Amazon Prime

 

Company Score  0 out of 20

 

Ethical Consumer Best Buy?No

 

Ethical issues by category

Amazon has faced criticism for more than just its tax avoidance.

In January 2016 Amazon was fined by the US Department of Labour for failing to report injuries in one of its warehouses. A citation issued by the federal safety regulators says the online retailer failed to report at least 26 work-related illnesses and injuries at a New Jersey warehouse in 2015.

In August 2015 a report in the New York Times exposed the harsh working conditions endured by management and office workers at Amazon. It described Amazon as, "conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable."

Most alarmingly, according to the report "some workers who suffered from cancer, miscarriages and other personal crises said they had been evaluated unfairly or edged out rather than given time to recover." 

Amazon receives our worst rating for environmental reporting. Here's why:

The company stated that it had "a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint", but this target was not dated.Its own wind farm had become operational in January 2016.

Some examples were given of packaging improvements, and the environmental efficiency of some of its buildings. There was no information on the company's environmental impacts with regard to shipping/transport, web hosting, data centres and the manufacture of its devices. There were no future quantified targets.

In October 2013, it was announced that Amazon UK would stop selling foie gras after a Viva! campaign. It had previously stocked over a hundred products containing foie gras. Amazon UK prohibited “Animal products: Parts or products from whale, dolphin, shark, elephant (including elephant ivory) or from any other regulated endangered plant or animal are prohibited, as are products containing Foie Gras.” However, the delisting did not apply to its worldwide operations, only the UK marketplace. As of September 2016, this was still the case.

In October 2015 Ethical Consumer viewed Opensecrets.org and found that in the election cycle of 2014, Amazon had contributed $378,647 to political candidates: $163,921 to democrats and $116,525 to republicans. The company had spent $4,940,000 on lobbying in 2014 and $3,456,8361in 2013. The top issues it had lobbied on were taxes, computers & information tech, consumer product safety, copyright, patent & trademark, and aviation.

In August 2016 Ethical Consumer viewed Amazons 2015 10-K filing for the US Securities and Exchange Commission. This showed that the company was incorporated in Delaware, considered a tax haven by Ethical Consumer at the time of writing. The filing exhibit 21.1 also included a list of eleven subsidiaries all of which were based in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumers list of tax havens at the time of writing, including Amazon Europe Holding Technologies SCS, located in Luxembourg. Amazon recieved Ethical Consumer's worst ranking for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.

Amazon Boycott

Everything You Need To Know About The Boycott Against Amazon

Consumers all over the world are wising up to Amazons tax avoidance. Join the growing movement of people boycotting the company until we're sure they've paid their fair share of tax.

Discover More

 

   

Ethical made easy

Detailed ethical ratings for over 40,000 companies, brands and products, plus Ethical Consumer magazine.

30 day trial subscription - find out more