In August 2018 Ethical Consumer contacted Amazon.com for information on its supply chain management. A questionnaire was returned, and Amazon’s website was viewed. The 'Responsible Sourcing' page included a Code of Conduct.
Supply chain policy (rudimentary)
Amazon stated “We require suppliers in our manufacturing supply chain and suppliers supporting Amazon's operations to comply with our Supplier Code of Conduct...Amazon also expects our suppliers to hold their suppliers and subcontractors to the standards and practices covered by our Supplier Code.” This Code was now available to view, which it had not been when last checked in 2016. It contained adequate clauses on child and forced labour, freedom of association, and discrimination. Working hours were only restricted to 60 per week, and there was no commitment to living wages. Amazon was considered to have a rudimentary supply chain policy.
Stakeholder engagement (poor)
No evidence could be found that Amazon engaged with external organisations to monitor its supply chain. It stated that "Suppliers must create a mechanism for workers to submit their grievances anonymously", but did not provide this itself. It stated in its questionnaire response that it was a member of The Responsible Labor Initiative, an initiative focusing on forced labour, which is part of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC). However, the Responsible Business Alliance appeared to be an industry-only body rather than a multi-stakeholder initiative and was therefore not considered to be adequate.
Auditing and reporting (poor)
Amazon stated “We regularly assess suppliers to monitor continued compliance and improvement; many sites are assessed multiple times a year, including for follow-up assessments to address specific findings. Amazon may terminate its relationships with any supplier that violates our Supplier Code or does not cooperate during assessments ... We require suppliers to promptly provide a detailed remediation plan and take corrective actions for deviations from this Supplier Code, and Amazon will track suppliers’ remediation efforts."
Ethical Consumer considered this audit plan to be vague, nor did the company disclose audit results or provide a commitment to audit its whole supply chain. Overall Amazon was considered to have a poor approach to auditing and reporting.
Difficult issues (poor)
No evidence could be found that Amazon was working on systemically addressing difficult issues found within supply chains such as payment of a living wage or illegal freedom of association. Overall Amazon was considered to have a poor approach to difficult issues.
Amazon therefore received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for Supply Chain Management.