An e-commerce site, provider of cloud services, and a new face in the brick-and-mortar industry as of late, Amazon has become one of the world’s most influential companies. It appears in the daily lives of millions of people across the U.S. and beyond, and with a recent evaluation of $1.7 trillion, how Amazon chooses to donate and advocate has a huge impact.
As the first company in our series of profiles, Amazon has been known to spend millions of dollars towards the causes it believes in. With big tech companies, Amazon included, spending record amounts on lobbying and playing an increasingly prevalent role in the politics of America, it becomes more and more important for us as consumers to acknowledge their weight on the political playing field and learn about how they stand.
Here are Amazon’s opinions on the 16 VotingSmarter key issues:
- The federal minimum wage should be raised. Amazon pays a minimum wage of $15 per hour with benefits to its employees.
- Agreeing with climate scientists, Amazon believes that man-made climate change is real and pressing. Action must be taken from both the public and private sectors.
- Amazon has created The Climate Pledge to try and reduce their carbon footprint by becoming net-zero carbon by 2040.
- There should be no discrimination in the workplace- this includes equal pay.
- The rights of Black people and members of the LGBTQ+ community must be protected.
- Black people are treated inequitably, and that is unacceptable.
- There should be more representation in the technology sector.
- The Amazon Future Engineer program helps underprivileged students learn about computer science.
- Immigrants should be welcome in the US, and there should be immigration reform.
- Counterfeiting and stealing intellectual property is unacceptable and should be persecuted with stronger penalties.
- Corporate taxation should be done in a way that benefits both the economy and the consumer and incentivizes investment and job growth.
- Amazon has indirectly supported Planned Parenthood through third-party donations.
- Amazon has established a relief fund of $25 million for partners and associates.
- Amazon is offering free masks at their brick and mortar stores, including Whole Foods Market stores.
- Amazon has donated millions of dollars towards COVID-19 research and thousands of laptops for Seattle Public Schools students, worked with foodbanks to deliver millions of meals, and more.
- Amazon prohibits the sale of firearms.
- Customers can make donations to the NRA through AmazonSmile.
- Amazon provides job opportunities and training in cloud-computing for veterans and military spouses.
- Amazon also aids veterans in their transition from the military to the Amazon workforce.
- Amazon runs a drug test on every potential warehouse worker.
- Employees with a physician’s note and a medical marijuana card may use medical marijuana.
Debt/Budget, Global Trade, Healthcare, Welfare/Poverty
So how does Amazon engage in politics? The company has a donation program, AmazonSmile, that allows Amazon users to pick a charity of their choice that the company will then donate to- this resulted in $215 million worth of donations over the past seven years.
Amazon also publicly supports many organizations that act upon their beliefs including Black Lives Matter and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
And as stated earlier, Amazon spends millions on lobbying efforts every year. According to Open Secrets, Amazon spent over $16 million toward lobbying expenditures in 2019 alone. These efforts primarily target consumer product safety and information technology.
Additionally, Amazon itself donates to many causes. Amazon played a big role in the Seattle elections after donating over a million dollars to the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce Super PAC in 2019. More recently, Amazon has donated to youth STEM programs as well as multiple COVID relief funds- including the Italian entertainment industry.
As consumers, we have the ability and the responsibility to inform ourselves on the companies we choose to surround ourselves with. By simply becoming aware of where we choose to get our weekly groceries from or what company’s services we subscribe to, we have the power to give to the causes we believe in while also purchasing products and services that we love. Elections come and go, but the vote that you place every time you make a purchase further enables a company to act upon their political stance. The vote that you make with your dollars on a daily basis, could very well be the decider of the future.
Interested in learning about the political stances of more companies? Follow the VotingSmarter blog and be the first to know about the next company profile in this series.
(Contributed by Breanna Guo, Marketing Intern at VotingSmarter)