Amazon: Ethical Standards and Social Responsibilities

Ethical Standards of Amazon

Amazon is definitely many things in terms of business. It is one of the successful businesses in the recent years with a good business model, hard-working teams in every area, excellent decision-making strategies and expanded its wings on various areas like technology, e-commerce, investing, acquiring and so on. Everything has a price, many had to pay that to make Amazon stay on the top.      

To be more profitable every penny count, but that shouldn’t create problems for others. If a company/organization is only interested in making profits or is only interested to be on the top and not taking care of its employees, the business cannot survive long.      

Business/company/organization is about give and take, in order to get something, one needs to give something. But most organizations are ending up greedy with the money inflow they see/want and cuts down all the expenses (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is what I wants to compare with). The Bad and Ugly expenses need to be cut down, but not the Good ones (for example, employee benefit programs or making employees work more in stressful environments expecting every outcome to be profitable). One should find the differences between the Good, the Bad and the Ugly expenses. Even the Good has a limit, when crossed this limit it gets on to the Bad, if still neglected, then it gets into the naughty list (the Ugly). This should not have its effect on the employees. But there are a lot of complaints on Amazon that its employees don’t want to work anymore at Amazon and leave the company because of the below mentioned points

  • A toxic environment for white collar workers – Employees are often asked to work on 24-hour clock even after reaching home. Workloads are high, deadlines are unrealistic, bosses are strict, workplace harassment and so on at Amazon are the common problems. Employees are often told that they would be replaced with the younger/unmarried/single who can put in more working hours. Employees are asked to memorize the print outs that they were given sometimes which are 60 pages long for the business reviews (Francesca, 2019). Bosses criticize employees for more work and for more time.
  • Warehouse Abuses – People working in warehouses face abuses from their bosses, who ask them to work more, with unrealistic timelines, pressurizing workers. Many incidents happened where workers were hospitalized because of chest pains, breathing problems, unconsciousness, undefined illness, miscarriage, heart-attacks and a few found dead in the warehouses (Francesca, 2019). Reports say that calls to 911 are very huge, ambulances visits are quite often and people talk about employees that the employees even pee in the bottles just to save time from restroom visits and a few don’t drink water so they can avoid restroom visits.
  • Exploitation of Chinese workers – The wage levels that are paid in the warehouses in China are very less when compared with the average base salary, the number of dispatch workers shouldn’t exceed 10%, but the number of dispatch workers working at Amazon is 40% which is against to Chinese government rules (Francesca, 2019). Since their wage levels are less, the people are tending to work more hours to make an average pay for the household. Employees here are not paid their wages properly, the pre-job safety training is given 8 hours where rules say that it should be at least 24 hours, while other companies are giving 5 days. The other factors that Amazon is exploiting the workers are
    • Inadequate fire safety in the dormitory area, 
    • Lack of sufficient protective equipment, 
    • Absence of a functioning labor union at the factory, and 
    • Strict management who subject workers to verbal abuse.
  • Delivery drivers & the gig economy – Drivers are given a time to deliver a package with unrealistic times, which is not possible during peak traffic hours, huge complexes, rerouted maps due to road construction and so on.
  • Exploiting those who sell on Amazon & those who buy
  • Tax Avoidance – Amazon works on loopholes where it can avoid taxes. In the past, it avoided taxes many times in many states/countries including the federal, state and sales taxes. “If Amazon had been paying taxes from the start it would have paid a total of $20.4 billion in sales taxes from its founding until 2015. Amazon paid no federal tax on $5.6 billion in U.S. profits, and in the past five years paid a rate of 11.4% on its profits of $8.2 billion, around a third of what they should pay.” (Francesca, 2019)

Amazon’s Company Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs and Initiatives

Amazon is doing good in terms of Social Responsibility trying to help people/communities. Few of the areas that Amazon has left its footprints are

  • Amazon Supporting Local Communities – Amazon is supporting the Local Communities a lot by donating excess food to Feeding America Organization, providing volunteers (service providers, retail vendors, and customers) to serve/support the locals, donated money to nonprofits, donated electronic gadgets, gift cards to schools at the nearby fulfillment centers, providing support to girl kids by helping them learn and teaching them how important and how easy coding is and so on (John, 2018). 
  • Amazon Educating and Empowering Workers – Through various Education programs Amazon is making its employees to get educated on their interested streams.
  • Energy Consumption by Amazon – Amazon is trying to use more renewable energies like solar, wind and tidal than using the traditional ones thus not polluting the world
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling by Amazon – Amazon is recycling/reusing the shipping boxes and packaging materials so no more trees are cut down for making of new boxes thus reducing the wastages.
  • Other Amazon CSR Initiatives and Charitable Donations – Amazon is supporting few organizations like PETA through the Amazon smile by contributing/supporting few charitable organizations or the customers favorite ones, helping the countries/states by donating needed as disaster relief funds and support and so on.