IN FOCUS6-8 min read

Amazon workers’ rights: how we will vote at 2022 AGM

Schroders has engaged with Amazon for seven years to improve the firm’s workers’ rights, and at this year’s AGM we will vote in support of three shareholder resolutions on the issue.

31/05/2022
Amazon-picture

Global retailer giant Amazon has come under intense scrutiny for the way it treats its staff and the conditions under which they work. Schroders will use its 2022 voting rights as part of its efforts to drive change at the company by supporting three shareholders’ resolutions. These resolutions are filed by investors in the business, rather than by management.

Schroders is also considering other agenda items at this meeting and is likely to be voting against the board’s recommendations for other proposals in addition to those detailed above.

What shareholder proposals will Schroders be supporting at Amazon’s 2022 AGM?

Out of a total 18 shareholder resolutions, three relate to workers’ rights.

“These are a request for a report on worker health and safety differences; a request for additional reporting on freedom of association and a request for a report on warehouse working conditions,” said Tim Goodman, Schroders’ Head of Corporate Governance.

“We believe it is important to support these proposals, which align with our own engagement with the company, call for greater disclosure and promote stronger workers’ rights.”

Workers’ rights is one of six priority themes in Schroders’ engagement blueprint, which sets out our approach to active management. It comes under the umbrella heading of “human capital management” (HCM). This has been identified as a priority at Amazon because developing and retaining people within the company is vital if it is to maintain and grow its competitive advantage.

Tim Goodman said: “Our engagement with Amazon also seeks to cover areas such as improving the wages paid to staff and the benefits that they are offered; worker engagement and representation within Amazon; the health and wellbeing of workers; and the working conditions within Amazon’s warehouses.”

Schroders has engaged with Amazon on these issues since 2015.

Kimberley Lewis, Head of Active Ownership, said: “Since then we have had 23 meetings with Amazon and many of these engagements have focused on worker issues, specifically health and safety and worker voice.” This describes increasing the opportunities for staff members to raise their concerns with Amazon.

Katie Frame, Active Ownership Manager ESG, said: “In 2022, through further engagements with Amazon, we have sought to understand how the company extends its safety provisions to contractors (for example, delivery drivers). Also, why its safety performance is still below its sector peers, and what it is doing to address this.”

Kimberley Lewis said: “We have also sought to understand why the company is concerned about its US workers becoming unionised and why its relations with the unions still appear fraught. We have also pushed Amazon to disclose its worker turnover figures.“

Schroders’ engagement on workers’ rights at other companies

Kimberley Lewis said: “At Schroders we approach active ownership differently. We believe it is important to set clear expectations for companies around sustainable business practices and, as a result, we are able to influence corporate behaviour through constructive and committed engagement with the companies and assets we invest in.”

Simone Geldenhuys, Global Sector Specialist, Multi Regional Equity, said: “Sustainable practices are an important part of business longevity and competitive advantage, so when considering our investment holdings, we see active ownership as a key mechanism to communicate our views and hold management teams accountable. With Amazon, for example, logistics is a differentiating capability of the business. This means protecting their workers' human rights is critical in building robust supply chains. Also, receiving appropriate disclosures from Amazon on ensuring worker safety allows us to assess operational and financial risks.

“Voting is just one of the facets we use for active ownership; together with engagement, we have found our approach to active ownership to be relatively effective in ensuring a two-way dialogue with companies and pushing for more corporate accountability. Voting specifically can be an effective way of signalling lack of progress to a company.

“With Amazon, we feel our votes are pointing to areas which require progress given the materiality of these issues and hopefully help focus the management's priorities in following sustainable practice. Through active ownership, we aim to protect and enhance the value of our clients' investments.”

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

INVESTING THROUGH MUTUAL FUNDS CARRIES RISKS. PROSPECTIVE FINANCIERS MUST READ AND UNDERSTAND THE PROSPECTUS BEFORE DECIDING TO INVEST THROUGH MUTUAL FUNDS. PAST PERFORMANCE DOES NOT REFLECT FUTURE PERFORMANCE.

The views and opinions contained herein are the opinions of the author on this page, and may not necessarily represent views expressed or reflected in schroders' communications, strategies or other products. This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as promotional material in any case. This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. It is not intended to provide and should not be relied upon for accounting, legal or tax advice, or investment recommendations. Reliance should not be placed on the views and information in this document when making individual investment and/or strategy decisions. Past performance is not a reliable indicator for future results. The value of the investment can go down and up and is not guaranteed. All investments contain risks including the risk of possible loss of the initial value of the investment. The information here is believed to be reliable but Schroders does not guarantee its completeness or accuracy. Some of the information cited was obtained from external sources that we think are reliable. No liability is acceptable due to errors of fact obtained from third parties, and this data may change with market conditions. This does not exclude any obligations or obligations that Schroders has to its customers under the applicable regulatory system.  The opinions in this material include some of the estimated views. We believe that we base our expectations and beliefs on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of what we currently know. However, there is no guarantee that any estimates or opinions will be realized. These views and opinions may change. PT Schroder Investment Management Indonesia, Indonesia Stock Exchange Tower 1 Building, 30th Floor, Jl Jend Sudirman Kav 52-53, Jakarta 12190, Indonesia.

PT Schroder Investment Management Indonesia has received an investment manager's license from, and is supervised by the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK).

DISCLAIMER

INVESTMENT IN MUTUAL FUND INVOLVES RISK. PRIOR TO DECIDING TO INVEST, PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS MUST READ AND UNDERSTAND THE FUND PROSPECTUS. PAST PERFORMANCE DOES NOT GUARANTEE / INDICATE FUTURE PERFORMANCE.

The views and opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) on this page and are not necessarily represent views expressed or reflected in other Schroders’ communications, strategies or products. This material is intended to be for information purposes only and is not intended as promotional material in any respector offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. This material is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for accounting, legal or tax advice, or investment recommendations [and also may not be circulated, published, reproduced or distributed to any other person without our prior written consent]. Reliance should not be placed on the views and information in this material when taking individual investment and/or strategic decisions. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. The value of an investment can goes down as well as up and is not guaranteed. All investments involve risks including the risk of possible loss of principal. Some information quoted herein was obtained from external sources we consider to be reliable. Information herein is believed to be reliable, but Schroders does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. No responsibility both directly and indirectly can be accepted for errors of fact obtained from third parties or negligence of or loss resulting from the use of this material. The data disclosed in this material may change according to market conditions. If any regions/sectors are shown in this material, such data is for illustrative purposes only and should not be viewed as a recommendation to buy/sell. We believe we are basing our expectations and beliefs on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of what we currently know and include some forecasted views. However, there is no guarantee that any forecasts or opinions disclosed in this material will be realised. These views and opinions herein are our current views and may change without notice. Nevertheless, this disclaimer does not exclude any duty or liability that Schroders has to its customers under the prevailing laws and regulations in the Republic of Indonesia. PT Schroder Investment Management Indonesia, 30th Floor Indonesia Stock Exchange Building Tower 1, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52-53, Jakarta 12190, Indonesia. PT Schroder Investment Management Indonesia as an Investment Manager is licensed and supervised by the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Topics

Follow us

Please ensure you read our legal important information and fraud alert before visiting the rest of our website.

For illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation to invest in the above-mentioned security / sector / country.

Issued by PT Schroder Investment Management Indonesia, 30th Floor IDX Building Tower 1, Jl Jend Sudirman Kav 52-53, Jakarta 12190, Indonesia. Phone: +62 21 2965 5100

PT Schroder Investment Management Indonesia is licensed and supervised by the Indonesian Financial Service Authority (OJK).

Always be cautious when purchasing investment products. Only subscribe to Schroder Indonesia mutual funds through our distribution partners.  Contact us at +6221 – 2965 5100 and read the fraud alert here.