Our materials and commitments
Amazon chemicals policy
We are committed to developing high-quality and affordable Private Brands products that customers love. Part of our commitment to quality is avoiding chemicals of concern in our products that can affect human health and/or the environment. We define chemicals of concern as those chemicals that: 1) meet the criteria for classification as a carcinogen, mutagen, reproductive, or other systemic toxicant; or 2) are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. We strategically prioritize which chemicals of concern to focus on based on product type, customer concerns, and the availability of safer alternatives.
The baseline list of chemicals of concern included on our first Restricted Substance List (RSL) identifies the chemicals that we seek to avoid in Amazon-owned Private Brands baby, household cleaning, personal care, and beauty products in the U.S. and Europe. This policy is in addition to applicable local legal requirements and associated compliance plans. It will be expanded to additional brands, product categories, and geographies over time.
Reduce usage of chemicals of concern: Amazon encourages manufacturers to phase out potentially hazardous chemistries and adopt green chemistry alternatives, such as those defined in U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Safer Chemicals Ingredients List, which can reduce impacts to human health and the environment. We began our reformulation efforts towards this goal with Private Brand formulated products because we have the most control over how these products are developed.
Enable transparency: Our transparency efforts are grounded in the belief that Amazon should provide customers with information that helps them make informed purchasing decisions. Our goal is to make product health and sustainability data as easy for customers to access and interpret as price and customer reviews. This is why we are working on website features that will make it easier for customers to access comprehensive information about product ingredients and third-party certifications, including Safer Choice, Made Safe, Green Seal, and Cradle to Cradle. We hope that making this information more readily available for customers will encourage additional brands to move away from potentially hazardous chemistries in their products and adopt safer chemistries.
Implementing our first restricted substance list
Our initial RSL is available here and will apply to all consumer Private Brands baby (shampoo, lotion, wipes), household cleaning (all-purpose, kitchen, and bathroom cleaners), personal care (shampoo, sanitizers, moisturizers), and beauty products (makeup). It is based on the leading science and customer feedback, and includes a baseline list of chemicals of concern that all brands should work to phase out and eliminate. In particular, it focuses on paraben preservatives, formaldehyde donor preservatives, phthalate solvents, nonylphenol (NP) and nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE) surfactants, toluene, and triclosan. The set of RSL chemicals will be reviewed and updated periodically. Our brands have and will continue to develop even more restrictive RSLs for their businesses. Amazon has developed mechanisms to drive product formulation improvements and policy compliance with our suppliers.
Enhance transparency with customers and stakeholders
Amazon pioneered Customer Reviews because we are committed to providing customers with information that helps them make informed purchasing decisions. Recent innovations include Amazon Pages, which allow brands to tell their story directly to customers, and the A+ Enhanced Marketing Content on detail pages, which allows brands to explain product features and benefits to customers. This information can include the steps they are taking to ensure that their product selection is safe and healthy, with the backing of a robust set of guidelines to maintain a high bar of content quality to only include factual, easily verifiable, and objective information. To provide additional information on physical packaging, Amazon developed 2D codes through our Transparency service that are retailer agnostic and available to all brands. These codes can link to information about the products, their product supply chains, and any third-party certifications they have received.
To further our commitment to transparency, in 2019 Amazon will continue to work on additional product category RSLs under this Chemicals Policy, and work to achieve fuller ingredient disclosure on its Private Brands product detail pages.
Promote third-party certifications
Amazon has begun work on features that will make it easier for customers to discover, identify, and purchase products with safer formulations and sustainable attributes. This work will include making safer chemistry third-party product sustainability certifications such as Safer Choice, Made Safe, Green Seal, and Cradle to Cradle more prominent.
Join retail sector safer chemistry initiatives
We have joined the Retail Leadership Council of the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) and the Beauty and Personal Care (BPC) Product Sustainability Rating System. Amazon supports the retail sector’s collaborative effort to encourage national brands to use safer formulations and produce more sustainable products.
In 2019, Amazon joined the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). The BCI aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.
Additionally, in 2019 we signed the Responsible Sourcing Network’s public Cotton Pledge to not source cotton from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan until the pervasive use of government-mandated forced labor is stopped. We prohibit forced labor within our supply chains, and we have developed internal controls and external engagements to address forced labor within global supply chains. This pledge represents an additional step in that direction and lends Amazon’s voice in demanding an end to forced labor in these two countries.
Palm oil is used extensively as an ingredient in consumer products, however, its cultivation has contributed to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and negative social impacts in some of the regions where it is grown. Our approach is to promote the use of sustainably-certified palm oil in our Private Brands food products. We ask our Private Brands suppliers to source palm oil that is sustainably certified. We are starting with Amazon-owned Private Brands food products in North America and across Europe, where our goal is to source 100% sustainable palm oil by the end of 2020.
We recognize that, as sellers of animal-derived products, we have a responsibility to uphold animal welfare within our supply chain. We will continue to make it easy for customers to buy free range, pasture-fed, organic, or other higher welfare products, and to offer these products at the best possible prices. We will also continue to offer easily-identifiable vegetarian and vegan products. This animal welfare policy provides guidance for producers and suppliers of animal-derived goods and services during production, transport, and slaughter. At Amazon, we recognize and expect our suppliers to uphold the Five Freedoms framework. These freedoms are:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst – by providing ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
- Freedom from discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from pain, injury, or disease – by ensuring prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to express normal behavior – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from fear and distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
We expect our suppliers to comply with all applicable laws.
We expect our suppliers to take a zero-tolerance approach to animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect.
We encourage suppliers to continuously improve their animal welfare standards and practices, and to work towards recognized animal welfare certifications or industry guidelines that include welfare provisions.