Human Rights Due Diligence

Due diligence is fundamental to embedding human rights into our operations. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) are the foundation of our human rights due diligence approach. We collaborate closely with stakeholders and use a range of due diligence tools to ensure people are seen, heard, and protected.

 a group of people seated opposite each other at a table, with a smiling person at the head.
 a group of people seated opposite each other at a table, with a smiling person at the head.
 a group of people seated opposite each other at a table, with a smiling person at the head.
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Identifying Salient Human Rights Risks

In 2020, Amazon worked with Article One Advisors to conduct our first enterprisewide saliency assessment, focused on identifying salient human rights risks across our business.

We consulted a diverse group of external human rights experts, incorporated their feedback into the results, and benchmarked the results against internationally recognized human rights standards. The assessment identified a set of priority human rights values, three foundational commitments, and key salient human rights risks for Amazon. The saliency assessment was a key milestone in the development of our human rights due diligence strategy.

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Building on this work, in 2021, we made progress on our salient human rights risks and furthered our efforts to implement human rights due diligence mechanisms. What follows are some examples of how we assessed and addressed our salient risks, prioritizing our three foundational commitments.

Foundational commitment
Meaningful Consultation With Stakeholders
We worked with human rights expert organizations, including Article One Advisors, BSR, Impactt Limited, and The Centre for Child Rights and Business, to advance our human rights due diligence. Some of the outcomes from Amazon’s partnerships and collaborations in 2021 include:
  • The creation of a $150 million Black Business Accelerator program in partnership with our Black Employee Network affinity group and strategic partners with experience supporting Black businesses, including the Minority Business Development Agency and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
  • Engagement with the Policing Project at New York University School of Law to audit the Neighbors application and Neighbors Public Safety Service, providing users with real-time crime and safety alerts, to help improve our Ring products and services from a civil liberties and policing ethics perspective. Read our report on the Ring blog.
  • Signing and adopting the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as part of our long-standing commitment to gender equality. The WEPs were established by the UN Global Compact and UN Women to offer businesses guidance on ways to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community.
  • Signing the Trusted Cloud Principles, including principles recognizing that “international human rights law enshrines a right to privacy,” and committing to the Partnership on AI, working with partners to help drive responsible artificial intelligence solutions for people and society.
  • The launch of a $12 million, five-year partnership with the U.S. National Safety Council to uncover new ways to prevent and address musculoskeletal disorders.
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Foundational commitment
Opportunity for Concerns to be Heard and Issues Resolved
In 2021, we developed a set of Worker Voice Criteria, outlining key expectations for worker voice mechanisms in our supply chain. This is part of our efforts to build our capacity to provide suppliers and service providers with a variety of trusted tools, products, and systems in order to hear directly from workers about their experiences and to support the resolution of issues from the workers’ perspectives.
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Foundational commitment
Focus on Vulnerable Groups
We signed the memorandum on “Standing up for Children’s Rights in the Digital Environment” at the 2021 Paris Peace Forum.

Additionally, we expanded partnerships with the Responsible Business Alliance and the International Organization for Migration to help strengthen suppliers’ practices around responsible recruitment of foreign migrant workers.
Human Rights Impact Assessments
Our teams use HRIAs as a due diligence tool to identify and address adverse impacts that business activities might have on individuals such as workers, local community members, or consumers.

HRIAs surface detailed information about our human rights risks and root causes, as well as stakeholder perspectives, so that we can address those risks with targeted action. For each HRIA, we partner with an independent human rights consulting firm to conduct the assessment, facilitate stakeholder engagement, and deliver recommendations for improved business practices to address the relevant human rights risks.

Update on Our Devices Supply Chain HRIA

In 2020, we conducted Amazon’s first HRIA on the raw and recovered materials supply chain for Amazon-branded digital devices. Using the UNGPs as a framework to guide the assessment, the HRIA results indicated we are directly linked to potential risks for Tier 1–2 manufacturing and reverse logistics suppliers.

For minerals, metals, plastics, and synthetics suppliers, results indicated we are indirectly linked to potential risks. We have policies and mechanisms in place to help address these potential risks, including our Supply Chain Standards, regular supplier assessments, and grievance mechanisms.

In 2021, we began implementing recommendations from the HRIA, such as increasing our support for industry collaboration on responsible mineral sourcing, and building the capacity of our supply chain partners to effectively manage human rights risks.

We also began developing a multiyear Amazon-branded digital devices strategy to address risks, seeking perspectives from organizations with expertise in human rights, inclusive economy, circularity, and responsible innovation to meet the expectations of our customers and impacted communities.

In 2021, several final assembly and manufacturing suppliers of Amazon-branded digital devices participated in the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) Factory Lead Certification Program. The program trains factory management on effective worker communication and maintaining safe working conditions, allowing suppliers to proactively prevent or mitigate potential issues before they arise.

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