Excuse us for the hot take. But yes, we believe there is a place for Amazon based on its continued emergence as a rising leader in fighting climate change despite its complicated labor challenges.
The Elephant in the Room
Amazon has certainly had a mixed history of labor issues. The recent failed union vote, and its run-up, has brought up more controversy for Amazon. Amazon actually has unionized workers in major European markets.
Among big tech, Amazonâ€™s employment model is a different animal. Relative to FAANG* peers, the company employs a massive labor force1, with many employees being lower-skilled laborers involved in preparing and moving shipments.
*FAANG is an acronym referring to the stocks of the five most popular and best-performing American technology companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet (formerly known as Google).
The nature of its workforce makes Amazon more similar to retail businesses than traditional tech leaders and, like other retail giants, Amazon took significant criticism for employee safety during the initial phases of the COVID pandemic. However, we observed that the firm committed large amounts of capital to improve the situation as the pandemic wore on. Amazon also took the lead among large retailers in raising the minimum wage during covid.
Amazonâ€™s Leading the Corporate Charge for a Cleaner Planet
As mentioned earlier, any mention of Amazonâ€™s inclusion in ESG portfolios is likely to center on its growing role as a climate change champion.
The companyâ€™s philosophy takes a pragmatic tone to it, as seen the below from their latest annual meeting report illustrates.2
â€œWe are committed to and invested in sustainability because itâ€™s a win all aroundâ€”itâ€™s good for the planet, business, customers, and communities.â€
Supporting Corporate Climate Champions with ECOZ
Our primary focus with TrueShares ESG Active Opportunities is to develop a climate-resilient ESG ETF that focuses on the radical reduction of portfolio carbon footprint.
To achieve this, we invest in industries and firms that are actively leading the charge on the low-carbon economic transitions. Our focus means times when itâ€™s difficult to identify a firm that is perfect in every aspect of ESG.
However, we have developed a systematic approach to find champions in carbon transition. Specifically, we focus on several criteria below.
When we evaluated the companyâ€™s current policies and future plans ahead of adding them to our portfolio, Amazon checked many of these boxes.
Does that mean thereâ€™s no work to be done by Amazon to make itself a better corporate citizen? Even Jeff Bezos would be hard-pressed to argue that.
But that doesnâ€™t mean it canâ€™t play a role as a carbon-reducing corporate leader in a well-rounded ESG strategy.