IF YOU'RE AN AMAZON SHAREHOLDER, you're likely very rich and you want to keep it that way. So it should come as no surprise that the Amazon board turned down pretty much every request to make the company more accountable, more ethical and, ultimately, less profitable.
First up was a bid to get Amazon to limit its ability to sell its controversial Rekognition facial recognition software. Telling Amazon not to sell things is like telling a bird not to fly, so unsurprisingly it was voted down, alongside a proposal requesting Amazon publish an independent report on the impact of its facial recognition software.
It was always a long shot: Amazon's board had urged its shareholders to vote down proposals, and CEO Jeff Bezos owns 12 per cent of the stock as well as the voting shares of his ex-wife. The top four institutional shareholders have around the same voting rights as the boy Bezos.
In other words, an upset always seemed unlikely. Plus, voters probably had the voice of their collective consciences dampened down by the noise from a large protest going on outside the building - probably with placards delivered via Prime Now.
The atmosphere outside the meeting is very festive. There's food and live music. Overall the demonstrations feel bigger and more organized than years past. pic.twitter.com/WBO9Nk03Mm— Monica Nickelsburg (@mnickelsburg) May 22, 2019
Also getting the thumbs down from Amazon's fat cats: a change of how it reports gender pay disparities, and reports on its fossil fuel usage, how it deals with climate change, and how it tackles "hate speech and the sale of offensive products throughout its businesses." Presumably "offensive products" refers to weapons and propaganda, rather than garish clothing, but who knows?
In any case, it's a moot point: Amazon didn't become the biggest retailer in the world by listening to its conscience or protesters. Why change a winning formula now? µ
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