Amazon has shared details of over 1,000 of its suppliers © MediaNews/The Denver Post/Getty Images
Amazon has shared details of over 1,000 of its suppliers © MediaNews/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Amazon steps up supply chain transparency

22 November 2019

Amazon has published list of over 1,000 suppliers of its own-brand products in a step towards transparency. 

The suppliers listed by the online retailer are responsible for the production of Amazon-branded apparel, consumer electronics, and home goods products in countries including China, Vietnam and Bangladesh. 

Amazon said it is “strongly committed to conducting its business in a lawful and ethical manner, including engaging with suppliers that respect human rights, provide safe and inclusive workplaces, and promote a sustainable future”.

“We engage with suppliers that are committed to these same principles. Our global teams work closely with suppliers to communicate our standards, and help suppliers build their capacity to provide safe and respectful working environments,” it added. 

NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) said while publishing the list was a good first step, it was not “easily accessible, sortable, or sufficiently specific to learn the type of products made in each of the listed facilities”, limiting its value for consumers, workers, and labour advocates.

“The decision by Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, sends an unambiguous message that transparency is critically important and here to stay and grow,” said Aruna Kashyap, senior women’s rights counsel at HRW. 

“Brands that don’t publicly disclose their supply chains may not know where their products are made, making it harder to determine whether they are acting responsibly, and where the disclosure is not easily accessible, they make it difficult for workers to report labour abuses.”

Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union, said: “In addition to transparency, the company needs to make binding commitments with unions to monitor and fix problems in the factories it uses and report on its progress publicly. Amazon can – and should – do better in its supply chain and its own fulfilment centres.”

The list has been published after calls by human rights campaigners for Amazon to be more transparent about its supply chain. 

In 2018, a coalition of NGOs, including HRW and UNI Global Union, called on the retailer to sign up to the “Transparency Pledge”. The pledge asks companies to publish a list of the names, addresses, product type, the number of workers, and the parent company of the factories involved in assembling, embellishing, and finishing own-brand products on their websites.

Earlier this year, Amazon said it would be investigating working practices of one of its key suppliers following reports that hundreds of teenagers had been working illegally at a factory in China.

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