LONDON/BOSTON, May 25 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc
faces 14 investor resolutions challenging its policies at its
annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, a record for the retail
and cloud computing giant, as socially minded investors
scrutinize its treatment of workers.
The increase in the number of resolutions underscores the
rise of environmental, social and corporate governance
(ESG)-based investing, which is spurring more shareholders to
push for corporate accountability.
It also reflects changes under securities regulators
appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden that have made it easier
for investors to file proposals and more difficult for companies
to convince regulators that these resolutions should not go to a
A fresh record for such resolutions at an S&P 500 company
will be chalked up next week, when Google parent Alphabet Inc
faces 17 on June 1, said research firm Insightia, the
most since it began tracking them comprehensively in 2014.
Roughly ten of the shareholder resolutions that Amazon
investors will vote on pertain to worker rights and other
"social" issues, such as calls for the company to report on
worker health and safety or the treatment of its warehouse
workers. The others call for things like a review of Amazon's
use of plastic or changes to the company's process for board
Amazon has recommended that its investors vote against all
14 resolutions, saying in its proxy statement that it often has
already acted to address the underlying concerns of a proposal.
While the resolutions are nonbinding, companies often take some
form of action if they receive backing of 30% to 40% of votes
Top proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services has
recommended investors vote for eight of the proposals, while
Glass Lewis has backed seven of them.
Royal London Asset Management Ltd, Britain's largest mutual
life, pensions and investment company, plans to vote in favor of
at least six of the shareholder resolutions at the Amazon
meeting, its head of responsible investment, Ashley Hamilton
Claxton, told Reuters.
Britain's biggest asset manager, Legal & General Investment
Management, and British asset manager Schroders Plc have
also declared ahead of Amazon's shareholder meeting they will
back at least some of the investor resolutions.
Amazon is a popular holding among ESG-focused funds. About
32% of funds classified as promoting the environment or social
justice under European Union rules are invested in Amazon,
according to Jefferies Financial Group Inc. Only
Microsoft Corp constitutes a more popular holding,
found in 39% of such funds.
Brandon Rees, a deputy director for the AFL-CIO, the largest
U.S. labor organization, said he hoped ESG funds holding Amazon
will more often support labor-focused resolutions.
"It's my belief that worker rights and workers have been
buried in the 'S' of ESG," Rees said.
(Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston and Simon Jessop in London
Editing by Matthew Lewis)