Amazon shareholders have rejected 15 resolutions submitted by investors seeking to influence the company’s environmental impact and the treatment of workers.
Shareholders on Wednesday voted against all the resolutions, most of which related to workers’ rights and other social issues. The resolutions included calls for the company to be accountable for the health and safety of workers and the treatment of its warehouse workers, as well as a review of Amazon’s use of plastic and changes of the company’s process for board appointments.
Amazon’s board had recommended that its shareholders vote against all of the resolutions, saying in its proxy statement that it had often already acted to address the concerns underlying many of the proposals. Historically, shareholders have voted according to the recommendations of the board of directors. Jeff Bezos, the company’s executive chairman, controls 12.7% of the overall vote.
Although the resolutions are not binding, companies often take some form of action if they receive the support of 30% to 40% of the vote. While activist resolutions were scrapped, investors approved executive compensation, board members and a stock split.
A proposal from activist investor group Tulipshare called on Amazon to conduct an independent audit of warehouse worker wages and working conditions. Although the vote did not pass, the group plans to resubmit the motion next year.
“While we are disappointed that our proposal did not pass today, this vote was just the beginning of the fight for workers’ rights,” said Antoine Argouges, CEO and Founder of Tulipshare, adding that ‘Amazon had not yet disclosed the full result of the vote, or by what percentage the proposal was rejected.
“Based on the positive conversations we’ve had with major shareholders this week, we have every reason to believe that our proposal has received strong support,” Argouges said. “Once the results are released, we will consider our options to continue the fight for better working conditions at Amazon.”
The rise in the number of resolutions underscores the rise of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG)-based investments, which are driving more shareholders to push for corporate responsibility.
It also reflects changes under Joe Biden-appointed securities regulators that made it easier for investors to file proposals and made it harder for companies to convince regulators that those resolutions shouldn’t be put to a shareholder vote.
The record 15 resolutions is set to be surpassed already next week, when Google’s parent company Alphabet faces 17 social justice-focused proposals on June 1, research firm Insightia said, the most since it began. started tracking them comprehensively in 2014.
Reuters contributed to this report