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Supplier Assessments
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Two women check in for their work day, holding their index fingers up to machine.

Supplier Assessments

We engage in robust supplier due diligence, prioritising mechanisms that drive continuous improvement. We are committed to working with our suppliers to remedy issues and establish systems to prevent future issues.

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Continuous Improvement

Our Responsible Sourcing Programme focuses on suppliers of Amazon-branded products, consisting of Amazon Private Brands, Amazon devices, and a curated selection of brands exclusively sold in Amazon’s store. Through this programme, we engage in robust supplier due diligence, prioritising mechanisms that drive continuous improvement. We are committed to working with our suppliers to remedy issues and establish systems to prevent future issues. We expect our suppliers to consistently monitor and enforce our standards in their own operations and supply chain, as well as make improvements to meet or exceed our expectations. We use independent auditors to verify supplier compliance with our Supply Chain Standards though regular on-site inspections and confidential worker interviews.

Our approach is based on a commitment to workers and to continuous improvement; we put the safety and interests of workers first. Suppliers are required to meaningfully participate in any investigation and take immediate action in the event that issues are found. An acceptable corrective action plan details the root cause of the issue and the steps, both short-term and long-term, supplier management will take to fix it. In most situations, we will support suppliers through the remediation process, but where a supplier refuses to remediate, we may choose to terminate the relationship. Failure to meet our standards has been a factor in our decision to terminate hundreds of suppliers.

Key Stages of Supplier Assessment and Issue Remediation
  • Stage 1
    Supplier submits Amazon-approved audit of facility
  • Stage 2
    If issues are identified, Amazon will issue a request for a Corrective Action Plan
  • Stage 3
    Remediation of identified issues is tracked through follow-up verification audits
  • Step 4
    Once in production, the supplier is audited on a regular, ongoing basis
  • Step 5
    If a supplier refuses to remediate an issue, Amazon may choose to terminate the relationship

About Our Assessment Results

We assess our suppliers of Amazon-branded products across four main categories: 1) Labour, 2) Health and Safety, 3) Environment and 4) Ethics. These categories are divided into subcategories, such as non-discrimination, emergency preparedness, hazardous substances and transparency. Findings within each subcategory are flagged as High, Medium or Low depending on the level of severity.

Amazon focuses on setting a high bar for new suppliers and refusing to go to production until suppliers remediate High-level findings identified in our assessments. We recognise that some issues may take time to effectively remediate. For Medium-level issues, we expect suppliers to show that they are making meaningful progress towards remediation within a defined timeline. For Low-level issues, we monitor suppliers for continuous improvement. We have dedicated teams based in key sourcing countries around the globe that work directly with our suppliers to identify solutions to challenging problems and promote open dialogue. We seek to create long-term relationships with suppliers who align with our values and are committed to constantly improving conditions for workers. Where we see trends in issues beyond individual suppliers, such as widespread health and safety deficits or industry-wide failures to responsibly protect migrant workers, we work to define regional or global strategies to address underlying systemic challenges.

We share our supplier assessment data to demonstrate our commitment to transparency and to contribute to industry-wide knowledge on complex and changing supply chain conditions. In 2020, we conducted 4,708 assessments to help us determine which suppliers to work with and, for those we do engage, to help us continually understand and improve those suppliers’ practices. We utilise three types of assessments:

  • Pre-Production Assessments: Suppliers must submit an Amazon-approved assessment of their facilities before beginning production of Amazon-branded products (44 % of assessments conducted in 2020 were Pre-Production Assessments).
  • Ongoing Assessments: Suppliers must submit Amazon-approved assessments on an ongoing basis while producing Amazon products (36 % of assessments conducted in 2020 were Ongoing Assessments).
  • Verification Assessments: Where issues are identified, suppliers must develop a corrective action plan detailing actions to address identified issues, a long-term plan to prevent reoccurrence and, where necessary, undergo a follow-up assessment to ensure that issues are properly remediated (20 % of assessments conducted in 2020 were Verification Assessments).

Our assessment data reflects findings for suppliers evaluated in 2019 and 2020 and includes assessments of suppliers we no longer work with or with which we never began a business relationship. Assessments may have found more than one issue listed. We accept assessments completed by qualified independent audit companies based on our own assessment standards and those of industry associations, including Sedex (SMETA), amfori (amfori BSCI) and the Responsible Business Alliance; certification standard Social Accountability International (SA8000); and the Better Work programme.


High and Medium Level Findings by Subcategory
(% of total assessments with issues)

Subcategory20192020
Labour
Freedom of AssociationLess than 1 %Less than 1 %
Freely Chosen Employment3.20 %8 %
Humane TreatmentLess than 1 %1.40 %
Non-DiscriminationLess than 1 %1 %
Subcontractor and Next-Tier Supplier ResponsibilityLess than 1 %Less than 1 %
Wages and Benefits40.70 %47 %
Worker Grievance/Complaint MechanismLess than 1 %Less than 1 %
Working Hours7.90 %5.70 %
Young WorkersLess than 1 %Less than 1 %
Ethical Behaviour
Business Integrity2.30 %2.90 %
Transparency2.90 %1.70 %
Environment
Hazardous SubstancesLess than 1 %Less than 1 %
Pollution Management and PreventionLess than 1 %3 %
Health and Safety
Emergency Preparedness and Response10.50 %12.90 %
Industrial Hygiene9.50 %16.20 %
Machine SafeguardingLess than 1 %Less than 1 %
Sanitation, Dormitory and Canteen2.30 %1.80 %

Our assessment data helps us determine where to focus our efforts and resources, and provides insight into industry-wide challenges and systemic issues. For example, in 2020, we saw increased rates of findings in some categories primarily driven by pre-production audits (e.g. Freely Chosen Employment). We worked with suppliers to remediate these issues before going into production and did not see similarly high rates in verification audits. Increased findings with other issues (e.g. Industrial Hygiene) were driven by a need for supplier education where our standards exceed local law and industry practice. In other cases, the increased rate of findings in specific categories (e.g. Wages and Benefits) represents industry-wide challenges that require industry-level, long-term solutions. We recognise that we cannot address many of these systemic issues alone, and we are committed to engaging in industry-level interventions in order to drive improvement in working conditions.

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