Amazon has appointed a director of social responsibility, Christine Bader '00, amid criticism over its business practices.
The online retailer is facing scrutiny over how its policies affect the outside world, with its cloud services division consistently receiving low grades in Greenpeace’s cloud cleanliness report.
Last year, the US Department of Labour fined five companies in connection with the death of Ronald Smith, a contract worker in Amazon’s Avenel, New Jersey, warehouse. The logistics company Amazon contracted to oversee work at this site was among the companies fined, although Amazon itself was not fined. The Seattle Times has also criticised Amazon for not contributing more to local charitable causes after the company’s rapid expansion created strife with community advocates following the rise in housing prices due to the “rapid influx” of well-paid tech-workers.
Last month, Amazon in the US was the subject of a New York Times expose which portrayed alleged ruthless work practices and culture at the company. The report revealed some damning findings, particularly around Amazon's treatment of workers who have suffered personal crises in their lives. However, Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos said the article did not describe "the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day."
Bader worked on social responsibility issues for BP for more than eight years, leaving two years before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. She is the author of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil, and an advocate of the idea that large companies like Amazon can be a force for good.
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