The audit follows a push by Amazon shareholders to make the company be more transparent about how its policies affect diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The company said the focus of the audit will be "to evaluate any disparate racial impacts on our nearly 1 million U.S. hourly employees resulting from our policies, programs, and practices." Amazon didn't say when the results of the audit will be completed, though they will be made public once finished. In 2021, 44% of Amazon shareholders supported a proposal for a racial equity audit, according to the filing, but the proposal was rejected last year.
Amazon's board of directors recommended that shareholders vote against the resolution for the audit, arguing that the company is conducting its own human rights assessment and has launched initiatives promoting workforce diversity and inclusion. But New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has proposed an independent audit to be voted on again at the company's shareholders meeting next month.
The proposal filed on behalf of shareholders argues that the company's assessment wouldn't do enough, as it isn't "an audit conducted by auditors who are experienced in rooting out biases and discrimination."
"There is no public evidence that Amazon is assessing the potential or actual negative impacts of its policies, practices, products, and services through a racial equity lens," the filing reads. "Because of the pattern and magnitude of controversies repeatedly facing Amazon, we believe that it is in shareholders’ best interests for Amazon to proactively identify and mitigate risks through an independent racial equity audit."
Shareholders are also reportedly are voting next month on an independent audit of Amazon's treatment of warehouse workers, according to CNBC, which Amazon has urged shareholders to vote against.