New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli issued the following statement today following Amazon’s agreement to conduct and publicly release an independent racial equity audit, led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, that will look into “disparate racial impacts” from its employment practices on its hourly workers. As a result of the agreement, DiNapoli and the New York State Common Retirement Fund will withdraw the shareholder proposal they had filed for consideration at Amazon’s annual meeting on May 25.
“For Amazon, one of America's largest employers, to prioritize and examine its impacts on racial equity is a major step forward in ensuring equal opportunities and treatment in corporate America. We commend the company for listening to its shareholders who understand that fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion is good for business. As support for civil rights and racial equity audits grow, shareholders expect corporations to engage in open and honest assessments of how their products and services may impact racial equity. I hope this is just a first step for Amazon as it looks more broadly at its products and policies. My office looks forward to continuing our dialogue with the company.”
Last year, DiNapoli filed a shareholder proposal at Amazon requesting an independent review of the company’s policies, practices, and products on civil rights, equity, diversity and inclusion, and how they affect the company’s business. The proposal was supported by 44.18% of the company’s shareholders, a record level of support for an environmental or social shareholder proposal at Amazon. The Fund refiled the proposal for the 2022 proxy season. With this agreement, and the commitments made by Amazon related to the audit's independence and protections, the proposal has been withdrawn.
About the New York State Common Retirement Fund
The New York State Common Retirement Fund is one of the largest public pension funds in the United States with assets of approximately $279.7 billion as of Dec. 31, 2021. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. The Fund has consistently been ranked as one of the best managed and best funded plans in the nation.