Reduce Food Waste
Resolved: Shareholders request that Amazon.com, Inc. issue an annual report, at
reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on the environmental and social
impacts of food waste generated from the company’s operations given the significant
impact that food waste has on societal risk from climate change and hunger.
Supporting Statement: Shareholders leave the method of disclosure to management’s
discretion. Shareholders also defer to management on the specific approaches used to
mitigate food waste and which parts of Amazon’s operations are best to target. Some
options we recommend as guidelines include:
• Conducting evaluations to determine the causes, quantities, and destinations of
• Estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions that could be achieved or
amounts of food redistributed to the food insecure if the company reduced the
generation of food waste;
• Assessing the feasibility of setting goals to reduce food waste and progress made
towards meeting these targets.
Whereas: Despite one in seven U.S. households struggling to afford regular, healthy
meals, 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, generating devastating social
and environmental consequences. Decomposing food in landfills generates 23 percent of
U.S. methane emissions, exacerbating climate change. Wasted food production is
responsible for consuming 25 percent of U.S. freshwater, 19 percent of fertilizer, and 18
percent of cropland.
Project Drawdown cited food waste reduction as the third most impactful tactic in
reducing global GHG emissions.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, ending food waste would
preserve enough food to feed 2 billion people — more than twice the number of
undernourished people in the world.
Industry peers such as Hello Fresh, Kroger, Walmart, Wegmans, Ahold USA, and Weis
Markets disclose or have committed to quantitative disclosure of food waste levels, set
targets for food waste reduction, and publish information on progress towards these
goals. Unfortunately, Amazon has yet to report any company-wide food waste
management strategy including context, metrics, and quantitative improvement goals.
Action to reduce food waste is even more imperative for online grocery retailers because
they may be more susceptible to high rates of food waste given complex distribution
systems and the inability to rely on solutions employed by conventional retailers.
Amazon has captured 30% of U.S. online grocery spending, outpacing its peers. Amazon
invested heavily in its Amazon Fresh and Amazon Direct online grocery services, and
spent $13.7 billion to acquire Whole Foods, thereby increasing the company’s exposure
to products with greater rates of food waste and spoilage.
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board cites food waste management as material
to food distributors’ operating performance, recommending disclosure of the aggregate
amount of food waste generated and the percentage diverted from landfills.
Strengthened disclosure of food waste reduction efforts could help Amazon meet its
social and environmental goals, combat climate change and hunger, and bolster its brand
reputation in a rapidly changing market.