Amid criticism, Amazon appoints director of social responsibility

Christine Bader joins the company as it faces criticism from many sides

Amazon has appointed a director of social responsibility at a time when the online retailer faces mounting criticism over its business practices.

The new hire, Christine Bader, is an advocate for the idea that large corporations like Amazon can be a force for good. The author of "The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil," Bader worked on social responsibility issues for BP for nearly a decade, leaving two years prior to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Her hiring comes as Amazon is facing increased scrutiny over how its policies affect the outside world. The company's cloud services division has consistently received low grades in Greenpeace's cloud cleanliness reports, in part because the company refused to provide details about its sustainability plans.

There's also the matter of Amazon's treatment of people working in its fulfillment centers at home and abroad, packing boxes and shipping them out to customers. Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor levied fines against five companies in connection with the death of Ronald Smith, a contract worker in Amazon's Avenel, New Jersey, warehouse. (Amazon was not one of the companies fined, but the logistics company it contracted with to oversee work at the site was.)

In its hometown of Seattle, Amazon's rapid expansion has created strife with community advocates. The city's rapid influx of well-paid tech workers has helped drive up housing prices, and the company runs several major construction projects in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. In 2012, the Seattle Times took Amazon to task for not contributing more to local charitable causes.

On top of all that, Amazon was criticized recently for its treatment of employees at its corporate offices. An article in the New York Times relayed stories of a bruising culture and internal backstabbing, while one former employee took to Medium to tell her story of what she saw as poor treatment by the company after having a baby and then being diagnosed with cancer. Bader was hired prior to the Times report coming out, though it's not clear if Amazon's internal culture will be part of the focus of her new role. 

"We have experienced heartache and disillusionment," Bader wrote in "A Manifesto for the Corporate Idealist." "But we also know that big business can make the world a better place, and feel compelled to do all we can to make that happen."

Besides her work at BP, she was previously an advisor to the U.N. Secretary General's Special Representative for business and human rights. Most recently she was a member of Keurig Green Mountain's external advisory panel and a senior advisor at Business for Social Responsibility, facilitating the firm's Human Rights Working Group.

It will be interesting to see how Bader, who has an outspoken presence on the Web, meshes with Amazon's corporate culture, which traditionally is more quiet and closed off from the outside world. In line with its secrecy, the company didn't respond to requests for comment on this report. 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags amazon.com

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?