Amazon's 401(k)
has coal, oil, and gas investments that are putting the Amazon rainforest at risk.

In April 2019, thousands of Amazon employees signed an open letter to Jeff Bezos and the Amazon Board of Directors asking for a company-wide climate plan. Since then, Amazon has made a public committment to become net zero carbon across their whole business by 2040. But through their employee retirement plan, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in fossil fuels, deforestation-risk agribusiness, and other climate-risk industries.

Amazon.com

Plan name:
Amazon.com 401(k)

Default option Vanguard Target Retirement Funds series
Default fund option managed by Vanguard
Updated July 2021

Environment
scorecard

Fossil fuels
Fossil fuels
Poor
Deforestation
Deforestation
Poor

We used our expertise in mutual fund sustainability analysis and extensive database of ESG-screened companies to rate corporations’ retirement plan investment options.

Social
scorecard

Gender equality
Gender equality
Fair
Civilian firearms
Civilian firearms
Fair
Prison industrial complex
Prison industrial complex
Poor
Military weapons
Military weapons
Poor
Tobacco
Tobacco
Fair

We used our expertise in mutual fund sustainability analysis and extensive database of ESG-screened companies to rate corporations’ retirement plan investment options.

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52% of plan assets are invested in the default option, the Vanguard Target Retirement Funds series.

Most employer-offered retirement plans have what's called a Qualified Default Investment Alternative. When you sign up for the plan, your savings are put in a default investment, and most plan participants never switch. For many plans, that default investment is a series of target date funds, broadly diversified investments that offer different "target dates" for investors in different age brackets. These target date funds mostly invest in index funds that are not sustainably invested. For the plan scorecard above, we use the 2050 target date as the representative of the fund series.




This retirement plan has millions of dollars invested in environmental and social risk categories.

Amazon.com 401(k) flagged investmentsClick to enlarge
The figures in this chart and the tables below are calculated by cross-referencing annual data on plan investments from 2019 and monthly data on mutual fund holdings from July 2021. The results represent a best-faith effort to measure plan participant exposure to various environmental and social risk screens using the most recent data available. The actual amount invested by the plan may be higher today as employees have made further contributions since 2019. These results represent stock investments within the plan's target date and equity funds, and do not capture any risky investments in other fund types or through a self-directed option. Read our full methodology here.




Access to sustainable funds

Only 1 / 26 plan options report a sustainability mandate.

1.88% of plan assets are invested in sustainable options.

While many people stick with the default option, 401(k)s and other employer-offered retirement plans usually have a line-up of additional investment options. If this plan offers any investment options marketed as "sustainable", "socially responsible", or "ESG" (short for environment, social, and governance), we'll show the scorecard results below.



Want more sustainable options in your 401(k) plan?

Learn how to work with your employer to ensure your retirement plan is sustainably invested.



Self-directed option

Plan participants have access to sustainable funds via a self-directed option.

A self-directed option (also called a "brokerage window") can provide more access to sustainable funds. But a self-directed option requires more work from plan participants, and could lead to riskier investments. It's better for a retirement plan to offer access to sustainable funds without making people use a self-directed option - or even better, to make the default investment a sustainable fund. The Amazon.com 401(k) includes the Fidelity BrokerageLink self-directed option.

If your plan has a self-directed option, you can use our database of mutual funds and ETFs to find sustainable funds.








We offer sustainable investment tools that highlight issues dealing with climate change, gender equality and more

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As You Sow is not an investment adviser as that term is defined under federal and state (California) laws and regulations. As You Sow is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering shareholders to change corporations for the good through the collection, analysis and dissemination of relevant information to the public, free of charge. As You Sow does not provide financial planning, legal or tax advice. Nothing on this website shall constitute or be construed as an offering of financial instruments, or as investment advice or investment recommendations.
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