Member Spotlight: Amazon Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives Aim to Build Brighter Futures

Published: March 1, 2019

Ken Taylor Com Laude McLean, Virginia, USA

Amazon “thinks big” when it comes to building positive, long-term, and scalable community impact, according to Allison Flicker, the company’s corporate communications specialist. As such, as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, the company-the largest private employer in its hometown of Seattle, Washington (USA), and with more than 350,000 employees worldwide-encourages all of its employees to serve their communities and champion causes they care about.

As part of this engagement, the Amazon in the community team is focused on making sure all children and young adults, especially those from underrepresented and underprivileged communities, have the resources and skills to build their best and brightest futures. This includes Amazon Future Engineer, a unique, childhood-to-career initiative that aims to inspire and teach 10 million students in underserved areas about computer science each year. Amazon has committed to investing more than $50 million over five years, since 2017, in computer science and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

The Disaster Relief by Amazon team applies Amazon’s vast logistics network and operational excellence to offer support to nonprofit partners like the American Red Cross, Feeding America, and World Hope International. In 2018, in response to Hurricanes Florence and Michael in the United States, Disaster Relief by Amazon deployed more than 30 trucks with more than 600,000 Amazon-donated disaster relief essentials to hurricane-stricken areas.

Amazon employees also support Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter in Seattle, Washington. Each year, hundreds of Amazonians use their specialized skills to support Mary’s Place guests, from cooking dinner for families and doing activities with children, to providing legal guidance and résumé and job placement assistance. In May 2017, Amazon announced it would donate space within its newest headquarters building in Seattle to build a permanent Mary’s Place Family Shelter. It will open in 2020 and include 65 rooms, which will shelter more than 200 homeless women, children, and families each night.

Members of Amazon’s legal team participate in virtually all of the company’s CSR and philanthropy projects. Last year, the legal team, including the intellectual property (IP) legal team, volunteered more than 7,500 hours globally, including providing legal and non-legal services through a variety of pro bono programs.

The legal team’s engagement efforts include sorting clothes and playing with youngsters at Mary’s Place; educating local students about the Constitution during Constitution Day; supporting the QLaw Foundation of Washington; supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; providing legal services for National Adoption Day cases; helping write wills for first responders; and volunteering with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).

Mark Warnick, Senior Corporate Counsel-Trademarks at Amazon, added that his team plays the leading role in Amazon’s hosting of a monthly pro bono clinic in downtown Seattle through the Washington Lawyers for the Arts, where they provide legal advice to artists on IP and other issues.

In addition to employees’ efforts to give back, Amazon announced in 2018 that it had donated $100 million to charities doing impactful work around the world through AmazonSmile-a program that allows customers to support their favorite charity at no extra cost every time they shop with Amazon.

Click here for more information about Amazon’s community engagement efforts.

A new column for the INTA Bulletin, and undertaken in alignment with the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, which promotes CSR as one of its objectives, Member Spotlight highlights an INTA member organization’s CSR and/or philanthropy initiatives.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2019 International Trademark Association