Amazon: Customers and Climate Change
(7 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
On September 9, 2019, thousands of Amazon.com Inc. employees threatened to join the global climate strikes planned for the week of September 20–27, 2019. Employees were protesting the e-commerce giant's customer-centric approach and its lack of transparency regarding its carbon footprint. Pressure for more transparency was mounting—not only from employees but also from various non-governmental organizations, politicians, and competitors. However, transparency could reveal environmental issues that might lead to a boycott of the company's products and services. Furthermore, transparency and environmental initiatives could work against Amazon’s customer-centric approach, and would likely not be approved by the shareholders. Amazon.com Inc. needed to make a decision. Should the company adopt a confrontationist approach and steadfastly pursue its customer-centric approach in the interest of shareholders? Or, should it adopt a co-operative approach and change the company's business model to minimize environmental damage?
This case is designed for graduate-level courses on business environment and strategy that discuss non-market environments, non-market strategies, private and public politics, social pressure, and related strategies. Before the case discussion, students should have covered concepts such as the components of a business environment, the framework for analyzing a non-market environment, market strategies versus non-market strategies, integrated strategies, the formation of interest groups, and private and public politics. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- understand the non-market environment of business using David Bach's (ia)3-framework;
- assess a company's vulnerability to private politics;
- understand the non-market strategies of various private politics groups and activists;
- identify non-market strategies that can counteract the strategies of private politics groups and activists in a non-market environment; and
- select a business strategy by analyzing the pros and cons of various non-market strategies.
United States, Large, 2019
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