The Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains might be painted in the media this week as good news for consumers facing a squeeze on their finances. But those who profit most from the sales are big corporations like Amazon, and their actions are far from ‘good news’ for people and planet.
The JustMoney Movement brings together Christians who have a vision of a fairer, greener future for everyone. God renounces injustice and abhors dishonest practices in the economy (Deuteronomy 25:13-16) and so it’s right that we call out injustice where we see it and seek to make more just decisions with the money we steward. We need to be alert to the pressure to spend money, understand the impact of our consumerism, and look more closely at the companies we buy from.
Amazon is largely responsible for the rise of Black Friday in the UK. Over the next few days, Amazon will sell millions of products in its sales. But at what cost? Who benefits, and who and what is put at risk? From tax avoidance to issues around workers’ rights, there is much to be concerned about in the way Amazon uses its size and power, and there’s a growing movement that wants to hold Amazon to account.
Back at the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020, as Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’ wealth soared pass the $200 billion mark, a global coalition of citizens and organisations launched Make Amazon Pay, a campaign calling for justice for workers, communities and the planet.
This year, on so-called Black Friday (25 November), the campaign will be marking Make Amazon Pay Day. Protests and strikes are planned around the world – from South Africa to Argentina, India to Indonesia.
As the world moves from crisis to crisis, with ever increasing inequality and the threat of climate breakdown, Make Amazon Pay draws attention to the impact that Amazon has on all of us:
- Amazon squeezes workers: real wages are going down while the corporation has had record revenues this year – $121bn for the second quarter of 2022. Amazon squeezes communities: paying no income tax in Europe in 2021 and instead was paid €1bn in tax credits on €55 billion sales; Amazon squeezes our planet: despite including only 1% of all product sales in its carbon accounting, the corporation’s CO2 emissions rose by 18% in 2021.
Tax avoidance by big multinational companies and wealthy individuals is a major barrier to shaping a fairer, greener world. Will you raise your voice to speak out for justice?
- See if there is a Make Amazon Pay action near you and share the campaign on your social media.
- Instead of shopping from Amazon, buy from Fair Tax certified companies – the gold standard of responsible tax conduct, or other companies that put people and planet first, like co-operatives, social enterprises and B-Corps. Take a look at our Money Makes Change pages to explore more ways to act justly with your finances.
- Use our Ethical Buying guide to examine your church’s buying habits and commit to fairer, greener purchasing.
- Support our Good Measure campaign, calling for a wealth tax on the UK’s richest, rather than the increased taxes on ordinary working people (including those Amazon workers busy fulfilling all those Christmas orders!) that the Government announced last week.
Money Makes Change Programme Manager