Even through all the buzz approximately Amazon prime Day’s discount blitz earlier this month, ns didn’t sign up with the legions shopping online. The was hard to click “proceed to checkout” when workers and also employees protested in Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. A petition v 270,000 signatures was yielded to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calling for better worker rights and for the company to reduced ties through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal company responsible for rounding up and also deporting undocumented immigrants. Although this protests no amount to much action, they absolutely shone a irradiate on Amazon’s plenty of problems.

You are watching: Ebay profits from sustainability efforts.

There’s no denying Amazon’s development has been astounding. Indigenous its humble starts as a book reseller, the firm has grown to dominate online retail. Although it’s expanded into other areas including entertainment, robotics and cloud computing, about 85% of Amazon’s revenue still comes from online retail. Understandably, the wants people to keep buying stuff us don’t need as that corners the market on overconsumption.

Moving all this stuff around from warehouses come homes about the civilization comes at a huge environmental cost. Amazon there is no publicly discover its carbon emissions yet recently promised to start giving this information to investors later on this year. It likewise launched a “Shipment Zero” strategy, committing to do all shipments network zero carbon v a 50% target by 2030. Yet will the be sufficient for investors and also employees? end 8,100 Amazon employees have actually signed a letter asking hard questions around the shipment Zero strategy and calling for Amazon to do more.

Amazon factories are notorious for your unrelenting search of efficiency. Employees have actually strictly timed quotas and also are payment low incomes to carry out strenuous work. There room stories that cheated overtime, limited bathroom breaks and also mental health obstacles leading to suicide attempts. The corporation is conveniently moving towards automation, replacing workers v robots and drones if spending $700 million top top employee training its workforce into an ext technical positions. It will certainly take time to shift its workforce, and there are few assurances the Amazon won’t proceed to treat people like robots while castle perform work that robots right now can’t. According to thelogic.co, Amazon staff also “held closed-door meetings v Toronto shipment companies on exactly how to identify and also prevent union-organizing attempts.”

If every that’s not sufficient to obtain you to return your shares the the retail giant, employees and protestors are pertained to that Amazon is selling net services to providers helping the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) identify and also deport undocumented immigrants. Amazon isn’t the only firm profiting from this activities, yet it certainly doesn’t help employee morale or Amazon’s windy relations.


Amazon clearly has no qualms about working through controversial U.S. Departments, as they are contending for a $10 exchange rate U.S. Armed forces contract called JEDI — Joint enterprise Defense Infrastructure. Once asked about doing organization with the military, CEO Jeff Bezos seemed to obtain somewhat protective saying “If large tech providers are walking to revolve their earlier on the U.S. Room of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble.”

Even still, investors do have to think around the financial expense of trading in your Amazon shares. Amazon element day collection sales documents last month, despite the protests. Digital retail is very popular yet accounts for only about 12% the all sleeve sales globally. That method there’s still many room come grow regardless of failed Amazon ventures prefer the recent discontinuation that its food delivery service.

For part worker and also planet-conscious investors, Amazon’s antics do it a difficult no. So, we present a much more sustainable alternate to Amazon: eBay. EBay is the next largest online retail company and is a much much better performer once it involves sustainability metrics. V a focus on selling pre-owned products, around 16% of eBay’s earnings are estimated as green. EBay additionally owns Kijiji, an virtual marketplace because that secondhand items which, critical checked, was more popular than eBay itself in Canada. (I always make a allude of check to check out if I can buy something supplied on Kijiji prior to buying brand-new since it’s far better for both mine wallet and also the planet.) EBay posting a detailed influence Progress Report the charts its development on sustainability goals such as expansion of sellers in “less-advantaged communities” and also a 50% absolute reduction in limit 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions through 2025.

eBay headquarters in mountain Jose, California. Photo by Leon7

EBay’s organization model is tightly concentrated on connecting buyers and also sellers, fairly than managing logistics or giving web services. This focus clears many of the pitfalls roughly warehouse labour and services noted to odious organizations. However, it does remove many of the best revenue development drivers. Amazon’s growth strategy has actually paid turn off over the past 5 years, outperforming eBay significantly. Amazon’s sector capitalization — the size of the agency as measure up by the stock sector — is much more than 25 times larger than eBay’s. EBay pays a tiny dividend, when Amazon continuous reinvests all of its profits into growing the business. Yet eBay has actually been much less volatile through a lower beta, good for those investors that want less of a ride.

Bottom line: Sustainable investor will want to think about the gaue won trade-offs associated in walking far from a stock v Amazonian growth, however they’ll sleep far better at night owning eBay and also knowing that is carbon footprint won’t swallow the earth at the click that a button.


Beta is a measure up of a stock’s volatility in relationship to the market. Through definition, the market has a beta of 1.0, and individual stocks space ranked follow to exactly how much they deviate indigenous the market. A stock the swings more than the industry over time has a beta above 1.0. Lower beta means less risk.

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Tim Nash blogs together The Sustainable Economist and also is the founder of great Investing.