Amazon : Clear positions on contentious topics

The US technology giant’s corporate site employs clear language and hard data to take unambiguous stands on political issues.

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The feature

The Our Company section of the ‘About Amazon’ corporate site has an Our Positions page, introduced to visitors as follows:
‘We created this page to provide customers, investors, policymakers, employees, and others our views on certain issues. While our positions are carefully considered and deeply held, there is much room for healthy debate and differing opinions. We hope being clear about our positions is helpful.’
Below this introduction, there are eleven paragraphs, each starting with a one-sentence ‘position’ in bold, followed by explanatory text. 
The text is notably free of jargon and acronyms. Most of the positions are supported with multiple facts and figures. 

The takeaway

‘Our positions’ pages are reasonably common on corporate sites – but Amazon’s is unusual for a number of reasons.
First, the page goes beyond typical corporate responsibility issues to tackle controversial political topics – in which there is a significant lack of national or global consensus – head on.
Second, the use of plain English ensures that the company’s positions are easy to digest by generalist as well as specialist visitors.
Third, the positions themselves are unambiguous, unlike many bland ‘positions’ and ‘commitments’ provided on some other corporate sites. 
Examples include ‘The federal minimum wage in the U.S. is too low and should be raised’ and ‘Counterfeiters should receive stronger penalties under federal law’.
Finally, care has been taken to support positions with hard facts and figures.
For all of these reasons, the page is likely to prove informative and engaging to a wide range of audiences, including jobseekers, journalists and customers.
There are no attempts to use imagery or other visual elements to support the points made on the page. This is likely to be a deliberate decision – though some of the topics and data discussed could benefit from graphical illustration. 
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First published 02 June, 2020
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