Criticized for discarding stranded products, Amazon has announced a program that will facilitate the donation of items in this condition. This is the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, which is expected to benefit charities in the United States and the United Kingdom, including Good360 and the Salvation Army.
The subject gained great repercussion at the beginning of the year, when the French television channel M6 ran a report showing thousands of products being dropped at an Amazon warehouse in France.
Among the items were coffee machines, TVs, diaper packs and even Lego boxes. Most of these products were not damaged or had a manufacturing defect. They were simply not sold and were being thrown away for stock renewal.
Although the report showed the discards in a warehouse in France, the practice also occurs in other countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
Although questionable, this practice is not illegal, nor is it exclusive to Amazon. But, as the company is one of the biggest global names in electronic commerce, the disposal of products has reached great proportions in its operations.
To give you an idea, a recent report by CBS points out that, in an interval of nine months, Amazon threw 293 thousand products in the garbage if added discards in some warehouses in the United Kingdom and France. In the latter country, the quantity of products eliminated in 2018 alone would have exceeded 3 million.
Amazon does not address the issue openly, but recognizes that, although it has worked for some time with charities to donate unwanted products, many of them end up being discarded.
Costs are the main reasons for disposal. For many trading partners, it is expensive to keep products in Amazon warehouses for a long time. Donating sounds like an obvious alternative, but costs associated with logistics, taxes and other factors often make this process more expensive than sending unwanted products to the trash.
With FBA Donations, Amazon will simplify the process of sending items to charities and, with that, hopes to significantly reduce the amount of waste.
FBA Donations will start operating on September 1st. The program will become standard for marketplace sellers who choose to allow Amazon to store and distribute their products. The company will work with the entities to organize the sending of donations.
It is not clear whether this program will be extended to other countries, but Amazon has informed the CNBC which is working to reduce the number of partner product discards to zero. These efforts may include, in addition to donations, more effective return and supplier processes.