Amazon said it will make excess and returned products from its independent sellers available to charitable groups.
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The online retail giant will launch its Fulfillment by Amazon Donations program in the U.S. and U.K. next month, the company said in a blog post this week. Amazon will work with the "charity partners” and manage the logistics to streamline the donation process for independent sellers who use its platform.
“We know getting products into the hands of those who need them transforms lives and strengthens local communities,” said Alice Shobe, director of Amazon in the Community.
The program comes after Amazon has faced criticism over the way it deals with unwanted goods. Earlier this year, a French TV report showed Amazon warehouse workers throwing out unsold items like coffee makers, toys and brand-name diapers instead of donating them, AFP reported. The undercover footage later prompted France’s prime minister to promise a ban on destroying non-food goods.
The Daily Mail reported it found similar practices at a U.K. Amazon warehouse. It can be cheaper to destroy products compared to shipping them back to sellers or manufacturers, according to the reports.
Amazon said it already donates millions of retail products to charities each year.
In the U.S., Amazon said it is working with Good360, which distributes needed goods to a network of nonprofits, for its new donation program. In the U.K., it’s working with a variety of charities.
“We are delighted to extend this program to sellers who use our fulfillment services,” Shobe said.