Amazon has launched a new corporate social responsibility initiative – it will now allow third-party sellers to give away unsold inventory to the underprivileged.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the company destroys tons of unsold inventory every month. A French TV station reported in January that the company destroyed three million products just in France last year, including brand new toys and TVs. French Secretary of Environmental Transition Brune Poirson called it "environmentally irresponsible and shocking."
Now, Amazon has come up with an alternative that will not only help them get rid of this inventory, but also help someone in need. The initiative has been called the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) Donations. It targets third-party sellers who store their inventory in Amazon's warehouses in the US and UK.
"We know getting products into the hands of those who need them transforms lives and strengthens local communities. We are delighted to extend this program to sellers who use our fulfillment services," said Alice Shobe, the Director of Amazon in the Community, in an official press release on the launch of the program.
The program will start September 1, and third-party sellers will be given a choice between disposing of or donate their unsold products in Amazon's warehouses across US and UK. In case the sellers chose to donate, their products will be given away to a range of US and UK based charities such as Good360, Newlife and Barnardo's.
The program is designed primarily to decongest Amazon's warehouses and put wasted products to use. It will also have a positive environmental impact, as the destruction of such inventory currently occurs by burning or scrapping them in landfills, which generates a lot of pollution.
Donating unsold products will also be cost-effective for sellers as earlier they had to bear the cost for the destruction of the products. Amazon charges 50 cents per product if it returns unsold inventory to sellers and charges 15 cents per product if it has to dispose of the product.
Amazon told CNBC on Wednesday, that it is working towards bringing the number of destroyed products down to zero.