来源 | 继民财经汇

亚马逊  CEO致股东信 2021(全文)

(中文翻译仅供参考,英文原文为准)


只有差异化才能生存,宇宙需要你与众不同


致我们的股东:

在亚马逊于1997年致股东的一封信中,我的第一封信中谈到了我们希望建立一个“经久不衰的特许经营权”的希望,这种特许经营将通过释放互联网的力量来重塑为客户服务的意义。我注意到亚马逊已经从拥有158名员工增长到614名,并且我们已经拥有超过150万个客户帐户。我们刚刚以拆分后的每股1.50美元的股价公开发行。我写道那是第一天。

自那时以来,我们已经走了很长一段路,并且我们比以往任何时候都更加努力地为客户服务并取悦他们。去年,我们雇用了500,000名员工,现在在全球范围内直接雇用130万人。我们在全球拥有超过2亿的Prime会员。我们的商店销售着超过190万家中小型企业,它们约占我们零售总额的60%。客户已将超过1亿个智能家居设备连接到Alexa。亚马逊网络服务为数百万客户提供服务,到2020年年底,年化运行率将达到500亿美元。在1997年,我们还没有发明Prime,Marketplace,Alexa或AWS。那时他们甚至都不是主意,也没有人命中注定。我们对每个人都冒着很大的风险,并为每个人付出了汗水和创造力。

在此过程中,我们为股东创造了1.6万亿美元的财富。他们是谁?您的主席是一位,而我在亚马逊的股份使我变得富有。但是其他人拥有超过七分之八的股份,代表1.4万亿美元的财富创造。他们是谁?他们是养老基金,大学和401(k)账户,是玛丽和拉里(Mary and Larry),他们像我坐下来写这封股东信时一样,突然发给我这张纸条:

一直有类似的故事与我接触。我知道有人用亚马逊的钱来上大学,紧急事件,房屋,度假,开办自己的生意,慈善事业–清单还在继续。我为我们为股东创造的财富感到自豪。这很重要,可以改善他们的生活。但是我还知道其他一些东西:这不是我们创造的价值的最大部分。

创造比您更多的消费

如果您想在业务上(实际上是在生活中)成功,那么您必须创造出更多的消费能力。您的目标应该是为与您互动的每个人创造价值。即使表面上看起来很成功,也没有为其所创造的价值创造价值的任何企业对于这个世界来说都不是长久的。它正在出路。

请记住,股价与过去无关。他们是对未来现金流量折现到现在的预测。股市预期。我将转瞬即逝,谈论过去。我们在2020年为股东创造了多少价值?这是一个相对容易回答的问题,因为已建立了会计系统来回答该问题。2020年,我们的净收入为213亿美元。如果亚马逊不是拥有数千名所有者的上市公司,而是拥有一个所有者的独资企业,那么这就是所有者在2020年的收入。

员工呢?这也是一个很容易回答的价值创造问题,因为我们可以看看补偿费用。公司的支出是雇员的收入。2020年,员工收入为800亿美元,另外还有110亿美元(包括福利和各种工资税),总计910亿美元。

第三方卖家呢?我们有一个内部团队(销售合作伙伴服务团队)来回答这个问题。他们估计,到2020年,第三方卖家在亚马逊上出售的利润在250亿美元至390亿美元之间,保守起见,我将拿250亿美元。

对于客户,我们必须将其细分为消费者客户和AWS客户。

我们先做消费者。我们提供低廉的价格,丰富的选择和快速的交货,但是想象一下,出于这一估计的目的,我们忽略了所有这些,仅重视一件事:我们节省了客户的时间。

客户在三分钟或更短的时间内完成了28%的购买,而所有购买的一半都在不到15分钟的时间内完成。将其与实体商店的典型购物之旅进行比较-开车,停车,搜索商店过道,在结帐线等候,找到您的汽车以及开车回家。研究表明,一般的实体店旅行大约需要一个小时。如果您假设一次典型的亚马逊购买需要15分钟,并且为您节省一周去实体店的几次旅行,那么每年可以节省75个小时以上。那很重要 我们都忙着在早期21日世纪。

为了获得一个美元的数字,我们将节省的时间定为每小时10美元,这很保守。75小时乘以每小时10美元,再减去Prime的成本,您为每个Prime会员创造的价值约为630美元。我们拥有2亿个Prime会员,到2020年创造的价值总额将达到1260亿美元。

AWS很难估算,因为每个客户的工作量是如此不同,但是无论如何我们还是会做到这一点,并且要先确认错误率很高。在云中运行与在本地运行相比,直接成本改善有所不同,但合理的估计是30%。到2020年AWS整个450亿美元的收入中,这30%意味着客户价值创造190亿美元(这将使他们花费640亿美元,而他们自己从AWS花费450亿美元)。此估算工作的难点在于,直接降低成本是迁移到云的客户利益的最小部分。更大的好处是软件开发速度的提高-可以显着提高客户的竞争力和收入。我们没有合理的方法来估算那部分客户价值,只能说它肯定比直接节省的成本要大。在这里保守一点(记住我们实际上只是在尝试获得估算值),我会说相同,并称2020年AWS客户价值创造380亿美元。

结合AWS和消费者,我们在2020年创造的客户总价值将达到1640亿美元。

总结:
股东      $ 21B
雇员      $ 91B 
3P卖方  $ 25B
客户      
$ 164B
总计      $ 301B

如果每个小组都有代表他们与亚马逊互动的损益表,那么上面的数字将是这些损益表中的“底线”。这些数字是人们为我们工作,卖家通过我们出售商品以及客户向我们购买商品的原因之一。我们为他们创造价值。这个价值创造不是零和游戏。这不仅仅是将钱从一个口袋转移到另一个口袋。在整个社会大放异彩,您会发现发明是所有真正价值创造的根源。最好将创造的价值视为创新的指标。

当然,我们与这些选区的关系以及我们创造的价值并不仅限于美元和美分。金钱并不能说明一切。例如,我们与股东的关系相对简单。他们在选择的期间内投资并持有股票。我们很少为股东提供指导,例如年度会议和投票表决股份的正确程序。即使这样,他们也可以忽略这些指示,而只跳过投票。

我们与员工的关系是一个非常不同的例子。我们有他们遵循的流程和达到的标准。我们需要培训和各种认证。员工必须在指定的时间出现。我们与员工的互动很多,而且它们的粒度很细。这不仅仅是工资和福利。关系的所有其他详细方面也是如此。

您的主席对贝塞默尔最近的工会投票结果感到安心吗?不,他没有。我认为我们需要为员工做得更好。尽管投票结果不平衡,而且我们与员工的直接关系牢固,但对我而言,很明显,我们需要对如何为员工创造价值拥有更好的愿景,即为员工取得成功的愿景。

如果您阅读了一些新闻报道,您可能会认为我们不在乎员工。在这些报告中,我们的员工有时被指责为绝望的灵魂,被视为机器人。那是不正确的。他们是精明周到的人,可以选择在哪里工作。当我们对履行中心员工进行调查时,有94%的人说他们会推荐亚马逊给朋友作为工作场所。

员工可以在轮班期间进行非正式休息,以舒展,喝水,使用休息室或与经理交谈,而这些都不会影响他们的绩效。这些非正式工作休息时间是正常计划中的30分钟午餐和30分钟休息时间。

我们没有设定不合理的性能目标。我们设置了可实现的绩效目标,其中要考虑任期和实际员工绩效数据。我们会在很长一段时间内对性能进行评估,因为我们知道,在任何给定的星期,天或小时,各种因素都会影响性能。如果员工在一段时间内无法达到绩效目标,则他们的经理会与他们交谈并提供指导。

培训还扩展到了表现出色并愿意承担更多责任的员工。实际上,82%的教练是积极的,提供给达到或超过期望的员工。由于无法完成工作,我们终止了不到2.6%的雇员的雇佣(由于COVID-19的运营影响,该数字在2020年甚至更低)。

地球最佳雇主和地球最安全的工作场所

事实是,领导亚马逊运营的数千人的大型团队一直深切关心我们的小时工,我们为我们创造的工作环境感到自豪。我们还为亚马逊是一家不仅为计算机科学家和具有高学历的人创造工作而做的公司而感到自豪的事实。我们为从未获得这种优势的人们创造就业机会。

尽管我们已经取得了成就,但对我来说很明显,我们需要对员工的成功有一个更好的愿景。我们一直希望成为地球上以客户为中心的公司。我们不会改变这一点。这就是让我们来到这里的原因。但我承诺我们要增加一个。我们将成为地球上最好的雇主和地球上最安全的工作场所。

在我即将担任执行主席一职时,我将专注于新计划。我是发明家。这是我最喜欢的,也是我最擅长的。这是我创造最大价值的地方。我很高兴与我们在Ops中拥有热情的大团队一起工作,并帮助在这个地球上最佳雇主和地球上最安全的工作场所的舞台上进行发明。在细节上,我们在亚马逊上总是很灵活,但就眼光而言,我们固执己见。当我们下定决心时,我们从未失败过,我们也不会因此而失败。

我们深入探讨安全问题。例如,亚马逊约40%的与工作有关的伤害与肌肉骨骼疾病(MSD)有关,例如重复运动可能引起的扭伤或拉伤。MSD在我们所做的工作中很常见,并且更可能在员工的头六个月内发生。我们需要发明解决方案以减少新员工的MSD,其中许多人可能是第一次担任物理角色。

这样的计划之一就是WorkingWell,该计划于2020年在北美和欧洲的350个地点向859,000名员工开展了培训-我们在此为小批员工提供身体力学,积极健康和安全方面的指导。除了减少工作场所的伤害外,这些概念对工作以外的日常日常活动也有积极的影响。

我们正在开发新的自动化人员安排表,该表使用复杂的算法在不同肌腱组之间的工作中轮换员工,以减少重复运动并帮助保护员工免受MSD风险。这项新技术对于我们将在2021年推出的职位轮换计划至关重要。

我们对早期MSD预防的更多关注已经取得了成果。从2019年到2020年,总体MSD减少了32%,导致工作时间减少的MSD减少了一半以上。

我们在亚马逊雇用了6,200名安全专业人员。他们使用安全科学来解决复杂的问题并建立新的行业最佳实践。在2021年,我们将在安全项目上投资超过3亿美元,其中包括最初的6600万美元,用于创建有助于防止叉车和其他类型的工业车辆碰撞的技术。

当我们领导时,其他人也会跟随。两年半前,当我们为小时工设置最低工资15美元时,我们之所以这样做,是因为我们想领导工资–不仅仅是随身携带,而且因为我们认为这样做是正确的。加利福尼亚大学伯克利分校和布兰代斯大学的经济学家最近发表的一篇论文,分析了我们将最低起薪提高到每小时15美元的决定的影响。他们的评估反映了我们从员工,他们的家人以及他们所居住的社区中听到的信息。

我们的起薪增加不仅使我们自己的员工而且使同一社区的其他工人受益,从而推动了全国各地的经济发展。研究表明,我们的加薪导致同一劳动力市场上其他雇主的平均小时工资增长了4.7%。

而且我们还没有做好领导工作。如果我们想成为地球的最佳雇主,我们就不应满足94%的员工所说的那样,他们会把亚马逊推荐给朋友作为工作场所。我们必须以100%为目标。为此,我们将继续领导工资,福利,技能提升机会,并以其他方式逐步解决。

如果有任何股东担心地球的最佳雇主和地球的最安全的工作场所可能会削弱我们对地球最大的以客户为中心的公司的关注,那么让我放心吧。这样想吧。如果我们可以运营与消费者电子商务和AWS不同的两个业务,并且都在最高水平上开展业务,那么我们当然可以对这两个愿景声明进行相同的处理。实际上,我有信心他们会互相加强。

气候承诺

在这封信的较早草稿中,我以论点和示例开始本节,这些论点和示例旨在证明人为引起的气候变化是真实的。但是,坦率地说,我认为我们现在就可以停止这样说了。您不必说光合作用是真实的,也不必说重力是真实的,也不必说水在海平面上沸腾100摄氏度。这些事情都是真实的,气候变化的现实也是如此。

不久前,大多数人认为应对气候变化将是一件好事,但他们也认为这将花费很多,并威胁到工作,竞争力和经济增长。现在我们知道了。针对气候变化采取的明智行动不仅可以阻止不良事件的发生,还将使我们的经济更加高效,有助于推动技术变革并降低风险。这些因素加在一起,可以带来更多,更好的工作,更健康,更快乐的孩子,更多的生产工人以及更繁荣的未来。这并不意味着会很容易。不会的 未来十年将是决定性的。2030年的经济将需要与今天的经济大不相同,亚马逊计划成为这一变化的核心。我们于2019年9月与全球乐观主义者一起发起了《气候承诺》,因为我们希望帮助推动这一积极的革命。我们需要成为一个不断成长的公司团队的一员,他们了解21国的必要性和机遇圣世纪。

不到两年后的今天,代表几乎所有经济领域的53家公司签署了《气候承诺》。百思买,IBM,Infosys,梅赛德斯·奔驰,微软,西门子和Verizon等签署方承诺到2040年在其全球业务中实现零碳排放,比《巴黎协定》提前十年。该承诺还要求他们定期测量和报告温室气体排放;通过实际的业务变化和创新来实施脱碳策略;并通过额外的,可量化的,真实的,永久的和对社会有益的补偿来抵消任何剩余的排放量。可靠的质量补偿非常珍贵,我们应该保留它们,以补偿不存在低碳替代品的经济活动。

气候承诺的签署方正在做出有意义,切实和雄心勃勃的承诺。Uber的目标是到2030年成为加拿大,欧洲和美国的零排放平台,汉高计划将其用于生产的100%的电力来自可再生能源。亚马逊正在朝着2025年实现100%可再生能源的目标迈进,比我们最初的2030年目标提前了五年。亚马逊是全球最大的可再生能源企业买家。我们在全球的配送中心和分拣中心拥有62个公用事业规模的风能和太阳能项目,以及125个太阳能屋顶。这些项目的发电能力超过6.9吉瓦,每年发电量超过2000万兆瓦时。

交通运输是亚马逊业务运营的主要组成部分,也是我们计划到2040年实现零碳净排放计划中最难的部分。为帮助迅速加速电动汽车技术市场,并帮助所有公司向绿色技术过渡,我们投入了超过向Rivian投资10亿美元,并从该公司订购了100,000辆电动送货车。我们还与印度的Mahindra和欧洲的Mercedes-Benz合作。这些来自Rivian的定制电动送货车已经投入使用,并于今年2月首次登陆洛杉矶。明年年初将有10,000辆新车上路,到2030年,所有100,000辆车将上路-节省数百万公吨的碳。我们希望公司加入“气候承诺”的一个重要原因是向市场发出信号,表明企业应该开始发明和开发签名者必须兑现的新技术。我们购买了100,000辆Rivian电动货车就是一个很好的例子。

为了进一步加快对建立零碳经济所需的新技术的投资,我们于去年6月推出了气候承诺基金。该投资计划从20亿美元开始,投资于有远见的公司,这些公司旨在促进向低碳经济的过渡。亚马逊已经宣布对CarbonCure Technologies,Pachama,Redwood Materials,Rivian,Turntide Technologies,ZeroAvia和Infinium进行投资,这些只是我们希望将建立未来零碳经济的一些创新公司。

我还亲自拨出了100亿美元,以提供赠款,以促进我们在未来十年中将需要的系统性变革。我们将支持领先的科学家,活动家,非政府组织,环境正义组织以及其他致力于应对气候变化和保护自然世界的人。去年下半年,我向致力于创新和针头移动解决方案的16个组织提供了第一轮资助。大公司,小公司,民族国家,全球组织和个人将采取集体行动,我很高兴能参与这一旅程,并为人类能够团结起来解决这一挑战感到高兴。

生存就是要差异化,宇宙需要你成与众不同


这是我作为亚马逊首席执行官的最后一次年度股东来信,而我有最后的重要性,我感到必须去教。我希望所有亚马逊人都牢记在心。

这是理查德·道金斯(Richard Dawkins)(非凡)的《盲人钟表匠》一书的一段。这是关于生物学的基本事实。

“避免死亡是您必须要做的事情。留给自己-死后就是如此-身体趋于恢复到与其环境平衡的状态。如果您测量一些量,例如温度,酸度,水含量或生物体内的电势,通常会发现它与周围的相应测量值明显不同。例如,我们的身体通常比周围环境更热,在寒冷的气候中,他们必须努力工作以保持差异。当我们死亡时,工作停止了,温差开始消失,最终温度与周围环境相同。并非所有的动物都如此努力地工作以免使其与周围的温度达到平衡,但是所有的动物都做了一些类似的工作。例如,在干旱的国家,动植物努力维持其细胞的液体含量,抵抗水从自然流向干燥的外部世界的自然趋势。如果他们失败了,他们就会死。更普遍地说,如果生物不积极地采取行动来阻止生物,则它们最终将融入周围环境,并不再以自治生物的形式存在。他们死后就是这样。”


尽管这段文字并非旨在作为一个隐喻,但它确实是一个了不起的故事,与亚马逊非常相关。我认为这与所有公司和所有机构以及我们每个人的生活都息息相关。为了以一种正常的方式,世界会以何种方式向您袭来?保持您的个性需要多少工作?要让一个或多个让您与众不同的东西活着?

我认识一对幸福的夫妻,他们之间的关系开玩笑。丈夫很少会假装看着妻子,对她说:“你能正常吗?” 他们都笑着笑,当然,深层的事实是,她的与众不同是他对她的爱。但是,与此同时,如果我们再正常一点,事情通常会变得更容易-消耗更少的能量,这也是事实。

这种现象发生在所有规模的水平。民主国家是不正常的。暴政是历史规范。如果我们停止为维持我们在这方面的独特性而进行的所有持续的艰苦工作,我们将很快与暴政达到平衡。

我们都知道,独特性-独创性-是有价值的。我们都被教导要“做自己”。我真正要你做的就是拥抱并保持现实,保持这种独特性需要多少精力。世界希望您成为典型人物-一千种方式吸引着您。不要让它发生。

您必须为自己的独特性付出代价,这是值得的。童话版本的“做你自己”是,一旦你让自己的与众不同,所有的痛苦就停止了。该版本具有误导性。做自己是值得的,但不要指望它容易或自由。您必须不断地投入能量。

世界将始终努力使亚马逊变得更加典型-使我们与环境保持平衡。这将需要不断的努力,但是我们可以而且必须比这更好。

* * *

与往常一样,我附上我们1997年的股东函。它的结论是:“我们在Amazon.com感谢客户的业务和信任,感谢彼此的辛勤工作,感谢股东的支持和鼓励。” 并没有改变。我要特别感谢Andy Jassy同意担任首席执行官一职。这是一项艰巨的工作,要承担很多责任。安迪(Andy)才华横溢,并拥有最高标准。我向你保证,安迪不会让宇宙让我们与众不同。他将聚集维持我们生命所需的能量,这使我们与众不同。那并不容易,但这很关键。我还预测它会令人满意并且经常很有趣。谢谢你,安迪。

对你们所有人:善良,创新,创造出超出您的消费能力的价值,永远不要让宇宙让您适应周围的环境。它仍然是第一天。

真挚地,

Jeffrey P. Bezos亚马逊公司
创始人兼首席执行官


To our shareowners:

In Amazon’s 1997 letter to shareholders, our first, I talked about our hope to create an “enduring franchise,” one that would reinvent what it means to serve customers by unlocking the internet’s power. I noted that Amazon had grown from having 158 employees to 614, and that we had surpassed 1.5 million customer accounts. We had just gone public at a split-adjusted stock price of $1.50 per share. I wrote that it was Day 1.

We’ve come a long way since then, and we are working harder than ever to serve and delight customers. Last year, we hired 500,000 employees and now directly employ 1.3 million people around the world. We have more than 200 million Prime members worldwide. More than 1.9 million small and medium-sized businesses sell in our store, and they make up close to 60% of our retail sales. Customers have connected more than 100 million smart home devices to Alexa. Amazon Web Services serves millions of customers and ended 2020 with a $50 billion annualized run rate. In 1997, we hadn’t invented Prime, Marketplace, Alexa, or AWS. They weren’t even ideas then, and none was preordained. We took great risk with each one and put sweat and ingenuity into each one.

Along the way, we’ve created $1.6 trillion of wealth for shareowners. Who are they? Your Chair is one, and my Amazon shares have made me wealthy. But more than 7/8ths of the shares, representing $1.4 trillion of wealth creation, are owned by others. Who are they? They’re pension funds, universities, and 401(k)s, and they’re Mary and Larry, who sent me this note out of the blue just as I was sitting down to write this shareholder letter:

I am approached with similar stories all the time. I know people who’ve used their Amazon money for college, for emergencies, for houses, for vacations, to start their own business, for charity – and the list goes on. I’m proud of the wealth we’ve created for shareowners. It’s significant, and it improves their lives. But I also know something else: it’s not the largest part of the value we’ve created.

Create More Than You Consume

If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.

Remember that stock prices are not about the past. They are a prediction of future cash flows discounted back to the present. The stock market anticipates. I’m going to switch gears for a moment and talk about the past. How much value did we create for shareowners in 2020? This is a relatively easy question to answer because accounting systems are set up to answer it. Our net income in 2020 was $21.3 billion. If, instead of being a publicly traded company with thousands of owners, Amazon were a sole proprietorship with a single owner, that’s how much the owner would have earned in 2020.

How about employees? This is also a reasonably easy value creation question to answer because we can look at compensation expense. What is an expense for a company is income for employees. In 2020, employees earned $80 billion, plus another $11 billion to include benefits and various payroll taxes, for a total of $91 billion.

How about third-party sellers? We have an internal team (the Selling Partner Services team) that works to answer that question. They estimate that, in 2020, third-party seller profits from selling on Amazon were between $25 billion and $39 billion, and to be conservative here I’ll go with $25 billion.

For customers, we have to break it down into consumer customers and AWS customers.

We’ll do consumers first. We offer low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery, but imagine we ignore all of that for the purpose of this estimate and value only one thing: we save customers time.

Customers complete 28% of purchases on Amazon in three minutes or less, and half of all purchases are finished in less than 15 minutes. Compare that to the typical shopping trip to a physical store – driving, parking, searching store aisles, waiting in the checkout line, finding your car, and driving home. Research suggests the typical physical store trip takes about an hour. If you assume that a typical Amazon purchase takes 15 minutes and that it saves you a couple of trips to a physical store a week, that’s more than 75 hours a year saved. That’s important. We’re all busy in the early 21st century.

So that we can get a dollar figure, let’s value the time savings at $10 per hour, which is conservative. Seventy-five hours multiplied by $10 an hour and subtracting the cost of Prime gives you value creation for each Prime member of about $630. We have 200 million Prime members, for a total in 2020 of $126 billion of value creation.

AWS is challenging to estimate because each customer’s workload is so different, but we’ll do it anyway, acknowledging up front that the error bars are high. Direct cost improvements from operating in the cloud versus on premises vary, but a reasonable estimate is 30%. Across AWS’s entire 2020 revenue of $45 billion, that 30% would imply customer value creation of $19 billion (what would have cost them $64 billion on their own cost $45 billion from AWS). The difficult part of this estimation exercise is that the direct cost reduction is the smallest portion of the customer benefit of moving to the cloud. The bigger benefit is the increased speed of software development – something that can significantly improve the customer’s competitiveness and top line. We have no reasonable way of estimating that portion of customer value except to say that it’s almost certainly larger than the direct cost savings. To be conservative here (and remembering we’re really only trying to get ballpark estimates), I’ll say it’s the same and call AWS customer value creation $38 billion in 2020.

Adding AWS and consumer together gives us total customer value creation in 2020 of $164 billion.

Summarizing:
Shareholders      $21B
Employees          $91B
3P Sellers            $25B
Customers         
 $164B
Total                   $301B

If each group had an income statement representing their interactions with Amazon, the numbers above would be the “bottom lines” from those income statements. These numbers are part of the reason why people work for us, why sellers sell through us, and why customers buy from us. We create value for them. And this value creation is not a zero-sum game. It is not just moving money from one pocket to another. Draw the box big around all of society, and you’ll find that invention is the root of all real value creation. And value created is best thought of as a metric for innovation.

Of course, our relationship with these constituencies and the value we create isn’t exclusively dollars and cents. Money doesn’t tell the whole story. Our relationship with shareholders, for example, is relatively simple. They invest and hold shares for a duration of their choosing. We provide direction to shareowners infrequently on matters such as annual meetings and the right process to vote their shares. And even then they can ignore those directions and just skip voting.

Our relationship with employees is a very different example. We have processes they follow and standards they meet. We require training and various certifications. Employees have to show up at appointed times. Our interactions with employees are many, and they’re fine-grained. It’s not just about the pay and the benefits. It’s about all the other detailed aspects of the relationship too.

Does your Chair take comfort in the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t. I think we need to do a better job for our employees. While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees – a vision for their success.

If you read some of the news reports, you might think we have no care for employees. In those reports, our employees are sometimes accused of being desperate souls and treated as robots. That’s not accurate. They’re sophisticated and thoughtful people who have options for where to work. When we survey fulfillment center employees, 94% say they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work.

Employees are able to take informal breaks throughout their shifts to stretch, get water, use the rest room, or talk to a manager, all without impacting their performance. These informal work breaks are in addition to the 30-minute lunch and 30-minute break built into their normal schedule.

We don’t set unreasonable performance goals. We set achievable performance goals that take into account tenure and actual employee performance data. Performance is evaluated over a long period of time as we know that a variety of things can impact performance in any given week, day, or hour. If employees are on track to miss a performance target over a period of time, their manager talks with them and provides coaching.

Coaching is also extended to employees who are excelling and in line for increased responsibilities. In fact, 82% of coaching is positive, provided to employees who are meeting or exceeding expectations. We terminate the employment of less than 2.6% of employees due to their inability to perform their jobs (and that number was even lower in 2020 because of operational impacts of COVID-19).

Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work

The fact is, the large team of thousands of people who lead operations at Amazon have always cared deeply for our hourly employees, and we’re proud of the work environment we’ve created. We’re also proud of the fact that Amazon is a company that does more than just create jobs for computer scientists and people with advanced degrees. We create jobs for people who never got that advantage.

Despite what we’ve accomplished, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for our employees’ success. We have always wanted to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company. We won’t change that. It’s what got us here. But I am committing us to an addition. We are going to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.

In my upcoming role as Executive Chair, I’m going to focus on new initiatives. I’m an inventor. It’s what I enjoy the most and what I do best. It’s where I create the most value. I’m excited to work alongside the large team of passionate people we have in Ops and help invent in this arena of Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. On the details, we at Amazon are always flexible, but on matters of vision we are stubborn and relentless. We have never failed when we set our minds to something, and we’re not going to fail at this either.

We dive deep into safety issues. For example, about 40% of work-related injuries at Amazon are related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), things like sprains or strains that can be caused by repetitive motions. MSDs are common in the type of work that we do and are more likely to occur during an employee’s first six months. We need to invent solutions to reduce MSDs for new employees, many of whom might be working in a physical role for the first time.

One such program is WorkingWell – which we launched to 859,000 employees at 350 sites across North America and Europe in 2020 – where we coach small groups of employees on body mechanics, proactive wellness, and safety. In addition to reducing workplace injuries, these concepts have a positive impact on regular day-to-day activities outside work.

We’re developing new automated staffing schedules that use sophisticated algorithms to rotate employees among jobs that use different muscle-tendon groups to decrease repetitive motion and help protect employees from MSD risks. This new technology is central to a job rotation program that we’re rolling out throughout 2021.

Our increased attention to early MSD prevention is already achieving results. From 2019 to 2020, overall MSDs decreased by 32%, and MSDs resulting in time away from work decreased by more than half.

We employ 6,200 safety professionals at Amazon. They use the science of safety to solve complex problems and establish new industry best practices. In 2021, we’ll invest more than $300 million into safety projects, including an initial $66 million to create technology that will help prevent collisions of forklifts and other types of industrial vehicles.

When we lead, others follow. Two and a half years ago, when we set a $15 minimum wage for our hourly employees, we did so because we wanted to lead on wages – not just run with the pack – and because we believed it was the right thing to do. A recent paper by economists at the University of California-Berkeley and Brandeis University analyzed the impact of our decision to raise our minimum starting pay to $15 per hour. Their assessment reflects what we’ve heard from employees, their families, and the communities they live in.

Our increase in starting wage boosted local economies across the country by benefiting not only our own employees but also other workers in the same community. The study showed that our pay raise resulted in a 4.7% increase in the average hourly wage among other employers in the same labor market.

And we’re not done leading. If we want to be Earth’s Best Employer, we shouldn’t settle for 94% of employees saying they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work. We have to aim for 100%. And we’ll do that by continuing to lead on wages, on benefits, on upskilling opportunities, and in other ways that we will figure out over time.

If any shareowners are concerned that Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work might dilute our focus on Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, let me set your mind at ease. Think of it this way. If we can operate two businesses as different as consumer ecommerce and AWS, and do both at the highest level, we can certainly do the same with these two vision statements. In fact, I’m confident they will reinforce each other.

The Climate Pledge

In an earlier draft of this letter, I started this section with arguments and examples designed to demonstrate that human-induced climate change is real. But, bluntly, I think we can stop saying that now. You don’t have to say that photosynthesis is real, or make the case that gravity is real, or that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level. These things are simply true, as is the reality of climate change.

Not long ago, most people believed that it would be good to address climate change, but they also thought it would cost a lot and would threaten jobs, competitiveness, and economic growth. We now know better. Smart action on climate change will not only stop bad things from happening, it will also make our economy more efficient, help drive technological change, and reduce risks. Combined, these can lead to more and better jobs, healthier and happier children, more productive workers, and a more prosperous future. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. It won’t be. The coming decade will be decisive. The economy in 2030 will need to be vastly different from what it is today, and Amazon plans to be at the heart of the change. We launched The Climate Pledge together with Global Optimism in September 2019 because we wanted to help drive this positive revolution. We need to be part of a growing team of corporations that understand the imperatives and the opportunities of the 21stcentury.

Now, less than two years later, 53 companies representing almost every sector of the economy have signed The Climate Pledge. Signatories such as Best Buy, IBM, Infosys, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Siemens, and Verizon have committed to achieve net-zero carbon in their worldwide businesses by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. The Pledge also requires them to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis; implement decarbonization strategies through real business changes and innovations; and neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially beneficial offsets. Credible, quality offsets are precious, and we should reserve them to compensate for economic activities where low-carbon alternatives don’t exist.

The Climate Pledge signatories are making meaningful, tangible, and ambitious commitments. Uber has a goal of operating as a zero-emission platform in Canada, Europe, and the U.S. by 2030, and Henkel plans to source 100% of the electricity it uses for production from renewable sources. Amazon is making progress toward our own goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of our initial 2030 target. Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. We have 62 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 125 solar rooftops on fulfillment and sort centers around the globe. These projects have the capacity to generate over 6.9 gigawatts and deliver more than 20 million megawatt-hours of energy annually.

Transportation is a major component of Amazon’s business operations and the toughest part of our plan to meet net-zero carbon by 2040. To help rapidly accelerate the market for electric vehicle technology, and to help all companies transition to greener technologies, we invested more than $1 billion in Rivian – and ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from the company. We’ve also partnered with Mahindra in India and Mercedes-Benz in Europe. These custom electric delivery vehicles from Rivian are already operational, and they first hit the road in Los Angeles this past February. Ten thousand new vehicles will be on the road as early as next year, and all 100,000 vehicles will be on the road by 2030 – saving millions of metric tons of carbon. A big reason we want companies to join The Climate Pledge is to signal to the marketplace that businesses should start inventing and developing new technologies that signatories need to make good on the Pledge. Our purchase of 100,000 Rivian electric vans is a perfect example.

To further accelerate investment in new technologies needed to build a zero-carbon economy, we introduced the Climate Pledge Fund last June. The investment program started with $2 billion to invest in visionary companies that aim to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Amazon has already announced investments in CarbonCure Technologies, Pachama, Redwood Materials, Rivian, Turntide Technologies, ZeroAvia, and Infinium – and these are just some of the innovative companies we hope will build the zero-carbon economy of the future.

I have also personally allocated $10 billion to provide grants to help catalyze the systemic change we will need in the coming decade. We’ll be supporting leading scientists, activists, NGOs, environmental justice organizations, and others working to fight climate change and protect the natural world. Late last year, I made my first round of grants to 16 organizations working on innovative and needle-moving solutions. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals, and I’m excited to be part of this journey and optimistic that humanity can come together to solve this challenge.

Differentiation is Survival and the Universe Wants You to be Typical

This is my last annual shareholder letter as the CEO of Amazon, and I have one last thing of utmost importance I feel compelled to teach. I hope all Amazonians take it to heart.

Here is a passage from Richard Dawkins’ (extraordinary) book The Blind Watchmaker. It’s about a basic fact of biology.

“Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at. Left to itself – and that is what it is when it dies – the body tends to revert to a state of equilibrium with its environment. If you measure some quantity such as the temperature, the acidity, the water content or the electrical potential in a living body, you will typically find that it is markedly different from the corresponding measure in the surroundings. Our bodies, for instance, are usually hotter than our surroundings, and in cold climates they have to work hard to maintain the differential. When we die the work stops, the temperature differential starts to disappear, and we end up the same temperature as our surroundings. Not all animals work so hard to avoid coming into equilibrium with their surrounding temperature, but all animals do some comparable work. For instance, in a dry country, animals and plants work to maintain the fluid content of their cells, work against a natural tendency for water to flow from them into the dry outside world. If they fail they die. More generally, if living things didn’t work actively to prevent it, they would eventually merge into their surroundings, and cease to exist as autonomous beings. That is what happens when they die.”



While the passage is not intended as a metaphor, it’s nevertheless a fantastic one, and very relevant to Amazon. I would argue that it’s relevant to all companies and all institutions and to each of our individual lives too. In what ways does the world pull at you in an attempt to make you normal? How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness? To keep alive the thing or things that make you special?

I know a happily married couple who have a running joke in their relationship. Not infrequently, the husband looks at the wife with faux distress and says to her, “Can’t you just be normal?” They both smile and laugh, and of course the deep truth is that her distinctiveness is something he loves about her. But, at the same time, it’s also true that things would often be easier – take less energy – if we were a little more normal.

This phenomenon happens at all scale levels. Democracies are not normal. Tyranny is the historical norm. If we stopped doing all of the continuous hard work that is needed to maintain our distinctiveness in that regard, we would quickly come into equilibrium with tyranny.

We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable. We are all taught to “be yourself.” What I’m really asking you to do is to embrace and be realistic about how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen.

You have to pay a price for your distinctiveness, and it’s worth it. The fairy tale version of “be yourself” is that all the pain stops as soon as you allow your distinctiveness to shine. That version is misleading. Being yourself is worth it, but don’t expect it to be easy or free. You’ll have to put energy into it continuously.

The world will always try to make Amazon more typical – to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that.

* * *

As always, I attach our 1997 shareholder letter. It concluded with this: “We at Amazon.com are grateful to our customers for their business and trust, to each other for our hard work, and to our shareholders for their support and encouragement.” That hasn’t changed a bit. I want to especially thank Andy Jassy for agreeing to take on the CEO role. It’s a hard job with a lot of responsibility. Andy is brilliant and has the highest of high standards. I guarantee you that Andy won’t let the universe make us typical. He will muster the energy needed to keep alive in us what makes us special. That won’t be easy, but it is critical. I also predict it will be satisfying and oftentimes fun. Thank you, Andy.

To all of you: be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings. It remains Day 1.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Amazon.com, Inc.


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