Donations are a crucial part of Amazon’s commitment to serve and support the communities in which we operate, and that includes donating essential surplus products to those who need them most. Thanks to an expansive network of brilliant charity partners and our teams around the country, Amazon product donations are benefitting people right across the UK.
In the last 12 months, Amazon has facilitated the donation of more than 15 million products to charities across the UK through our Retail and Fresh operations, as well as Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, a programme which helps independent selling partners using the Fulfilment by Amazon service donate their overstock or returned items automatically.
The process behind Amazon returns
At Amazon, we are committed to reselling, recycling and donating any unwanted products.
Every item returned to Amazon is carefully inspected through a rigorous process by our trained associates. If an item meets our high standards to be resold as new, it’s re-listed for sale. If items are unable to be resold, they could be donated to charities.
With households facing rising costs, charitable donation efforts have never been more important, and every product given a second life helps build a circular economy and reduces our impact on the planet.
We generate a huge amount of money through donations from Amazon and all of it goes back into supporting our children's services across the UK – it really makes such an impact.
Fulfilled by Amazon donations make the difference
Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) Donations is a programme that allows third-party sellers on Amazon to automatically donate surplus or unwanted stock to charity, by utilising Amazon’s network to remove logistical or financial barriers for seller donations.
“The programme is huge for us. The income we make from Amazon donations can be put to where it’s needed the most,” said Sonja Green, Head of Gifts in Kind (GIK) & Recycling at Barnardo’s. “For example, with this extra income we’ve been able to set up a helpline for people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine and coming over to the UK.”
Barnardo’s is the UK’s largest children’s charity and has been receiving product donations from Amazon fulfilment centres since 2019. The charity resells donated products across its 630 UK stores, using the profits to make a difference where its most needed – with funding from reselling donations, Barnardo’s works to transform the lives of vulnerable children in the UK.
This partnership has grown since it began in 2019, with Barnardo’s scaling up operations to match the increase in product donations.
“It used to be just myself and Sonja managing the partnership, but we’ve now grown to a team of six warehouse staff,” said Kerry Bannerman, a GIK Operations Manager, Barnardo’s. “We’re receiving Amazon product donations from five different fulfilment centres, which means we sometimes have four or five lorries delivering donations to us in a single week.”
The impact of Amazon’s product donations
Products sold directly by Amazon, ranging from toys, to homewares, to electronic equipment, are given a second life when unsold or returned by being rerouted into our extensive donations network. We work with Age UK, Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, and many more charities in the UK and across Europe, who resell donated products to raise vital additional funds for their respective causes.
Since 2009, Amazon has also partnered with In Kind Direct to help donate £9 million worth of products to thousands of grassroots charities across the UK, helping to battle homelessness, provide emergency relief, and more.
Through the partnership, our donations reached over 250,000 people every single week in 2021. This year, Amazon’s donation programmes are more important than ever, with In Kind Direct reporting that 84% of charities in their support network are being relied upon more heavily by local communities.
“Our teams work incredibly hard to ensure we’re giving products a second life wherever possible and we’re proud to reach this donation milestone, knowing that every single product we donate makes a vital difference to those in need" said Beth Knight, Amazon in the Community's Europe Lead. "Amazon is committed to building more links between our sites and the local communities surrounding them, maximising our positive impact in every way we can.”
Managing surplus food donations and eliminating food waste
Amazon’s long-term sustainability goals include net-zero waste across all operations and uplifting local communities in the process. This includes targeting a 50% reduction of food waste in operations by 2030 by re-routing surplus food products to local charities.
Mark Chew is a General Manager’s Assistant at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Manchester and has been working with partnered charity The Bread and Butter Thing to manage food donations in the region.
“We donate around 800 units every month alone from the fulfilment centre, which are then distributed across a number of community venues in the north-west. This includes Westy Community Centre in Warrington, where our managers have even visited to help with local food parcel distributions.”
“It’s rewarding and humbling to know that Amazon are supporting local communities and families with organisations like The Bread & Butter Thing – ensuring that surplus food goes to the people who need it the most.”
Helping families in need across Scotland
Amazon recently announced the expansion of a charity partnership which will help more than 50,000 families across Scotland. Working with a coalition of charities and local businesses, Amazon is donating essential goods to communities across Fife, Falkirk, Edinburgh and the Lothians in partnership with former Prime Minister Rt Hon Gordon Brown. First launched in January 2022, the project has provided more than 200,000 essential products to 33,000 families in need across Fife so far, and is now expanding to an additional 500 charities and organisations.
Read more about how Amazon resells, recycles or donates products.