Saturday, June 15, 2024

Three ways Amazon supports regional revitalisation across Europe

Must read

The revitalisation of rural, post-industrial and suburban areas near major cities is a critical priority throughout Europe. Large companies like Amazon have a major role to play by creating jobs, driving the growth of local businesses and boosting local economies through salaries, tax contributions, and other operational and capital expenditures. Moreover, initiatives by private sector entities can serve as models for broader pan-European strategies aimed at breathing new life into these areas. 

Fred Pattje is the Regional Director of EU Central Operations at Amazon.

Amazon serves as a powerful engine of economic growth across Europe, breathing new life into communities through job creation, workforce upskilling and community investments. Several case studies highlight the tangible economic and social benefits brought about by Amazon’s presence in various European regions: 

Creating employment for those who need it most 

A study by Roland Berger underscores the transformative effect of Amazon’s presence in Augny, France. Our arrival presented a significant opportunity for a region historically impacted by job losses due to industrial closures and military reforms. Since its establishment in 2021, our fulfilment centre in Augny has become a major job provider, offering over 4,000 direct roles and making Amazon the leading private employer in the region. In addition to direct employment, our presence has driven the creation of more than 1,600 indirect and induced jobs, creating an economic ripple effect. It’s important to note that 60% of the people currently employed at this centre were previously long-term job seekers. 

Similarly, research conducted by NERA showcases the positive impact of our fulfilment centres in Illescas and the La Sagra region in Spain. Two centres established in 2019 and 2021 currently employ a total of 3,000 people, nearly half of whom are residents. The launch of our fulfilment centres has had a transformative effect on unemployment rates, leading to a 66% decrease in Illescas and a 35% decrease in the wider La Sagra region. The youth unemployment rate in the municipality has also dropped by almost 50%. 

Contributing to the growth of nearby businesses 

Research conducted by Nomisma sheds light on the economic resurgence several regions in Italy experienced following our investments. The opening of our fulfilment centre in Castelguglielmo-San Bellino in 2020 had a ripple effect on the surrounding province of Rovigo: businesses located within a 20-minute drive of this centre experienced a notable boost in commercial activity, with sales increasing by more than 20.4%, while those further away saw growth of less than 9%. Similarly, the opening of another centre in Passo Corese was followed by a 28% increase in turnover for nearby logistic companies; and the opening of a third centre in Vercelli stimulated economic activity in the surrounding region, with a 37% increase of the value of industrial properties. 

We also aim to favour local suppliers; for example, 86% of the operating expenses of our fulfilment centre in Augny are allocated to French suppliers. As a result, the transportation sector in the area saw an acceleration in the number of new businesses, with 39 created in the year following the opening of the site. 

Boosting the local economy through salaries, taxes, and other operational and capital expenditures 

In Illescas, Castilla La Mancha (Spain), the annual contribution of our fulfilment centres to the municipality’s economy is €84 million, of which €43 million directly impacts the economy through employee salaries and municipal taxes, and €41 million is indirectly generated through the supply chain ecosystem and the attraction of additional businesses to the area. In France, our site in Augny has generated more than €2.5 million in local tax revenue that benefits the city of Augny and the prefecture of Metz. 

As demonstrated by these case studies, Amazon’s presence is a catalyst for positive change, revitalizing regions and creating opportunities for sustainable prosperity. In that sense, I echo the words of several spokespeople from institutions and organizations with whom I shared a roundtable at Euractiv’s “Regional Revitalisation: The Transformative Power of Investment in Rural and Post-Industrial Areas Across Europe” event in Brussels. In the words of Patricia Franco Jiménez, Regional Minister of Economy, Businesses, and Employment of Castilla-La Mancha, the region where we have two major fulfilment centres, “Industrial and company projects have a strong impact, with a big capacity to generate economic activity and quality employment. Rural areas are ideal locations for these projects, because they offer clear opportunities such as land availability and direct access to green energy, which we must combine with a commitment to training and reskilling of individuals.” 

Philipp Lausberg, Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC), said “Regional revitalisation is vital for the EU to achieve its strategic goals, including the green and digital transitions, competitiveness, economic security, social cohesion and political stability. Better targeted public investment must lead the way for more private investment in regions to create quality jobs, innovation, and added value for the entire Union. Public investment should be more leveraged and better coordinated on the EU, national, and regional level to ensure an effective and coherent approach that balances EU strategic goals with local concerns.” 

Matteo Miglietta, Cohesion Alliance Manager at the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), added: “Together with the EU-wide coalition Cohesion Alliance, the European Committee of the Regions is sounding the alarm bell against the risk of having future EU investment policies that are disconnected from the real needs on the ground, leading to increasing inequalities. We need to stop thinking about industrial sectors as vertical silos and start thinking about the impact that major industrial transformations have on places and people.” 

We remain dedicated to fostering inclusive growth and driving economic transformation across European regions through proactive engagement and continued collaboration with local stakeholders. 

Subscribe now to our newsletter EU Elections Decoded

Latest article