Bezos pledges $10 billion to fight climate change

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Bezos pledges $10 billion to fight climate change

By Dan Berthiaume - 02/19/2020
Bezos Instagram post

The CEO of Amazon is dramatically stepping up his company’s monetary commitment to sustainability.

In a short Instagram post, Bezos announced the launch of the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund. The fund, which will begin issuing grants in summer 2020, is designed to support efforts aimed at combating global climate change. 

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet," Bezos said in the statement. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share. This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.”

Amazon has been engaged in a number of initiatives designed to minimize the etail giant’s impact on the environment. In February 2020, Amazon unveiled the design of a fleet of electric delivery vans it says will eliminate 4 million tons of carbon per year by 2030. The company also plans to use 100% renewable energy to power what will be its 4 million-sq.-ft. “HQ2” campus in Arlington, Va., and has joined The Climate Pledge to become net-zero carbon by 2040. To date, Amazon has launched 84 renewable energy projects that will provide over 2,000 MW of renewable capacity and are projected to deliver more than 5.5 million MWh of renewable energy annually.

Amazon has received criticism that its previous sustainability initiatives did not go far enough to help counteract climate change. A group of workers called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice have publicly called for the company to do more and up to 2,000 members staged walkouts from Amazon offices and facilities around the world in September 2019. In addition, environmental group Greenpeace issued a statement accusing Bezos of hypocrisy in his latest effort.

"It's hypocritical to announce that climate change is the biggest threat to our planet while at the same time boosting the fossil fuel industry by providing advanced computing technologies to the oil and gas industry so that it can discover and drill more oil, more efficiently,” Greenpeace said in the statement. “Amazon also still has work to do to ensure its growing network of data centers fully shifts away from fossil fuels, and the company must transparently report its energy use as Google and Apple do.”

The investigative journalism series "Frontline" ran an investigative piece on Bezos and Amazon, including the company’s working conditions, use of technology and general influence on the world, on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Bezos is considered the wealthiest person on Earth, with an estimated net worth of $130 billion.