The world’s richest man and owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has today announced the launch of a new $10bn fund to tackle climate change.
Writing on his Instagram, Bezos said:
“Today, I’m thrilled to announce I am launching the Bezos Earth Fund.
”Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. 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 organisations, and individuals.
”I’m committing $10bn to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common – let’s protect it, together.”
Like other large tech companies, Amazon has faced increasing pressure from both the public and its own workers to take bolder steps to address its impact on the environment.
In September, Bezos announced plans for the company to be completely powered by renewable energy by 2030 and have net zero carbon emissions by 2040. As part of the pledge, he said Amazon was ordering 100,000 electric delivery trucks from Rivian, a Michigan-based company that Amazon has invested in.
However, just one day later, more than 1,000 Amazon workers left their desks to join the Global Climate Strike, and further protesting against Amazon’s environmental policies, and again in January, 357 employees defied the company’s policies against publicly criticizing the company to protest at Amazon’s record on climate change, publishing their names and various criticisms in a Medium blog post. Bezos has also attracted criticism for his funding of the Blue Origin space programme, criticised for its carbon footprint.
Today’s move represents a significant step up and sees him pledge 8% of his personal fortune to tackle climate change. This should silence his critics, at least for now.