Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, world's richest man, pledges US$10 billion to fight climate change


Facing pressure from activists and his own employees, the Bezos Earth Fund will support scientists, activists and non-profit groups

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at an event in Washington in October.

Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, announced on Monday that he will commit US$10 billion to fund scientists, activists, non-profit organisations and other groups fighting to protect the environment and counter the effects of climate change.

Bezos, the world’s richest man, is among a growing list of billionaires to dedicate substantial funds towards combating the impact of global warming.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos said in an Instagram post. “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.”

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The Bezos Earth Fund will begin issuing grants this summer as part of the initiative.

“It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organisations, and individuals,” Bezos said.

Counteracting climate change has become a popular cause for US billionaires in recent years, with Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer counted among the world’s wealthiest environmental philanthropists. ⁣⁣⁣

In this Sept. 20, 2019 photo, Amazon workers gathered in front of the Spheres, participating in the climate strike in Seattle.
Photo: AP

Last year, Bezos pledged to make online retailer Amazon net carbon neutral by 2040 – the first major corporation to announce such a goal – and to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from US vehicle design and manufacturing start-up Rivian Automotive.

Bezos also said at the time that Amazon would meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years ahead of the accord’s schedule and invest US$100 million to restore forests and wetlands.

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Cutting emissions related to Amazon, which delivers 10 billion items a year and has a massive transport and data centre footprint, will be challenging.

The company has faced recent protests by environmental activists in France and rising pressure from its own employees to take action on climate change.