Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is the richest man in the world, announced in an Instagram post on Monday that he was donating $10 billion to combat climate change in a new initiative called the Bezos Earth Fund.
- “Today, I’m thrilled to announce I am launching the Bezos Earth Fund,” the Amazon chief executive wrote in his announcement post, while also committing $10 billion to start.
- Bezos said he will begin issuing grants this summer, and that the new global initiative will make charitable donations funding “scientists, activists NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”
- The new Earth Fund is Bezos’ largest philanthropic effort to date, though he’s previously been criticized for how little he donates to charity compared to other billionaires.
- Bezos isn’t exactly known for his past charitable efforts, but he’s more recently increased his giving with $2 billion in September 2018—aimed at helping homeless families and building a network of preschools.
- “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos said. “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 isn’t his first effort to take action against climate change: In September last year, amid pressure from employees, Bezos announced the Climate Pledge, in which he said Amazon would meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement and be carbon neutral by 2040.
Crucial quote: “Amazon took a bold step when it announced the Climate
Pledge, committing the company to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement ten years early, and we’re incredibly excited about the Bezos Earth Fund,” an Amazon spokesperson told Forbes. “Jeff’s passion and this extraordinary personal contribution to the fight against climate change are going to have a huge impact.”
“Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together,” Bezos wrote. “It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.”
Chief critic: Amazon and Bezos have faced criticism in the past over sustainability and climate change policies. Amazon, which delivers over an estimated 1 billion packages per year, has subsequently been criticized for having a huge environmental footprint. Less than 24 hours before over 1,000 Amazon employees were set to walk out in protest of the company’s environmental track record last September, Bezos announced the company’s “Climate Pledge.”