Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos announced the launch of a fund against climate change and to "preserve and protect the environment."
English version by Lara Gastaldi
"Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together": on his Instagram profile, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos announced the launch of the Bezos Earth Fund, a 10-billion-dollar fund to safeguard the ecosystem. On February 17th, Bezos announced that this initiative will involve scientists, activists, NGOs and everyone who can make a real contribution to the fight against climate change and its impact on the environment.
The fund’s start
Amazon has been moving towards new sustainability goals lately. The online retail giant has often been accused of contributing to the pollution of the planet, even by its own employees. Bezos, therefore, decided to approve the Climate Pledge, guaranteeing to use 100% renewable energy by 2030 and to become carbon-free by 2040. The purchase of 100,000 electric vehicles from Michigan is one of the planned actions. However, the Climate Pledge campaign has been judged unsatisfactory by many employees as, in their view, it does not include a solid and forward-looking commitment to CSR procedures.
How Bezos' Earth Fund will be used
At the moment, there are no details about the Earth Fund and its actual distribution. It must be said, however, that Bezos's plan makes him one of the largest individual donors in the United States for climate change-related issues. However, Bezos is not the only one that is committed about this huge problem: the Hewlett Foundation has set aside 600 million dollars in 2017 and the company continues to provide around 100 million dollars on climate projects every year. There are several hypotheses about how Bezos will actually use these funds. In his Instagram post, the entrepreneur refers to "scientists, activists, NGOs and any resource that offers a real opportunity to help preserve and protect the natural world."
Many experts have expressed their thoughts on the Bezos Earth Fund. The Guardian reported some of these interventions. For instance, some say that Bezos should invest this capital in a political fight against oil and gas lobbies. According to the collected data, these industries spend over 200 million dollars a year in advertising to prevent carbon taxes.
"At this point, I think that it is necessary addressing the fossil fuel industry - and any financial industry that supports it" affirms Bill McKibben – environmental activist and 350.org founder. For others, Bezos should invest in protecting natural areas such as the Amazon Forest. "Strengthening the Amazon and other forests are vital to stabilizing the climate," states Marcelo Salazar, member of the Brazilian environmental NGO Instituto Socioambiental. "When forests are ravaged by fires," Salazar continued, "are a huge source of emissions." Another proposal is using the Bezos Fund to experiment with new solutions which would require a truly enormous economic effort for governments.
Other solutions, such as the expansion of smart climate agriculture or wastewater treatment, may be less attractive, but they are “crucial in terms of reducing emissions and more resilience to the impacts of climate change," states Professor Dave Reay, Edinburgh Center for Carbon Innovation Executive Director. What is known from Bezos' Instagram post is that his action "will promote collective actions by large companies, small businesses, nation-states, global organizations and individuals to solve this crisis."