Multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, announced a $10 billion fund to invest in projects that will combat the alarming trend of climate change.
The Amazon founder and CEO announced the formation of the Bezos Earth Fund in an Instagram post Monday (Feb. 17). According to Bezos, the fund will begin issuing grants this summer to scientists, activists, and non-governmental organizations — “any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos wrote in the 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.”
Bezos added, “We can save Earth. It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals.”
In September 2019, Amazon announced that it was the first signatory to The Climate Pledge, a commitment by the retailing giant to be “net-zero carbon” by 2040, a decade ahead of the international climate-change Paris Agreement’s target of 2050. Under that pledge, Bezos said, Amazon plans to order 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian (in which Amazon has invested) that are scheduled to be in operation by 2024. Critics have charged, however, that Amazon’s push to provide free one-day shipping to its over 150 million Prime members threatens to boost greenhouse-gas emissions.
Bezos, 56, founded Amazon.com as an online bookstore in 1994. In 2013, he bought the Washington Post in a $250 million deal. He’s also the founder of space-aeronautics company Blue Origin and has invested in more than three dozen companies through Bezos Expeditions.
Currently, Bezos has a net worth of about $130 billion, per Forbes. Under his divorce settlement last year with ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos, she received 25% of the shares in Amazon that had been jointly held by the couple. MacKenzie Bezos pledged to donate at least half her wealth to charitable causes. So far Jeff Bezos has not signed on to the Giving Pledge aimed at high net-worth individuals.
In 2018, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced the $2 billion Bezos Day One Fund dedicated to helping homeless families and creating a not-for-profit network of preschools in low-income areas.
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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 organizations, and individuals. I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together. – Jeff