Jeff Bezos pledges $10bn of his personal wealth to fight climate change

Jon Sharman

Jeff Bezos has announced that he plans to spend $10bn (£7.7bn) of his own fortune to help fight climate change.

Mr Bezos, the world’s richest man, said in an Instagram post that he would start giving grants this summer to scientists, activists and nonprofits working to protect the earth.

“I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change,” Mr Bezos said in the post.

Amazon, the company Mr Bezos runs, has an enormous carbon footprint. Last year, company officials said the they would work to have 100 per cent of its energy use come from solar panels and other renewable energy by 2030.

The online retailer relies on fossil fuels to power planes, trucks and vans in order to ship billions of items all around the world. Amazon workers in its Seattle headquarters have been vocal in criticizing some of the company’s practices, pushing it to do more to combat climate change.

Mr Bezos said in the post on Monday that he would call his new initiative the Bezos Earth Fund. An Amazon spokesman confirmed that Mr Bezos would use his own money for the fund.

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a pressure group, said it welcomed the move but wanted Mr Bezos to “stop helping oil and gas companies ravage Earth with still more oil and gas wells”.

In a statement, it added: “As history has taught us, true visionaries stand up against entrenched systems, often at great cost to themselves.

“When will Amazon take responsibility for the lungs of children near its warehouses by moving from diesel to all-electric trucking?

“Why did Amazon threaten to fire employees who were sounding the alarm about Amazon’s role in the climate crisis and our oil and gas business?”

The Independent has contacted Amazon for comment.

Despite being among the richest people in the world, Mr Bezos only recently became active in donating money to charitable causes as other billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have done.

In January he faced criticism after donating AU$1m to bolster the fight against devastating bush fires in Australia, which social media users said was “roughly the same amount as three women raised in 12 hours selling nudes on Twitter”.

In 2018, Mr Bezos started another fund, committing $2bn of his own money to open preschools in low-income neighbourhoods and give money to nonprofits that help homeless families.

The 56-year-old, who founded Amazon 25 years ago, has a stake in the company that is worth more than $100bn.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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