This past Monday, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and the world’s richest man said that he was committing $10 billion to a new initiative called the Bezos Earth Fund targeted to address the climate crisis. Mr. Bezos said in a post to his instagram page that the effort will fund scientist, activist and nongovernmental organizations and is expected to start issuing grants this upcoming summer. Mr. Bezos’s past has consisted of a little bit of philanthropy. With a net worth of $130 billion, he has focused on the growth of Amazon and other private ventures including Blue Origin, which makes rockets. But lately his largest donation was $2 billion in September 2018 to help homeless families and build a network of preschools.
Bezos comments that “climate change is the biggest threat to our planet” and his goal is 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 interest in climate change sparked in September when Mr. Bezos unveiled the Climate Pledge, commiting Amazon to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years ahead of schedule and to be carbon neutral by 2040. In part with this effort, Mr. Bezos said Amazon was ordering 100,00 electric delivery trucks from Rivian, a Michigan-based company that Amazon has invested in.
Part of this move for change is thanks to Amazon employees. For a year, Amazon workers advocated for the company to be more aggressive in its climate goals, from staging walkouts to expanding the conversation to the public on how the company could do better. This connects directly to the Global Corporate Citizenship course because it highlights internal stakeholders, in this case the employees and their contribution to Amazon becoming a more environmentally conscious corporation.
Although the details of the Bezos Earth Fund are still rudimentary and do not directly address any aims or priorities it is still a step in the right direction in my opinion. Not only will Bezos’s direct contribution be greatly beneficial to the climate crisis efforts, it also will give publicity to the cause and encourage others to donate.