It was just months ago that employees of Amazon.com had publicly put pressure on founder and largest shareholder of the company Jeff Bezos, as well as the company to do more to g=fight climate change. Bezos, the richest man in the world, now has announced that he would personally contribute a part of his wealth for that purpose.
Creation of a new fund that would help to support scientists, activists and organizations that are putting in real effort to fight against climate change and its impacts, was announced by the Amazon CEO on Monday. Bezos made the announcement through an Instagram post in which he said that he would be committing a $10 billion amount “to start” the fund.
He has named the fund Bezos Earth Fund and it will start working this summer by giving out grants. While the $10 billion amount might seem a huge one for most in the world, for Bezos it is just about 8 per cent of his net personal wealth – which is estimated to be at about $130 billion.
However, according to a ranking by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the amount promised by Bezos is one of the highest ever committed for charitable causes. It is exceeded by $36 billion that was donated by billionaire Warren Buffett in 2006 and the approximately $16.4 billion commitment that was announced in 2007 by Helen Walton, the late wife of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Bezos said in the 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.”
Employees of Amazon have been calling on Bezos to do more about the protection of the environment and to mitigate climate change. Last may, a letter was signed by thousands of Amazon employees in which they questioned the company about its plans for combating climate change, and in September, there were many employees who walked out on Amazon demanding that the company should do more to combat climate change.
However a day before the employees staged the walkout, Amazon had announced that it would turn carbon neutral by 2040, which was ten years earlier than the date set at the Paris climate agreement. 100,000 electric delivery vans would be deployed by it by 2024, the company also said.
“It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals,” Bezos said.
Reacting to the announcement by Bezos, the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the group that staged walkout in September last year, said that the company and Bezos needed to do more to address the underlying causes of climate change such as the use of fossil fuel.
“We applaud Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away,” the group said in a statement Monday. They also called on Amazon to stop working with oil and gas companies and end funding think tanks that deny climate change.
(Adapted from CNN.com)