Stockholm (NordSIP) – According to a post on Instagram, Jeff Bezos will launch a US$10 billion fund to finance projects aimed at fighting climate change. The fund will start issuing grants in the summer.
Jeff Bezos is the billionaire philanthropist owner of the Washington Post and Amazon.com, the online retailer and cloud service provider. Often touted as the world’s richest person, the donation represents 7.95% of Bezos’ net worth, which Forbes estimates to be US$125.8 billion. The estimate follows the sale of an estimated US$2.8 billion of Amazon shares between July and August 2019.
According to the Instagram post, the Bezos Earth Fund “will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world. We can save Earth.”
“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.”
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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
A Controversial Record
Amazon is a clear example of the trade-offs sometimes inherent in ESG investing. With an “Average” “BB” rating from MSCI ESG Ratings, Amazon.com ranks as a leader in corporate governance, is average in environmental and privacy matters and is a laggard in social terms, as is patent in its labour management “laggard” rating.
While the retail industry is famous for being taxing on its employees, particularly during the Christmas holiday season, the rumours of micromanagement at Amazon warehouses have become emblematic of the less than appealing working conditions in the industry.
The Instagram announcement follows a campaign of public pressure by Amazon workers demanding their employer prioritise climate action.
The group, registered on Twitter as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, launched their campaign on April 10, 2019, with a post stating that “The climate crisis is the biggest threat facing our planet, but unfortunately, Amazon leadership has not made it a priority. It’s our responsibility to ensure our business models don’t contribute to the destruction of our planet.”
Amazon’s controversial record of labour management casts a shadow on the announcement. It follows reports by the online account that the Amazon Human Resources department had threatened two outspoken employees with termination on January 2, 2020.
“Jeff Bezos and Amazon executives are threatening to fire a few members of our group after we spoke up about wanting our company to be a leader in the worldwide effort to avert climate catastrophe,” the account stated, linking to a Washington Post article describing the threats.
THREAD/ Jeff Bezos and Amazon executives are threatening to fire a few members of our group after we spoke up about wanting our company to be a leader in the worldwide effort to avert climate catastrophe.https://t.co/L87gpclEyL
— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) January 2, 2020