Column: Bezos, Amazon climate change funds a good start

Destiny Blanchard

In February of 2020 billionaire Jeff Bezos launched a “Bezos Earth Fund” with the purpose to fund efforts to protect and preserve the earth we live on.

In this fund Bezos committed $10 billion to climate change efforts, this amount equates to roughly 5 percent of his current net worth. Bezos’ most prominent company, Amazon, also made a Climate Pledge to be completely powered by renewable energy by 2025 and be carbon neutral by 2040. By becoming carbon neutral the company would eliminate all greenhouse gasses caused by its facilities and labor.

These public commitments seem amazing at first glance but are questionable considering Amazon’s track record toward the climate.

Bezos himself has contributed to harm towards the planet given that Amazon has partnered with many fossil fuel companies to expand oil extraction. The company is still doing business with several big oil and gas companies including BP and Shell and saw a 15 percent increase in their carbon footprint just last year.

Amazon’s impact on the environment was so noticeable that many employees staged a walkout in September 2019 to call for Bezos to make more efforts to protect the Earth by changing the company’s harmful practices.

This week Bezos announced some of the first beneficiaries of his Earth fund. The beneficiaries include 16 different environmental organizations that will collectively have received $791 million from the total $10 billion promised in the fund.

One of the groups, The Environmental Defense Fund, will use their portion of the money to launch satellites that measure emissions of methane in our atmosphere. The organization, which has also been critical of Amazon’s carbon footprint, plans to use part of the funding to cut methane pollution from oil and gas industries by 45 percent in the next 5 years.

Some of the efforts from the other organizations include protecting plants affected by accelerated weather events, supporting indigenous-led sustainability initiatives, updating the U.S. electrical grid, and many other efforts related to climate change.

The efforts made by Jeff Bezos and his company are impressive and create a standard for those who are ridiculously wealthy to use their money towards efforts that will help all of us. Although it’s important that we monitor and hold the companies that make efforts similar to this accountable because more often than not there are things being done behind closed doors that directly go against the efforts they’re trying to advocate for.


Destiny Blanchard is a junior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]