On Monday afternoon, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pledged $1 billion of his $10 billion environmental charity to conservation projects, intending to protect 30% of the Earth’s land and oceans by 2030 to avoid catastrophic extinctions.
The Bezos Earth Fund, which he established in 2020, did not name any of the organisations or programmes it plans to support with the new funds. Only that it will focus “areas that are vital for biodiversity and carbon stocks, and will emphasise the central role of local communities and Indigenous peoples in conservation efforts,” according to a news release. The philanthropy will focus on the Congo Basin, the tropical Andes, and the tropical Pacific Ocean, according to the statement.
The new round of giving comes from Bezos’ previously put aside $10 billion for the Earth Fund. The money will be distributed this year, with a focus on areas “where there is great need and opportunity, as well as where there is a strong governmental commitment to the environment,” according to the organisation.
According to the Earth Fund, Bezos targeted the conservation of 30% of land and sea because it could safeguard up to 80% of plant and animal species, secure 60% of critical carbon supplies, and sustain two-thirds of pure water.
Environmentalists have long targeted Bezos and Amazon, citing the large carbon footprint of the planes, trucks, and vans racing to deliver products to Amazon consumers within a day or two. And as the company’s e-commerce increases, fuelled by online buyers who are hesitant to visit stores in person during the coronavirus pandemic, the threat from the company’s emissions grows.
Critics also point to Amazon Web Services, the company’s market-leading cloud-computing operation, which consumes massive quantities of electricity to run its massive data centres across the world, including ones in Northern Virginia. Amazon has been under fire from a group of its employees, known as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, who want the corporation to abandon lucrative cloud-computing contracts that assist energy companies to speed up oil and gas extraction.
To address climate concerns, Jeff Bezos led Amazon to develop its emissions-reporting system, the Climate Pledge, which was launched in 2019 to meet the Paris climate agreement’s goals ten years early. Amazon has avoided disclosing its environmental effect through CDP, formally known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, a widely used framework for corporate reporting, for years before Bezos announced the project.