Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has launched his own environment fund and committed $10bn (£7.7bn) to it.
He announced the Bezos Earth Fund in an Instagram post yesterday, saying it will begin issuing grants this summer.
Bezos wrote: “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.”
Bezos has a net worth of about $130bn (about £100bn), Bloomberg estimates, which effectively makes him the richest man in the world.
In 2018, Bezos committed $2bn (about £1.5bn) to his Bezos Day One Fund, a philanthropic fund to help homeless families and build schools for low-income communities.
His Instagram post does not mention his company Amazon, which delivers 10 billion items a year and reported a carbon footprint of 44.4 million metric tons for 2018. This is comparable to the carbon dioxide emissions of a small country.
In April 2019, a group of Amazon employees called the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice published a letter signed by 8,700 employees asking Bezos and Amazon’s board of directors to commit to a climate plan, transition away from fossil fuels and prioritise climate impact when making business decisions.
In September 2019, Bezos pledged to make Amazon exclusively reliant on renewable energy by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2040.