Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the richest man in the world, announced Monday on his Instagram account the launch of the “Bezos Earth Fund” to fight climate change. He specifies that he personally endows the fund with 10 billion dollars (9.23 billion euros) “to begin with”.
The first grants to researchers, activists and NGOs will be awarded this summer. This decision comes 20 days after 300 Amazon employees signed criticism of their group, particularly regarding its environmental policy.
The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) group is pushing the company to go further in its mitigation plan announced with a great deal of publicity in September, when Jeff Bezos launched a campaign that must allow to fill – with 10 years of ahead – the climate commitments of the Paris agreement.
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Amazon lambasted by conservationists
Amazon, which has built its success on a huge logistics network of road transport to ensure increasingly fast deliveries, is a large producer of greenhouse gases, the main culprits of climate change. The server farms of Amazon, which has made the cloud (dematerialized computing) another very important source of profits, are also extremely energy-hungry.
According to the online platform Climate Watch, the 44.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent produced each year by Amazon represent just over 10% of France’s total annual emissions.
Also read: Over 300 employees publicly criticize Amazon
In September, Jeff Bezos promised that Amazon would achieve carbon neutrality in 2040. “We can save the earth,” he said on his Instagram post on Monday, under a photo of the planet. “It requires collective action from big and small companies, states, global organizations and individuals.”
Protests for the protection of the environment and against large polluting companies have multiplied this fall and this winter, notably under the leadership of associations like Greenpeace, the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg or the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement. Amazon has thus been the target of several actions to denounce overconsumption and its ecological consequences during Black Friday in November, one of the great promotional days that contribute to the colossal revenues of the multinational.
Also read: Extinction Rebellion now targets private sector