Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has pledged $443 million in grants as part of his Earth Fund to fight climate change, protect and restore nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity.
Bezos launched Earth Fund in 2020 to execute his $10 billion — about 5 percent of his current net worth — commitment to fight climate change.
The Fund awarded 44 grants totaling $443 million to organizations focused on climate justice, nature conservation and restoration, and tracking critical climate goals, it said in a statement.
It sets aside $130 million for 19 different organizations doing “doing critical climate justice work”, and follows another $150 million pledged to climate justice groups in September.
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The grants include $130 million to advance the Justice40 initiative in the US, $261 million to further the 30×30 initiative to protect 30 percent of land and sea by 2030, with a focus on the Congo Basin and Tropical Andes, and $51 million to support land restoration in the US and Africa, the statement added.
“The goal of the Bezos Earth Fund is to support change agents who are seizing the challenges that this decisive decade presents,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. “Through these grants, we are advancing climate justice and the protection of nature, two areas that demand stronger action.”
The Verge reported that the Fund had pledged more than $3 billion for similar initiatives this year.
Bezos’ grantees include a wide range of groups that either gather data to inform policymaking, help underserved communities become more resilient to climate change, support tribes and Native communities, or plan to create training programs for the Justice40 initiative.
Meanwhile, Amazon was implicated in a recent report as playing an “outsized” role in port congestion and associated shipping pollution along the west coast of the US. And despite Amazon’s commitments to address climate change, the company’s carbon footprint grew by nearly 20 percent in 2020.
Bezos’ Earth Fund has also faced criticism, particularly from some grassroots environmental groups. Critics pointed out that Bezos primarily funded big-name environmental groups with historically white leadership and comparatively large budgets rather than supporting more Indigenous and people of color-led community groups. Other criticisms focused on how Amazon, the e-commerce giant Bezos founded, continues to pollute neighborhoods and emit increasing levels of greenhouse gases.