IN BRIEF

Jeff Bezos announces first recipients of $10bn Bezos Earth Fund

Worldwide

17 November 2020

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, has announced the first round of grantees of the Bezos Earth Fund on his Instagram page. The first roster has received a total of $791m, although it is unclear how much each individual organisation has been granted.

The grantees are: The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation, Dream Corps Green For All, Eden Reforestation Projects, Energy Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, NDN Collective, Rocky Mountain Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Solutions Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.

Bezos writes that these organisations are all “working on innovative, ambitious, and needle-moving solutions” to the climate emergency. In comparison to environmental funding projects from other tech giants, such as Microsoft, Stripe and Amazon itself, the Bezos earth Fund appears to be backing advocacy groups rather than green start-ups. In September, for instance, Amazon’s own $2bn climate fund announced that its first round of funding would go to getting more electric vehicles on the road and capturing carbon dioxide emissions.

At $10bn, the Bezos Earth Fund comprises around 7 per cent of Bezos’s personal wealth, while it is also 10 times as much as philanthropic foundations gave globally to efforts to slow climate change in 2018. Bezos’s personal wealth has grown substantially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Sunrise Movement, an organisation which has not received funding from Bezos, tweeted in September: “A reminder that Jeff Bezos has made over $48 Billion during the pandemic while over 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment. Imagine if he actually had to pay taxes and what that money could help fund.”