Amid criticism of its environmental track record, Amazon has promised billions in funding to support companies that help contribute to a carbon-free economy.
The e-commerce behemoth announced today that it has launched The Climate Pledge Fund with an initial $2 billion venture-capital investment toward businesses that are working on “sustainable technologies and services.” The companies could span across industries including transportation and logistics; energy generation, storage and utilization; manufacturing and materials; the circular economy; as well as food and agriculture.
“The Climate Pledge Fund will look to invest in the visionary entrepreneurs and innovators who are building products and services to help companies reduce their carbon impact and operate more sustainably,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who committed his own $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund in mid-February with grants to be issued this summer.
He added, “Companies from around the world of all sizes and stages will be considered, from pre-product startups to well-established enterprises. Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations.” (The online giant did not provide a timeline for the funding.)
The move marks Amazon’s latest sustainability-centered initiative as part of The Climate Pledge, which was launched last year in response to mounting calls to action from its employees.
Last spring, more than 3,500 employees penned an open letter to Bezos, urging a companywide plan to address climate change. The workers sought an end to the use of fossil fuels, as well as urged the Seattle-based retailer to cut emissions in half by 2030 and reduce them to zero by 2050. Amazon promised then to reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early and achieve net zero carbon use by 2040.
This company, which released its 2019 sustainability report today, added that it is on the path to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025 — five years ahead of schedule — and announced that it was currently working on 91 renewable energy projects around the world. It also said it has made two investments from its $100 million Right Now Climate Fund in “nature-based solutions” and reforestation projects, plus eliminated more than 880,000 tons of packaging material since 2015.