Jeff BezosSource: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr

What you need to know

  • Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has launched the Bezos Earth Fund.
  • The Bezos Earth Fund aims to fund efforts by scientists, activists, and NGOs to preserve and protect the environment.
  • Bezos is committing $10 billion to the fund and will begin issuing grants later this year.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced the launch of a new fund called the Bezos Earth Fund to help fight climate change. Bezos said that he is committing $10 billion "to start" and will begin issuing grants this summer.

Announcing the Bezos Earth Fund on Instagram, the Amazon CEO 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.

The Bezos Earth Fund will be giving out grants to back scientists, activists, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to protect the natural world from climate change. Bezos is currently the wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $130 billion. His $10 billion commitment to the Bezos Earth Fund is therefore only about 7% of his net worth.

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In April last year, thousands of Amazon employees signed an open letter asking the company to come up with a plan to tackle climate change. Many of them even staged a walkout four months later, calling on Amazon to do more to protect the environment.

Amazon also faced criticism last month after Jeff Bezos and a few other executives allegedly threatened to fire members of a group called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice.

The group issued the following statement after Bezos announced the new fund:

As history has taught us, true visionaries stand up against entrenched systems, often at great cost to themselves. We applaud Jeff Bezos' philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away. The people of Earth need to know: When is Amazon going to stop helping oil & gas companies ravage Earth with still more oil and gas wells? When is Amazon going to stop funding climate-denying think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and climate-delaying policy? When will Amazon take responsibility for the lungs of children near its warehouses by moving from diesel to all-electric trucking?

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