Amazon Launches $2B Clean Tech Venture Fund

Image: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Amazon

Yesterday, online retail giant Amazon announced its  Climate Pledge Fund–a $2 billion that will invest in companies that develop innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions. As the Verge explained, The fund will help Amazon and other companies adhere to The Climate Pledge initiative it started in September 2019. That pledge committed the company, and others that sign onto it, to becoming carbon neutral by 2040.

However, at the same time, Amazon also said that its carbon footprint rose 15% last year. As the Star Tribune reported, Amazon said that while its carbon footprint grew, the amount of carbon it emitted for every dollar spent on the site fell 5% between 2018 and 2019.

Why This Matters: If a company like Amazon can lead the way to carbon neutrality and spur cleantech innovation then that’s a good thing. But since Amazon can’t commit to avoiding the use of fossil fuels, its emissions stats demonstrate how difficult it is for a global company that relies on planes, trucks, and massive warehouses to lower its emissions. Especially now during the COVID-19 epidemic when Amazon’s orders have skyrocketed, lowering emissions poses added challenges. To keep up, and deliver on time, Amazon said this month that it leased a dozen more Boeing 767s, bringing its fleet of jets to more than 80.

What’s New Here: As Cnet reported, this new fund is part of Amazon’s widening ambitions to expand its green initiatives, with Bezos in September unveiling his company’s Climate Pledge, an array of programs with the overarching goal of making Amazon net zero carbon by 2040.

  • This month, Amazon got its first group of signatories to join the pledge: Verizon, Infosys and Reckitt Benckiser.
  • Net zero carbon doesn’t mean Amazon and these other companies will stop emitting carbon altogether; instead it means they’ll remove as much carbon from the environment as they release.
  • Amazon, though, still has plenty of work to do to reach its goals.

Earth Fund: Back in February, Jeff Bezos pledged $10 billion to fight climate change through the creation of the Bezos Earth Fund. According to Bezos’ Instagram post, the global initiative will fund activists, scientists, and NGOs in an effort “to preserve and protect the natural world.”

Some Key Details: If you look at the largest single source of Amazon’s emissions it’s actually the manufacturing of their self-branded products and corporate purchases. Third-party transportation also eats up a sizeable portion of their carbon budget. Thus if you look at the full scope of Amazon’s emissions, it’s an incredibly complicated value chain to decarbonize.

One key problem: 2-day shipping comes with a hefty environmental footprint yet it’s one of Amazon’s key features that’s allowed it to outcompete smaller and independent retailers. Here’s a look at how you can help reduce emissions if you are an Amazon customer.

Up Next

Climate Change Impacts Roads, May Make Traffic Worse Unless We Adapt Them

Climate Change Impacts Roads, May Make Traffic Worse Unless We Adapt Them

Climate change will impact roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure in ways you may not have realized, writes Matt Alderton in The Washington Post over the weekend.  Infrastructure is built to withstand certain weather conditions and extremes: “the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has guidelines that say asphalt should be engineered to withstand the hottest week on record during a certain historical period — say, 1970 and 2000.”

Why This Matters:  We need to adapt our roads to withstand future conditions, otherwise drivers will experience much worse road conditions and traffic, not to mention the huge expense for taxpayers for repairs due to ineffective design.

Continue Reading 567 words
Why Equitable, Clean Transportation is Key to a Sustainable Economic Recovery

Why Equitable, Clean Transportation is Key to a Sustainable Economic Recovery

By Julia Pyper, host/producer Political Climate As Congress looks toward the next coronavirus relief package, a growing number of stakeholders from across the political spectrum are calling for a comprehensive clean energy infrastructure plan to address the nation’s economic challenges. Updating America’s transportation system offers a ripe opportunity to create jobs while lowering carbon emissions. […]

Continue Reading 834 words
Apple and Microsoft Take Big Aim at Carbon Neutrality

Apple and Microsoft Take Big Aim at Carbon Neutrality

Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it will be teaming up with Unilever, Starbucks, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, and four other companies to form Transform to Net Zero, an initiative focused on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As CNET reported, the team will work with the Environmental Defense Fund to share information on the best practices for decreasing carbon […]

Continue Reading 437 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.