Bezos Earmarks $1 billion of $10 billion Earth Fund for 30×30 Conservation

Image: Seattle City Council from Seattle via Wikimedia Commons

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor

One year after founding the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has earmarked $1 billion for conservation efforts aimed at protecting 30% of all lands and waters by 2030. The organization stated in a press release that it would prioritize “areas that are important for biodiversity and carbon stocks and will give emphasis to the central role of local communities and Indigenous peoples in conservation efforts.”

 

Why This Matters: The world’s most powerful corporations have contributed an inordinate amount of emissions to the world’s carbon footprint, and although many have pledged to reduce and combat emissions, a good number have refused to disclose their emissions at all. While Amazon has committed to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2040 and has disclosed its carbon footprint, the company’s emissions rose by 19% in 2020. This move to dedicate $1 billion dollars represents a big follow-through on Bezos’s climate commitments, but critics worry that the lack of details on how the money will be spent may delay swift impact.

 

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The fund says it intends to prioritize funding in regions “where there is significant need and opportunity, as well as where there is a strong political commitment to nature,” but has yet to specify what organizations or initiatives it will be supporting. “By coming together with the right focus and ingenuity, we can have both the benefits of our modern lives and a thriving natural world,” said Bezos in a statement. “I hope this commitment inspires others to make their own pledges to protect and conserve nature and help in the fight against climate change. A job this big needs many allies.” 

 

Bezos has pledged to deploy the entirety of the $10 billion fund by 2030. Already, Bezos has donated $791 million to organizations including the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, and the Environmental Defense Fund. The Earth Fund also plans to give climate justice groups $150 million by the end of the year.

 

Bezos has received support for the Earth Fund by leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed. Still, many have criticized him for refraining to sign the Giving Pledge, founded by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, which asks billionaires to pledge a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Bezos has increased his giving in recent years, and is among the world’s top philanthropists, but his giving in proportion to his wealth lags behind that of his peers.

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