Amazon announced last week that it had created a $2 billion climate pledge fund that it will use to invest in companies that build products, services, and technologies that will decarbonize the economy and protect the planet. This fund is known as The Climate Pledge Fund and will support the development of sustainable technologies and services that help Amazon to meet The Climate Pledge.
The Climate Pledge is a commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040 and is cofounded by Amazon and Global Optimism. The goal is to reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early. Verizon, Reckitt Benckiser, and Infosys have recently joined the pledge, which hopes to achieve its goal by accelerating investment in innovations for the zero-carbon economy of the future.
“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. 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.” — Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO
The types of companies that The Climate Pledge Fund will invest in are:
- Transportation and logistics.
- Energy generation, storage, and utilization.
- Manufacturing and materials.
- Circular economy.
- Food and agriculture.
Rivian’s CEO, R.J. Scaringe, noted that, “Amazon has demonstrated its leadership in adopting low carbon technologies at scale. Their investment in Rivian and subsequent order of 100,000 electric delivery vans will substantially shrink the carbon footprint of Amazon’s package delivery network. We’re excited about a future of decarbonized delivery services.”
Companies that have signed The Climate Pledge are doing more than just donating money. They are reshaping their businesses to focus on eliminating carbon. Some key things they agree to do are:
- Agree to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis.
- Implement strategies that focus on decarbonization that follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement. This includes business change, innovation, efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies.
- These companies also agree to take action to neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, real, and permanent offsets to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.
Amazon has committed to investing $100 million into reforestation projects, powering its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025, purchasing 100,000 EVs for its delivery vehicles, making its shipments net zero carbon by 2030, and making its entire operations net zero carbon by 2040.
Amazon’s 2019 Sustainability Report
Amazon also released its 2019 sustainability report along with an update on its sustainability goals and programs. Key points from that are:
- Amazon’s path to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025. Amazon hopes to reach 80% of that goal by 2024 and 100% by 2030.
- 91 renewable energy projects worldwide that include delivering more than 7.6 million MWh of renewable energy annually.
- 2 investments from Amazon’s $100 million Right Now Climate Fund:
- Appalachain reforestation project (U.S.)
- Urban greening initiative (Germany)
- Amazon has reduced the weight of its outbound package by 33% since 2015. It’s also eliminated more than 880,00 tons of packaging material.
I think it’s clearly a great thing that Amazon is taking these initiatives. Many people tend to look down on its CEO for being a super-billionaire (net worth = $160 billion+) — yes, he could put more into this, but this is a significant effort. We need more people with the means to step up and lead when it comes to clean energy.
Many people often look down on billionaires, in general, for being billionaires. It’s true, the mass wealth of a few has put many at great disadvantages financially and simply in terms of surviving — all around the planet. I may never enjoy my own private plane or yacht, but as someone who does invest what little I can into companies that are impacting the world, I would rather put my money into something that is changing it for the better. That’s why I invest in Tesla [TSLA], for example.
I think we should stop hating billionaires for having money. Instead, we should use our power if we really want to make a change. Changes don’t have to be on a grand scale. What I am saying is this: don’t hate what you can’t change. Instead, put your mental and emotional resources into impacting your family, community, and environment for the betterment of yourself and your loved ones.
See what companies are doing to go net-zero emissions and think about how you can apply that to your life. Notice your own habits, how much plastic you use, etc. If everyone were to do this, we’d all make an impact that would equate to the scale of $2 billion.