Amazon Investing In Climate Innovation, Equity

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Amazon and Apple have announced more efforts toward climate stabilization, equity and inclusion, and deeper decarbonization in the past month and a half. The tech giants have plenty to clean up, but they’ve also been leaders in the adoption of clean renewable energy. I wrote about Apple’s latest climate work yesterday, and below is a look at some of what Amazon has been up to lately.

$3 Million+ For USAID’s New Climate Gender Equity Fund

Amazon is teaming up with USAID (the U.S. Agency for International Development) to work on addressing gender inequity in the climate finance arena as it relates to women. The partnership will work on supporting and funding female entrepreneurs who are focused on climate change innovation. “Amazon will serve as a founding partner of USAID’s Climate Gender Equity Fund, a new climate finance facility designed to remove systemic market barriers that prevent women and girls from accessing climate finance.”

Amazon is putting $3 million into this partnership, and USAID is matching Amazon’s $3 million. The focus is global, and funding will be provided to nonprofits as well as for-profit businesses, accelerators, incubators, etc. “It also will fund efforts to help women access the networks and technical skills they need to accelerate the development of their climate change technologies.” Furthermore, Amazon will communicate with partners of The Climate Pledge (Pledge signatories ) in order to try to stimulate more investment and participation.

$50 Million More For Women-Led Climate Tech Companies

Beyond that $3 million commitment and partnership, Amazon is also putting $50 million straight into its own investments in climate tech companies led by women. This $50 million will come from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund.

“As an important step in solving climate change, we must address the gender inequalities that persist in climate finance, and ensure female entrepreneurs have an equal seat at the table and access to the funding, networks, and technical support they need to scale climate solutions,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon. “We’re proud to collaborate with USAID and the Biden administration to help scale women-led climate solutions globally. This is just one part of our broader Climate Pledge goal to reach net zero carbon by 2040, and we encourage other companies to join us in this effort.” The aforementioned link to the Biden administration is that this is linked to Biden’s National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, and the Biden administration is apparently collaborating with Amazon as well.

Ironically, despite getting a fraction of the investment of male-led companies, female-led companies generate much more revenue per dollar invested than male-led companies. Yes, illogical gender bias still exists — sometimes to an extreme degree.

Amazon actually lists a number of recent actions it has taken to improve gender equity:

  • Committing to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles, which offer businesses guidance on ways to promote gender equity and empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and community.
  • Granting $1 million to the Resilience Fund for Women in Global Value Chains, which is investing in organizations supporting women in global value chains, including manufacturing, apparel, and agriculture.
  • Partnering with BSR’s HERproject to combat gender-based discrimination in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India by engaging suppliers, factory workers, and management. These efforts have reached nearly 10,000 women.
  • Investing in the Elevate Future Fund, which increases funding to women and other underrepresented founders working on climate tech solutions, as well as firms creating economic opportunity for distressed and disadvantaged communities. This investment is part of the new Amazon Catalytic Capital initiative to provide underrepresented entrepreneurs with access to capital.
  • Collaborating with Greentown Labs, North America’s largest climate tech incubator, to source and engage with new startups. The Climate Pledge Fund participates in pitch events, including “Access to Success,” a community event for diverse founders. Amazon also serves on Greentown Labs’ Industry Leadership Council.
  • Working with Elemental Excelerator, a climate tech startup accelerator that is a leader in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion principles in climate tech. Elemental Excelerator recently launched an Equity & Access program that supports helping startup founders to build equity into their organizations’ teams and activities.

It’s true, Amazon’s got issues. The ridiculous amount of extra packaging, for example. But it is good to see that a company of its size and influence is working hard to improve gender equity and invest in climate solutions and entrepreneurs.

Featured image courtesy of Amazon.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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