The richest man in the world Jeff Bezos, founder of the online commerce giant Amazon denounced for his impact on the environment, announced the creation of a “Bezos Fund for the Earth” in order to contribute to the fight against climate change.
On his Instagram account on Monday, Bezos announced that he personally endowed the fund with $ 10 billion “to start with.”
This sum represents 7.7% of his personal fortune, estimated at $ 130 billion by Forbes.
“This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs – any effort that offers a real opportunity to help preserve and protect the natural world,” added the Amazon boss.
He said the first grants would be awarded this summer.
“We can save the Earth”, he affirmed in this message accompanied by a photo of the planet, pleading for “a collective action of big and small companies, States, world organizations and individuals”.
“I want to work with others to increase the known means and also to look for new ways to fight against the devastating impact of climate change,” added Mr. Bezos.
“The Earth is the only thing we all have in common. Let's protect it, together,” he concluded.
The announcement comes 20 days after 300 Amazon employees signed criticism of their group, including about its environmental policy.
The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) group is pushing the company to go further in its plan for the environment announced with great publicity in September. Jeff Bezos then promised that Amazon would achieve carbon neutrality in 2040, 10 years ahead of the commitments of the Paris agreement.
– Millions of tonnes of CO2 equivalent –
Amazon, which has built its success on a huge logistical network of road transport to ensure increasingly fast deliveries, is a large producer of greenhouse gases, the main responsible for climate change.
The server farms of Amazon, which has made the cloud (dematerialized computing) another very important source of profits, are also extremely energy-hungry.
According to the online platform Climate Watch, the 44.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent produced each year by Amazon represent just over 10% of France's total annual emissions.
Demonstrations for the protection of the environment and against large polluting companies have multiplied all over the world, notably under the leadership of associations like Greenpeace, the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg or the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement.
Amazon has thus been the target of several actions aimed at denouncing the overconsumption and the ecological consequences of “Black Friday” in November, one of the great promotional days which contribute to the colossal income of the multinational.
Jeff Bezos is also the founder of the space company Blue Origin, one of whose goals is to develop human activity in space, especially on the moon, to alleviate pollution on Earth.
Internet, petroleum and agrifood giants are multiplying the promise of reducing their environmental footprint and adapting to a low-carbon economy. But experts warn that many of these ads are more about “greenwashing” (eco-laundering).
“Greenwashing is misinformation, a blurring of reality,” stressed Greenpeace patron Jennifer Morgan in January in Davos, “given the climate emergency, we have no time for the spiel or hypocrisy”.