Jeff Bezos Lays Out Next Steps for His $10 Billion Earth Pledge
(Bloomberg) -- Jeff Bezos revealed that $1 billion of his $10 billion Earth Fund pledge to fight climate change will be directed to conservation efforts, principally targeting key areas for biodiversity and carbon stocks.
The first of the grants will be released this year with a focus on the Congo Basin, tropical Andes and tropical Pacific Ocean, according to a statement Monday to coincide with a Climate Week event in New York.
“By most metrics, life is better than it was in the past. Global poverty rates are lower, infant mortality and life expectancies are better, and education rates are much higher,” Bezos, 57, said in the statement. “There is a notable exception — the natural world is not better today than it was 500 years ago, when we enjoyed unspoiled forests, clean rivers, and the pristine air of the pre-industrial age. We can and must reverse this anomaly.”
Bezos, the world’s second-richest person and founder of Amazon.com Inc., has promised to distribute the $10 billion by 2030. His current net worth is around $194.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Conservation is the first of a three-part “nature strategy” the Earth Fund will support, with future commitments for landscape restoration and food-system transformation.
So far, the fund has distributed $864 million. Earlier this month, Bezos announced he would give an additional $130 million to groups supporting the Justice40 Initiative, an effort by the Biden administration to fight climate change and support disadvantaged communities, by the end of the year.
Bezos has been on a giving spree recently, with a pair of philanthropic announcements sandwiching his trip to space.
Days before completing an 11-minute flight into space through his company Blue Origin, Bezos announced a $200 million gift to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, with the bulk of it going to establish the Bezos Learning Center. After the trip, Bezos said he would give $100 million each to Van Jones, a CNN political contributor and founder of Dream Corps, and chef Jose Andres, co-founder of World Central Kitchen, which helps feed people in disaster-stricken regions.
The Earth Fund’s statement quoted world leaders lauding the pledge, including Amina Mohammed, United Nations deputy secretary general, John Kerry, U.S. Special presidential envoy for climate, and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“I look forward to working more with the Bezos Earth Fund in our shared fight for the planet in the run up to COP26,” Johnson said, referring to the international climate change meeting to be held in Glasgow, Scotland starting in late October.
Johnson was scheduled to meet Bezos on Monday, with the Prime Minister saying beforehand that he planned to tell the billionaire that Amazon must pay its fair share of taxes in the country and address working standards for U.K. employees. Johnson also said he would congratulate Bezos “on his massive forestry initiative.”
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