Jeff Bezos’ list of organisations to receive his climate fund has a history of racism and sexism

Jeff Bezos, founder, and CEO of Amazon announced 16 environmental organisations as a part of his $10 billion funds program for climate action. These organisations will get 791 million from the fund for their efforts to alleviate climate change. However, it is not clear yet how much fund each organization will get.

In February this year, Amazon CEO announced the creation of a $10 billion fund resource called Bezos Earth Fund. The declared amount is more than 7 percent of his net worth. It is 10 times as much as philanthropic foundations donated globally in 2018.

“I’ve spent the past several months learning from a group of incredibly smart people who’ve made it their life’s work to fight climate change and its impact on communities around the world. I’m inspired by what they’re doing, and excited to help them scale,” said Jeff on Instagram.

Creation of the fund

The  $10 billion dollar fund created by Jeff Bezos will fund those programs and organizations that are working on combating the effects of climate change. Notably, this fund was announced after years of criticism that Bezos faced. Many accused him of being the richest man on the planet and doing enough philanthropy. This led to added pressure in recent years.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share,” said Bezos in his Instagram post.

Jeff hasn’t signed The Giving Pledge yet, a pledge by the world’s wealthiest people to donate most of their wealth back to society during their lifetime. However, his ex-wife, Mackenzie Bezos who settled divorce at a record $35 billion, signed the pledge after the settlement.

Selection of organisations

Organisations selected for the first round of funding are legacy organisations with a history of advocacy on behalf of Earth. At present, it is not clear as of now as to how the announced 791 million will be distributed among the selected organizations.

Based on the choice he made in the first list, it is clear that Jeff will choose to support popular environmental groups fighting for new policies, actions, and more research activities about climate change.

Technology to tackle climate change

In June, Amazon announced the $2 Billion Climate Pledge Fund for investing in companies that are focusing on building products, services, and new technologies to fight and reduce carbon emissions in order to protect the planet.

“Amazon announced, The Climate Pledge Fund to support the development of sustainable technologies and services that will enable Amazon and other companies to meet The Climate Pledge—a commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040. This dedicated venture investment program—with an initial $2 billion in funding—will back visionary companies whose products and services will facilitate the transition to a zero-carbon economy,” read the press release.

The first round of this fund will go mainly for electric vehicles on the road that can cut carbon emissions from the vehicle said the company in September. The company said it will spend $1 billion in the next four years on technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the air.

Controversies of chosen companies

The non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) chosen has been fighting for environmental protection from way back in the 1960s. The Environmental Defense Fund chosen by Jeff has a history of taking sides of corporate in their fight. It has worked with Walmart and McDonald’s in the past.

Some of the groups chosen for the funds have been stuck in scandal lately. While two other groups who will get the fund are busy in recent shifts in leadership due to the outrage of systemic racism and sexism in science and environmental fields. 

CEO of conservation group Nature Conservancy left his post in 2019 and president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ken Kimmell said he will leave the post by the end of the year.

The list is a newly formed group that focuses on racial quality in work, the NDN Collective. The group was founded by Native American activists in 2018. Bezos as of now avoided activist groups that criticized him publicly such as Sunrise Movement.

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