During a speech at the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world's second richest person, announced a $2 billion pledge from his Bezos Earth Fund to restore nature and transform agricultural systems.
He already pledged $1 billion to focus on conservation projects, which he announced in September. Bezos announced today that the overall $3 billion donation will fund a three-pronged environmental agenda for his Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion philanthropy project started in February 2020, focusing on wild space conservation, natural landscape restoration, and food transformation. The money are expected to be distributed by 2030.
"We must protect what we still have, restore what we've lost, and grow what we need to survive in a way that does not degrade the world for future generations," Jeff Bezos added.
The billionaire cited his Blue Origin rocket's July space voyage as an event that heightened his interest in environmental protection. "From up there, the atmosphere appears to be so thin, the globe so finite and vulnerable," he remarked, adding, "We must all stand together to safeguard our world." Climate change provides a compelling cause for us to invest in nature."
Looking ahead to COP27 next year, Bezos said his foundation would be "eager to participate in a concerted strategy led by African nations to seriously and effectively ramp up support for restoration on the continent," and urged businesses to join the fight against climate change, saying, "We cannot rely only on governments, philanthropy, and NGOs to fix the climate crisis." The commercial sector must also contribute. Companies must assume leadership positions."
Bezos cited the Climate Pledge, a project launched by Amazon and the Global Optimism group that aims to spur business commitments to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement's deadline.
Amazon is also a member of the LEAF coalition, which has 19 corporate partners and committed $1 billion in funding for tropical and subtropical forest conservation programmes in April. Five projects are now being considered in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, and Vietnam.
At least 30 financial institutions, including Aviva, Schroders, and Axa, are expected to contribute a total of $7.2 billion to newly launched global efforts against deforestation, as announced by the UK government, in which leaders representing over 85 percent of the world's forests will commit to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.
President Joe Biden said that the US would spend up to $9 billion on forest conservation and restoration through 2030. "Through this strategy, the United States will assist the rest of the world in preventing natural forest loss and restoring at least another 200 hectares of forests and other ecosystems by 2030," he stated.