By: Virginia Riddle
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s billionaire founder, pledged during a Glasgow climate summit to put $2 billion towards restoring environmental habitats and food systems. On top of this, he plans to have Amazon power its operations with renewable energy by 2025.
This pledge is coming right after Bezos’s recent flight to space, an action that several rich entrepreneurs have taken. These flights have spurred public upheaval about why money is being put towards personal projects to outer space, rather than being a force for good on a planet facing dramatic climate changes.
However, it may be this trip that led him to focus more on the environmental issues in the first place. He explained his realization of Earth’s vulnerability during this time by saying, “I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens from which you view the world, but I was not prepared for just how much that would be true,” he continues by explaining, “In too many parts of the world, nature is already flipping from carbon sink to a carbon source.”
This movement from Amazon’s founder is likely to counter the accounts of public individuals and Amazon workers have long been criticizing the company for its lackluster practices concerning the environment.
Now, Bezos insists that private industry is crucial for saving Earth’s environments
“Amazon aims to power all its operations by renewable energies by 2025,” he said.
This is a large shift from his original goal for the company to be carbon-neutral by 2040 but is in line with the global pact made by national leaders to end deforestation by 2030.
Still, this process will be objectively challenging for Amazon to achieve. During Amazon’s annual sustainability report in 2020, the company had emitted 60.64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This had been a 15% increase from the 2019 51.17 million metric tons.
While Amazon insisted that these emissions were part of their process to help the environment, rather than permanently damage it, there has still been skepticism from the public.
“Nearly half of our carbon intensity improvement is a result of our investments in renewable energy and operational efficiency enhancements,” said Amazon’s 2020 report.
This indicates that Bezos may certainly be serious about saving the Earth, but ultimately, only time will tell.