Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge at the National Press Club on September 19, 2019, in Washington.
Paul Morigi | Getty Images | Amazon
Amazon is launching a $2 billion venture capital fund that will back companies building “sustainable and decarbonizing technologies,” the company announced Tuesday.
The Climate Pledge Fund will invest in companies across a number of industries, including transportation and logistics, energy generation, manufacturing and food and agriculture, among others, Amazon said. The company added that the $2 billion is an “initial” commitment, signaling that the fund could grow over time.
“Companies from around the world of all sizes and stages will be considered, from pre-product start-ups to well-established enterprises,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations.”
The fund is a part of Amazon’s “Climate Pledge,” which was first unveiled by Bezos last September. As part of the plan, Amazon has committed to be carbon neutral by 2040. It also pledged to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris accord’s goal. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement in 2017.
On Tuesday, Amazon also announced it expects to run entirely on clean energy by 2025, which is five years ahead of the goal it initially stated in the Climate Pledge.
Amazon has faced mounting pressure from employees to address its environmental impact. At Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting in May 2019 thousands of employees submitted a proposal asking Bezos to develop a comprehensive climate-change plan and reduce its carbon footprint. The proposal was built on an employee letter published in April 2019 that accused Amazon of donating to climate-delaying legislators and urged the company to transition away from fossil fuels.
Since then, Amazon has made several moves to advance its goal of relying on renewable energy. As part of the Climate Pledge, Amazon agreed to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans from vehicle manufacturer Rivian, after it invested $440 million in the company.
In April, Amazon invested $10 million to help conserve or restore forests in the northeastern U.S. Additionally, Bezos in February pledged $10 billion to launch a new Earth Fund for combating climate change. It will issue grants to climate-oriented scientists and activists and other organizations to “preserve and protect the natural world.”