Jeff Bezos names first recipients of his $10 billion Earth Fund for combating climate change

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, speaks to a group of Amazon employees that are veterans during an Amazon Veterans Day celebration on Monday, November 12, 2018.

Leonard Ortiz | Digital First Media | Getty Images

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on Monday announced the first recipients of his $10 billion Earth Fund.

The Earth Fund, launched in February, is designed to combat the effects of climate change by issuing grants to scientists, activists and other organizations in their efforts to “preserve and protect the natural world.”

Bezos announced 16 initial recipients of the Earth Fund who will receive $791 million in donations. The top donations include The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, World Resources Institute and the World Wildlife Fund, which will each receive $100 million.

Bezos said in an Instagram post that he spent the past several months learning about the grantees’ work in depth, adding that they’re “working on innovative, ambitious and needle-moving solutions” to climate change. The $791 million worth of grants issued Monday is “just the beginning” of the Earth Fund’s $10 billion commitment, Bezos said.

Many of the grantees are receiving funds for specific projects, while other recipients will re-grant the funds and donate to other nonprofits, a spokesperson for the Earth Fund said.

For example, the World Wildlife Fund said it will use the $100 million award to protect and restore mangroves from “climate-accelerated weather events,” and to develop new markets for seaweed as an alternative to fossil fuel-based products.

Bezos, who previously referred to climate change as “the biggest threat to our planet,” has recently made climate-oriented initiatives a key focus at Amazon. The company has faced pressure from employees and others to address concerns that its e-commerce and logistics business contributes to global carbon emissions.

In September, Amazon announced the first recipients of its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, which is designed to invest in “sustainable and decarbonizing technologies.”

Amazon also launched the “Climate Pledge” last September, which encompasses a number of ambitious goals, including a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2040. It has also purchased electric delivery vans and invested $10 million to help conserve or restore forests in the U.S. Northeast.

Here’s the full list of Earth Fund recipients and the donations they’ll receive:

  • The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, $43 million grant
  • ClimateWorks Foundation, $50 million grant
  • Dream Corps Green For All, $10 million grant
  • Eden Reforestation Projects, $5 million grant
  • Energy Foundation, $30 million grant
  • Environmental Defense Fund, $100 million grant
  • The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, $43 million grant
  • Natural Resources Defense Council, $100 million grant
  • The Nature Conservancy, $100 million grant
  • NDN Collective, $12 million grant
  • Rocky Mountain Institute, $10 million grant
  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies, $30 million grant
  • The Solutions Project, $43 million grant
  • Union of Concerned Scientists, $15 million grant
  • World Resources Institute, $100 million grant
  • World Wildlife Fund, $100 million grant

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