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Amazon Opens $2 Billion Climate Investment Fund

Amazon van at wind farm


24 June 2020. Retailing and web services giant Amazon plans to invest $2 billion in sustainable technologies to meet the company’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040. Amazon says its Climate Pledge Fund will make venture investments in businesses developing products and services that speed the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

The new venture fund follows up on Amazon’s establishment of The Climate Pledge made in September 2019. The Climate Pledge, organized with climate change advocacy organization Global Optimism, is a commitment by participating companies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, 10 years ahead of the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal. That pledge requires signers to regularly measure and report carbon emissions, implement carbon-reduction strategies such as greater energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and neutralize remaining emissions through permanent and quantifiable carbon offsets. Amazon says telecommunications company Verizon and information technology services company Infosys recently signed the pledge.

The Climate Pledge Fund plans to invest in a range of industries that today contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, beginning with transportation and logistics. The fund is also considering investments in businesses producing or storing energy, as well as in manufacturing, materials, food, and agriculture. In addition, the fund is interested in companies helping create a circular economy, with products that restore and regenerate into other useful items or materials, instead of the linear product life-cycle of make, use, and dispose of a waste product. The fund is now accepting inquiries by email.

“The Climate Pledge Fund,” says Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a company statement, “will look to invest in the visionary entrepreneurs and innovators who are building products and services to help companies reduce their carbon impact and operate more sustainably.”

Bezos adds, “Companies from around the world of all sizes and stages will be considered, from pre-product startups to well-established enterprises. Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations.”

An early Amazon investment is in electric vehicle company Rivian in Carson, California. Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe says Amazon not only invested in the company in February 2019, but also ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans.

In May, the company announced a €3.75 million ($US 4.07 million) investment from its Right Now Climate Fund that takes part in Nature Conservancy’s Urban Greening program in Germany. That program uses tree planting, urban wetlands, and existing green spaces to improve rainwater retention, reduce extreme heat and pollution, and boost urban biodiversity. In April, Amazon made a $10 million investment from that fund in two projects identified by Nature Conservancy to help U.S. family forest owners in Appalachia sequester carbon.

Amazon is joining Microsoft that in January announced its $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund. That fund, as reported by Science & Enterprise, is using equity investments and loans to fund projects that accelerate current technologies for removing carbon from the atmosphere.

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