Amazon's Jeff Bezos discloses first climate fund grants totalling $1 billion

   Jeff Bezos had been criticised for a paltry philanthropic record before ramping up his contributions in recent years.
Jeff Bezos had been criticised for a paltry philanthropic record before ramping up his contributions in recent years.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Mr Jeff Bezos has announced the first grant recipients from US$10 billion (S$13.5 billion) pledged to combat climate change, earmarking US$791 million (S$1.07 billion) for donations to environmental organisations.

The first 16 groups receiving donations from the Amazon.com founder's Bezos Earth Fund include non-profit stalwarts such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Wildlife Fund. The announcement came on Monday (Nov 16) in an Instagram post, where Bezos also revealed the fund's existence in February. At the time, he said it would begin issuing grants in the summer.

Contributions, detailed in press releases by some recipients, include US$10 million for the Rocky Mountain Institute's work reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and US$100 million each to the EDF, WWF and World Resources Institute.

Mr Bezos, the world's richest person, had been criticised for a paltry philanthropic record before ramping up his contributions in recent years. His company, meanwhile, faced a revolt from employees who said Amazon had been slow to address its impact on climate change.

The world's largest online retailer has since announced plans to eliminate and offset its contribution to greenhouse gases warming the planet.

The grant recipients: Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund; ClimateWorks Foundation; Dream Corps Green For All; Eden Reforestation Projects; Energy Foundation; Environmental Defense Fund; The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice; Natural Resources Defense Council; The Nature Conservancy; NDN Collective; Rocky Mountain Institute; Salk Institute for Biological Studies; The Solutions Project; Union of Concerned Scientists; World Resources Institute; World Wildlife Fund.