Amazon names first recipients of its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund

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 on Thursday announced the first recipients of its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund. 

The Climate Pledge Fund, launched by Amazon in June, is designed to invest in “sustainable and decarbonizing technologies,” across a number of industries, such as transportation and logistics, energy generation, manufacturing and food and agriculture, among others.

Along with Redwood Materials, founded by ex-Tesla CTO JB Straubel, Amazon is investing in four other companies, including CarbonCure Technologies, which has developed a technology to consume carbon dioxide in fresh concrete during production, climate technology start-up Pachama, smart motor start-up Turntide Technologies and Rivian, an electric van start-up Amazon has invested in previously. Amazon also uses Rivian’s electric vans across a portion of its delivery fleet.

Amazon didn’t disclose how much it’s investing in each company. Representatives from Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The Climate Pledge Fund invests in visionary companies whose products and services can empower a low carbon economy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Today, I am excited to announce that we are investing in a group of companies that are channeling their entrepreneurial energy into helping Amazon and other companies reach net zero by 2040 and keep the planet safer 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.

Amazon previously said the $2 billion is an “initial” commitment, signaling that the fund could grow over time. The company said Thursday it’s looking to get other Climate Pledge signatories involved in the venture capital fund. Other signatories of the Climate Pledge include Verizon, Infosys and German automaker Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, among others.

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.”

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