Jeff Bezos’ $10 Billion Donation Isn’t Enough to Undo Amazon’s Environmental Damage

Jeff Bezos’ donation to climate change initiatives looks like a huge PR stunt given Amazon’s horrible track record on environmental matters. | Image: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

  • Jeff Bezos’ climate change outfit will receive $10 billion to start with.
  • Amazon is a bigger polluter than Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Switzerland.
  • Its too soon for Amazon employees to claim victory though. In the past 12 months they have pushed for the tech giant’s climate change inaction to end.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO’s announcement that he’s launching the Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change has received nearly 300,000 likes on Instagram. If his followers had conducted some research on the harm Amazon has done to the environment, they would realize there is nothing to celebrate.

With Amazon being one of the biggest carbon emitters in the U.S., Bezos’ move to establish Bezos Earth Fund and donate $10 billion looks like a public relations exercise.

Source: Instagram

According to the Amazon Chairman, the Bezos Earth Fund will “fund scientists, activists, NGOs” or “any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world”.

Well, the best place to start would have been Amazon itself.

Amazon’s poor record in carbon emissions

By Amazon’s own admission, the online retailer is one of the worst polluters in the U.S. For fiscal year 2018, Amazon’s total carbon footprint was 44.4 million metric tons (MMT).

Amazon’s carbon footprint in 2018 exceeded that of some advanced economies. | Source:

Per Bloomberg, this exceeds the carbon footprint of its fellow trillion-dollar companies Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft.

It exceeds other billion-dollar companies that are either in retail or delivery too. This includes Target, FedEx and United Parcel Service.

Additionally, Amazon’s carbon footprint is over and above that of several advanced economies in Europe based on figures from a year prior.

Per CIA World Factbook, the carbon footprint of Switzerland in 2017 was 38.95 MMT. Ireland, Norway and Denmark recorded carbon footprints of 36.91, 39.8 and 37.45 MMT respectively.

For a corporation with such a monstrous carbon footprint, a $10 billion donation from its CEO to fight climate change looks like an exercise in assuaging guilt. As well as avoiding looking like the uncool kid at Davos the next time billionaires gather.

The online retailer is being reactionary not proactive

Bezos’ move comes nearly six months after employees at Amazon protested the online retailer’s inaction on climate change.

In September, an internal group of workers under the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice umbrella walked off the job to protest the company’s passivity with regards to global environmental challenges.

Four months earlier, nearly 8,000 Amazon employees had written to the company seeking answers on how the online retailer intended to address pollution.

Source: Twitter

Jeff Bezos made $10 billion in a month!

The $10 billion Bezos is giving may seem like a substantial sum but it’s not. Year-to-date, the world’s richest person has seen his wealth grow by $15.6 billion. The amount he is giving away to fight climate change is therefore equivalent to the wealth he made in 31.44 days this year.

The donation is about 8% of Jeff Bezos’ total net worth.

The donation won’t affect Bezos’ status as the world’s richest man as of February 18, 2020. | Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of

This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.

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