The future of the Bezos Earth Fund

Jeff Bezos is a busy man; while the world’s richest man might be stepping down as CEO of giant online retailer, Amazon, there’s still so much left to do and accomplish. Taking over the reins will be Bezos’ long-time lieutenant and confidant, Andy Jassy.  Bezos will now take on the role of Amazon’s executive chairman and remain its largest shareholder, thus freeing up time for the billionaire to pursue passion projects and ones he deems of tremendous importance. Such projects include his rocket venture, Blue Origin,  the Day 1 Fund and of course, the Bezos Earth Fund. However, while the Earth Fund has received its elected leader, and there are recipients who will benefit from the $10 billion that Bezos plans to inject into this philanthropic venture, there also remains a degree of vagueness and ambiguity.

Who is the newly appointed leader?

As of mid-April of this year, Andrew Steer has been appointed the position of president and CEO of the Earth Fund.  He might be switching positions but the vocation remains within the environmental arena, having previously helmed one of the other environmental organisations that Bezos still funds.  According Mr. Steer, Bezos will dispense with a total of $10 billion by 2030, thus equating a total of $1 billion per year to various recipients. By electing to allow Steer to spearhead this mammoth project, Bezos has made it clear that the funds will be spent on commercial and mainstream projects designed to combat the climate crises.  The initial recipients were mainly made up of traditional environmental organizations who aim to address the crises by reducing carbon-dioxide emissions.  It will be interesting to what these companies will eventually achieve and how their actions will affect financial bastions like the stock market, speculations and it´s impact on Forex and other trading platforms.

Who are the recipients?

A total of 16 recipients will receive $791 million in donations and it needs to be noted that these are just the initial grantees.  Top contributions include and are not limited to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, Thee Nature Conservancy,  the World Wildlife Fund and the World Resources Institute, all of which are set to receive $100 million.  Using Instagram to announce his intentions, Bezos has claimed that he spent months researching the recipients, going on to say that they were “working on innovative, ambitious and needle-moving solutions.”  While $791 million is not chump change, it’s apparently just the beginning of the Earth Fund’s vast $10 billion climate distribution project.

Vagueness and ambiguity

While the Earth Fund and Bezos have grand plans to combat the climate crises, these initiatives are not without their fair share of dissenters and critics.  Before Bezos announced some of the 16 recipients,  the Earth Fund came under scrutiny from various critics who took issue with its vague and somewhat ambiguous aspirations.  At the time, Andrew Steer posted on Twitter that “The Earth Fund will invest in scientists, NGOs, activists, and the private sector to help drive new technologies, investments, policy change and behaviour.”  He went on to say that “We will emphasize social justice, as climate change disproportionately hurts poor and marginalized communities.”  After Bezos declared some of the initial recipients, the Earth Fund was criticised by  basic-level groups who claimed that not only were these recipients not doing enough to sway the tide of emissions,  but that they lacked diversity and Bezos’ own company Amazon, was not doing enough to lower its emissions.  Key amongst such voices was the Climate Justice Alliance, a coalition of environmental organisations spearheaded by people of colour who have long been the recipients of pollution and who have advised that the fund and its grantees move some of that money to uplift their communities.