Amazon unveils $2bn Climate Pledge Fund to invest in sustainable technologies

The fund will back early stage start-ups and well-established enterprises

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, said companies will be selected on the basis of their potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon. AP 
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Amazon rolled out a Climate Pledge Fund, with an initial funding of $2 billion (Dh7.34bn), to invest in sustainable technologies and services.

The new investment programme will help Amazon become carbon neutral by 2040 - the main goal of The Climate Pledge initiative, which was co-founded by the tech giant last year.

The new fund will back “entrepreneurs and innovators” who are building products and services to help companies reduce their carbon impact and operate more sustainably, Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, said.

“Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations,” he said.

The fund will initially invest in companies operating in sectors such as transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilisation, manufacturing and materials, circular economy and food and agriculture.

Companies from pre-product start-ups to well-established enterprises will be considered for the grant.

Amazon and other technology giants have pivoted to focus on sustainability after mounting pressure from activists to reduce their emissions. Microsoft, one of Amazon's cloud computing rivals, said it would invest up to $1bn to back technology that could help remove carbon from the earth's atmosphere.

Many companies have also joined Amazon in The Climate Pledge programme, which pledges to meet the Paris Agreement goals 10 years before they are due.

Last week, the US telco Verizon, British consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser and Indian technology firm Infosys joined the programme.

Amazon is aiming to run on 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025 and is investing in the deployment of 100,000 electric vehicles from American automaker Rivian, some of which will be operational by 2021.

“Amazon has demonstrated its leadership in adopting low carbon technologies at scale,” said RJ Scaringe, chief executive of Rivian.

“Their investment and subsequent order of 100,000 electric delivery vans will substantially shrink the carbon footprint of Amazon’s package delivery network. We are excited about a future of decarbonised delivery services,” said Mr Scaringe.

Over the past few years, Amazon has significantly reduced waste in packaging.

It has decreased the weight of outbound packaging by 33 per cent and reduced more than 880,000 tonnes of packaging material, the equivalent of 1.5 billion shipping boxes, in the last five years.

Last September, Amazon also rolled out a $100 million grant to invest in nature-based solutions and reforestation projects around the world, including recent investments in the US and Germany.