Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, announced via Instagram that he will commit $10 billion to fight climate change. The $10 billion accounts for one thirteenth of Bezos’ $130 billion net worth.
People tend to compare the spending of Jeff Bezos with that of Bill Gates, a tech mogul who was once the richest person in the world. Gates is as well known for being a philanthropist as he is for being a Microsoft co-founder. Not only has Gates himself given billions of dollars to charitable efforts, but he has encouraged fellow billionaires to do so as well. Warren Buffet, for example, has devoted 50% of his wealth to “The Giving Pledge” initiated by Gates.
By contrast, Bezos has historically given only 1% of his wealth to charity. The news has instead noted the record amounts he has paid for other things, such as for a Bel-Air mansion worth $165 Million and a divorce settlement of $38 billion. But his contribution to climate change comes at a record amount, as well.
Despite the overwhelming excitement following the unveiling of Bezos Earth Fund, a group of climate experts has raised concerns about the potential that Bezos’ wealth can manipulate the planet’s future, and have urged Bezos to take a hands-off approach to his fund.
And despite the fund being an act of personal giving, the public is projecting its concerns about Amazon onto the fund. This demonstrates the public’s distrust of big tech, even while its leaders are increasing their CSR and ESG efforts. Much of this is understandable; indeed, Amazon’s own carbon emissions equate to burning almost 600,000 tanker trucks worth of gasoline.