Amazon. is launching a $2 billion internal venture-capital fund focused on technology investments to reduce the impact of climate change, the latest sustainability initiative from the technology giant after criticism of its environmental record.
The new fund, which will be called The Climate Pledge Fund, will invest in companies across a number of industries, including transportation, energy generation, battery storage, manufacturing and food and agriculture, according to the company. The aim is to help Amazon and other companies reach a goal of “net zero” carbon emissions by 2040. Amazon and a number of other companies are seeking to reduce the climate impact of their operations, both through reduced use of fossil fuels and investments in projects such as reforestation.
“Companies from around the world of all sizes and stages will be considered, from pre-product startups to well-established enterprises,” Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations.”
Amazon didn’t provide a time horizon for the $2 billion, which it described as “initial funding” that could grow over time. With the fund, Amazon would become a significant corporate player in new energy investing, which has risen significantly in the last decade.
Global venture capital and private-equity investments in clean energy reached $10.5 billion in 2019, up 6% from the previous year and the highest since 2010, according to BloombergNEF. Investments in new energy ventures and climate change mitigation strategies come from a variety of sources, including traditional venture capitalists, billionaires, governments and companies in energy, automobile and technology industries.
The trillion-dollar Seattle-based company has come under pressure in recent years for its toll on the environment from delivering millions of packages to its customers each year. Last year, a group called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice wrote an open letter, signed by thousands of employees, urging the company to commit to a deadline to secure 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.