Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s second richest person, announced a $2 billion pledge from his Bezos Earth Fund towards restoring nature and transforming food systems during a speech at the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
The latest pledge adds to a $1 billion he announced in September to focus on conservation efforts. Today, Bezos said the total $3 billion pledge will drive a threefold nature agenda for his Bezos Earth Fund—a $10 billion philanthropic initiative launched in February 2020—focused on conserving wild spaces, restoring natural landscapes and food transformation. The funds announced are due to be disbursed by 2030.
“We must conserve what we still have, we must restore what we’ve lost, and we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come,” Bezos said.
The billionaire referenced the July space flight aboard his Blue Origin rocket as an event that boosted his interest in protecting the environment. “Looking back at earth from up there the atmosphere seems so thin, the world so finite and so fragile,” he said, adding: “We must all stand together to protect our world. Climate change gives us a powerful reason to invest in nature.”
Looking ahead to COP27 next year, Bezos said his fund would be “eager to participate in a concerted strategy led by African nations to seriously and effectively ramp up support for restoration on the continent,” and called on the private companies to engage in the fight against climate change, saying: “We cannot rely only on governments, philanthropy, and NGOs to fix the climate crisis. The private sector also has to play its part. Companies need to take leadership positions.”
At least 30 financial institutions, including Aviva, Schroders and Axa, are due to contribute a total $7.2 billion to newly launched global efforts against deforestation, as announced by the U.K. government, in which leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests will commit to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.
President Joe Biden said the U.S. would deploy up to $9 billion through 2030 to conserve and restore forests. “Through this plan the U.S. will help the world deliver on halting natural forest loss and restoring at least an additional 200 hectares of forests and other ecosystems by the year 2030,” he said.