Amazon, one of the largest and most influential US businesses, has pledged to invest upwards of $2 billion into decarbonizing technologies. The company will consider a wide variety of businesses at all stages of product development. It will rate their innovations on how close it can bring humanity to eliminating carbon emissions. CEO Jeff Bezos proclaimed Amazon’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2040, and to operate entirely on green energy by 2025. This $2 billion grant is one of Amazon’s recent moves to become greener, another of which includes investing $440 million in an electric van manufacturer and purchasing a fleet of 10000 electric delivery vans. Earlier, Amazon invested $10 million into forest preservation and announced another $10 billion fund to be granted to climate scientists and activist groups.
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This recent sustainability pledge follows a clear trend of increasing environmental consciousness of the corporations that operate in the West. It is difficult to assess how closely the PR follows reality, but if given the benefit of the doubt, the trend is positive. Amazon’s money will undoubtedly benefit the various innovators and NGOs committed to mitigating a possible environmental disaster. However, it should not be forgotten that Amazon and other international megacorporations are the reason these grants needed to be created in the first place. The drive to become more environmentally-friendly possibly stems from a disgruntled employee’s letter that accused Amazon of contributing to polluters and anti-sustainability legislators. Considering Amazon’s otherwise less than stellar reputation, it would not be a leap to assume these accusations could be true.
Investing in decarbonizing technology can benefit humanity in the long run. It is possible that Amazon’s goal with these investments is to help humanity and Earth out of genuine altruism. It is also possible that Amazon wants to buy green start-ups’ intellectual property and dominate the growing industry of sustainable technology. Regardless of the Paris climate agreement, Amazon is a business, its actions are directed at generating profits, and to pretend otherwise would be folly.