Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pledged $2 billion toward an international deforestation effort to protect the Earth's natural habitats at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Tuesday.
The project, called the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, is a multicountry effort to end deforestation by 2030 and to funnel resources toward protecting natural land and sea habitats like forests and wetlands. Bezos' $2 billion pledge is part of the $10 billion climate change fund he started last year, called the Bezos Earth Fund.
Bezos claims his shifting perspective on philanthropy, in particular efforts to combat climate change, have been shaped in recent months by his trip to space aboard rockets made by his company Blue Origin. "I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens through which you view the world," Bezos said at the summit, according to The New York Times. "But I was not prepared for just how much that was true."
Despite the sizable philanthropic donations, Bezos has become a target for climate activists and even Amazon employees in recent years due to the ecommerce giant's outsized carbon footprint from its vast manufacturing and logistics operations.
Bezos has said his company plans to be carbon neutral by 2040 and to run its entire business on renewables by 2025. However, the latter pledge is one almost every major tech company has made of late because it can be technically accomplished by purchasing renewable energy credits rather than, say, building enough wind farms.
The Bezos Earth Fund is designed in part to try to mitigate some of the effects of Amazon's sprawling business, after the founder spent his years while running the company not directly engaged with philanthropy.